Well, as a poor college student, most of my money goes to food and rent. My freshman year was a big eye opener to me on how to spend my money and determining what I needed as opposed to merely wanted. I am much better at handling my money now and I wish I had had someone to show me how to do it before.
If you have a credit card, don’t use it unless you have the money to pay for it. To build good credit I only used mine for gas and groceries. It’s way too easy to blow your cash on going out to eat or out with friends. It’s easy and sometimes fun to get caught up in the moment. Making a budget is probably the best thing to do in school. Like each week or each month only allow yourself to spend a designated amount. If you aren’t sure you can stick to that, use cash for everything and only bring as much cash as you’re willing to part with. And, if possible, if you’re working and going to school, try only using a certain percentage of your paycheck each week and then putting the rest into savings.
Follow this advice and you’ll thank me later.
Money is a very sensitive subject for a college student!! I don’t really have spending money, but the little I do have goes to miscellaneous things. For example; PARKING TICKETS!!! The city of Madison has no justice for college students. FYI you need to park four feet away from all driveways and entryways! My money also goes towards eating out on the weekends as well as new clothes. Having Milio’s close by is definitely a weakness for me. They have the best subs in the world and they have taken a good chunk of my money! I try to not spend the little money I have, but once in awhile you need to treat yourself!
I’d say the number #1 tip for saving money as a college student is to eat on campus if you have a meal plan. At Edgewood the meal plan is paid ahead of time so you don’t have to worry about carrying cash around with you to buy food. The meal plan is quite large so you might as well use it as much as possible! Eating off campus adds up quick and Edgewood does give you a lot of variety.
Another way to save money is if you know you are going home, take your laundry with you! Doing your laundry on campus is expensive, so save money and do it at home.
Lastly, take advantage of what the college has to offer. You get free access to the work out facility with your Edgewood ID, so instead of paying for a gym membership use the one on campus. Edgewood also offers a free shuttle service to its students. It comes in handy when you don’t want to pay for a taxi, and they come at various times at night to different locations. There are many other ways to save and manage your money as well but it comes down to knowing where your money is being spent and taking advantage of all the FREE things the college has to offer!
Every college student has a different financial situation, depending on how much family is willing to help out, how many hours you can work, whether or not you live on campus, how many scholarships you have and how much you need to save to pay off school. Paying off school debts aside: housing bills, food, gas, and fun are what drain money the most.
Living off campus, as I do, is cheaper in the long run if you find a good deal. But in the short term, I do not have a meal plan and so must buy groceries. Crafty students will find ways to get free food, such as taking advantage of willing friends’ campus meal plans, working at food places which allow employees to take home left-overs, getting food from family when visiting home, and even knowing people who either garden or hunt.
Living off campus also has the disadvantage of bills. Gas and electric are the worst, especially in the cold winters here. After my experience with bills the past couple years, I suggest to those who live off campus to find a place with heat and water included. These places do exist if you look, even if it means sharing a building as an apartment or duplex, and they are well worth it.
Another cost is transportation. Luckily Edgewood provides each student with a free metro bus pass each semester. The downtown area of Madison is perfect for taking a bus, walking, or biking to wherever you need to go. Traveling to the outskirts of the city and commuting to other cities is what takes up a lot of gas money.
After food, bills, and gas, I have very little cash. But whatever else that I don’t need to save goes to fun: concerts, traveling, movies, bars. When short on cash, there are plenty of trails, parks, lakes and areas downtown that can be explored for FREE.
So, start taking note of how much money you have and when your next paycheck will be. Before doing anything with that money, figure out how much of it isn’t even technically yours, like bills and debts, then set that aside and don’t touch it. Then figure out ways to be cunning and save so you can eat and get around and have fun without being stressed about cash.
I should have listened to my mom better in making and sticking to a budget. My first three years of college, I didn’t watch my money too close and put shopping online as sort of a priority to where my money went. I should have realized I shouldn’t have and to save more money for bills and to be able to begin paying them off sooner!
Besides clothes though, most of my money went to food and gas for my car. If you currently have a car in high school, I know it will probably be hard to go all of college without it, but if you can, I would definitely suggest you do it. Being an Edgewood Student, you get a free bus pass and it takes you anywhere you need to go in the city- not to mention you always make friends that have cars that will drive you around too. You would save a lot of money not having to pay for parking permits, parking meters, parking tickets (oh yes, you’ll get those in Madison), gas money, insurance, and if you have a car payment too!