How to Save Money as a Student

saving money in college

As college students, we’re (almost) all juggling student debt and running from adulthood, which is looming over our heads. Most of us wish we were back in middle school, where we didn’t have to worry about money and rarely about grades. But unfortunately, you can’t go back, only forward. So, as college kids, it’s important to save money any way that we can—and let me tell you, I’ve seen people get pretty inventive.

No matter how you choose to save, there’s always a new method to implement or expense to adjust. In case you need a little help getting started, here’s a list of seven ways you can cut back on your spending without losing your social life or sanity.

Always Take Advantage of Free Stuff

Before college, I never fully understood how wonderful free things were—no matter what those things may be. I would’ve laughed at you if you would’ve told me that in just a year’s time I would be that girl standing in line (along with countless others) waiting to spin a wheel to get a free t-shirt or sno-cone. But, alas, here I am, drinking out of the free mug I got from a random booth last month.

Probably one of the best things you can do to save money is take advantage of all that’s given to you. Any time there’s a chance to play a game for a small amount of money or free item, do it. There will also (most likely) be events in your college town that offer free food—which is the absolutely best gift you can be given. These are usually business-like social events, so you can get some grub and make a few connections in the process.

Hello, 50¢ Beer Night

While I can’t personally partake in the wonderful act of legal drinking—so close, yet so freaking far—I’ve been to enough bars in my town to know that college students don’t capitalize enough on the specialty and discount drink nights. $2 beers and $1 vodka bombs are offered at least once a week at the local bars here, and still I see my friends buying the most expensive drinks instead. These specials are a great way to save money and still enjoy a night out with the girls. While your body might regret the cheaper route in the morning, your wallet won’t.

Sign Up for a Music Streaming Platform

The vast majority of people I’ve met in college have been really into some type of music. But if you’re constantly having to buy the songs you like on iTunes or listen to annoying commercials on Spotify or Youtube, it can deter you from enjoying music. If you ever want a chance to be the party’s designated DJ or have your friends fork over the aux cord in the car, you’re going to have to step up your game.

The solution to your problem is clear and simple: subscribe to a music streaming app or platform. You can choose between a wide array of companies and packages from Pandora One and Pandora Premium to Apple Music (my personal favorite). The cool thing about platforms like Apple Music and Amazon Music is that they offer discounts for college students. They allow you to pay half price, so around $4 or $5 each month, for unlimited music.

Eat Where They Offer Discounts

There’s this Mexican restaurant in my college town that offers 30% off for college students—all you have to do is bring in your student ID. And guess where my friends and I go every time we’re craving Mexican? You guessed it, that restaurant!

In every college town, you’ll find a plethora of restaurants that offer discounts to help broke the student population save some money. My friends and I almost exclusively dine at these places when we’re craving something that doesn’t taste like cardboard—aka cafeteria food.

Keep Those Legs Shaved on the Cheap

Albeit dramatic, I think we can all agree that it’s extremely aggravating realizing that your razor is old and rusted and having to go about your day or night with prickly legs, or having stubbly armpit hair when you’d planned on wearing your favorite tank top out. And if you’re anything like me, running to the store to grab razors is about the farthest thing from your mind.

Well, here’s how we can keep smooth legs and unclogged minds (well, I’m not promising that it’ll be the answer to all your problems, but it’s one less headache): Dollar Shave Club. Dollar Shave Club sends you replacement razor cartridges each month—for anywhere from $1 (includes two blades) to $6 (includes six blades)—so all you have to do is open the box and shave.

Dollar Shave is cheaper than what you’ll find at the store and you won’t have to waste time or gas getting there. Also, I’m lazy (and forgetful) and I don’t usually get the same razors each time I go so I know I spend way too much money on them.

Go to Thrift Stores for Your Party Clothes

While it would be great to go to Urban Outfitters for all your last-minute clothing needs, chances are, like me, you don’t have that kind of money. Thinking realistically, the themed clothes that you’re going to get for parties aren’t hardly ever going to be worn outside the frat house—which means you shouldn’t spend much on them.

A few great places to get funky and cheap clothing are Goodwill and Savers, as well as Clothes Mentor and Plato’s Closet (although the latter tend to be more expensive). Just be sure to wash the clothes before you wear them out. Shopping at these second-hand stores can end up saving you a lot of money (and I mean a lot) in the long run.

Swap Clothes With Friends

If you don’t already take advantage of your friends’ closets you’re wasting money. Sharing clothes with friends is a great way to save money because you then have two or three closets full of clothes to choose from as opposed to just one—and we’ve all had those days when we’ve felt like we had nothing acceptable in our closets. I can’t tell you how many night my friends and I have traded shoes or shirts because we didn’t like any of our clothes (we were just being prima donnas).

But, aside from that, you can save on formal events by sharing dresses and also keep from having to go to Goodwill and Savers for those themed parties I was talking about. My friends and I actually go shopping together and mostly buy things that fit the majority of us so that we can swap and trade whenever we want.

Follow Anna on Instagram: @annamariedepoyster

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