Also, I am not a financial expert by any means--just someone giving first hand tips to anyone interested.
Here is a quick list of ways you can spare some extra dough during those college years (or maybe even after):
I think the biggest portion of my budget goes to food and drink, so this is probably where most people want to cut corners. Let's start with the grocery store:
- Make a list. #1 money saver, hands down. By going to the store, list-in-hand, you're going to know exactly what you need and will avoid wandering up and down isles, throwing food you don't need into your basket.
- Now, to take the list a step further, check the store's website first. While putting together my grocery list, I head over to publix.com to see what kind of sales they have. This is a little tricky though, so USE DISCRETION. Obviously, you are not going to need every BOGO item, if it's a granola bar that's usually a part of your weekly list, go for it. You do not need to buy those 3-for-$10 candy bars, just because they are on sale.
- Also, make sure to stock up on some frozen veggies--not only are you adding some vitamins to your diet, but you're going to make your food stretch further. For example, last night I made a box of couscous that cost me somewhere around $2. To that couscous, I added a can of chickpeas ($1.10) and half a bag of frozen green beans ($.99) that I had steamed beforehand. Putting all three of those items together into some kind of salad mixture landed me with a lot of food--enough for 2 more meals. And the total cost? About $4.09...way less than you would pay for 1 meal from a restaurant.
- Transportation is also a big thing to consider when looking at your budget. In Orlando, we're a little behind in the times with public transportation, so everyone basically drives everywhere. Thankfully, UCF has set up a shuttle system from the nearby apartment complexes to campus. While many students still drive to campus several times a day, I try to use the shuttle as much as possible so I can save a little on gas. Try to find alternative methods than just driving to your campus, or at least try to set up a carpool system with friends and roommates.
- The other budget blower for college kids? FUN. All those fun things we plan with our friends can really add up quite a bit. My piece of advice is to research when places have specials. Let me give you some examples of deals near UCF: Monday--Moes Monday!! $5 for a HUGE burrito and chips, get dinner wit yo friends. Tuesday--$6 movies at one of the nearby theaters, how can you say no to saving a few bucks at the movies?? Wednesday--college night at World of Beer, cheaper beer with your student I.D. Thursday--$1 Bowling, $1 for shoe rental and $1 per game; add some drinks in there and you've got a party! Friday--free beer at happy hour, free drinks til 12...I dare you to turn that down.
I hope at least someone out there founds these tips useful, share your's in the comment section!