Updated: Jun 22, 2020
As a college student, it seems like you always want to travel somewhere. You either want to explore the city you're in, visit old friends in their new cities, visit new friends in their hometowns, or go on a spring/summer/winter break trip with friends. While you want to do this, it's hard to save money as an already broke college student. Here are 6 tips for saving money, but still experiencing the wonders of college:
1. Find Free Activities
Instead of doing activities that cost money, try to find activities that are free. This may require a bit of research, but most cities have free activities and events! You could go to a park, go hiking, or find a museum that has free admission. I go to school in Austin, so there are plenty of free hiking trails and parks. If I want to find a free event, I just google "free events in Austin"! Another great site to find events around your city is Facebook! It's pretty easy finding free things to do in Austin, but I know it can be harder in some other cities. Just remember, google is your best friend ;)
Ps. for all you fellow Longhorns, here's a site with all the free things to do in ATX
2. Cook Rather than Eat Out
This is a big one! I know... it's so easy to just go to the restaurant across the street and order some quick food. Buying groceries and cooking can actually save you sooo much money. It's also hard to buy groceries that will only make one meal, so it usually turns out that you have leftovers (at least for me it does). If you're not a leftovers person try turning the leftovers into a new meal or adding/substituting things. If you have pasta and chicken one day and you have leftover pasta, make pasta with a bunch of veggies or fish. Also, the freezer/fridge is a life saver! You can put your bread in the freezer to make it last so much longer! Instead of grabbing food from the local donut store on the way to class, buy some granola bars or protein bars and have them in a convenient location in your kitchen to grab one (or two or three) on your way out! If want to eat with friends outside your home, find some food in your fridge or run to the grocery store really quick and go have a picnic in a park or at your favorite spot on campus! 😊
3. Use Free Transportation
For some college students, walking may be the only free transportation available. If you're like me, you could count a 30 minute walk (or two 15 minute walks) as your daily exercise 😅. I'm only slightly kidding. Some schools offer free bus transportation for students (with a school ID). Take advantage of that! Don't be afraid to also occasionally ask friends with cars for rides.
4. Resist Temptation to Buy New Clothes
This one is tough. You see that cute shirt or those cool shoes that you want to buy so bad. Just remember why you want to save and determine if the clothes are more important. You could go in the back of your closet and find clothes that you don't wear as often. Wear them with other pieces of clothing or turn them into something new! Mix and match pieces and accessories instead of buying new things!
5. Take Advantage of Student Discounts
This is a big one that I don't take advantage of enough! If you are buying clothes for some reason (required business attire 😒 or an outfit you just couldn't pass up), ask/research if the store offers a student discount. A lot of stores do offer student discounts! Sites like Student Beans and UNiDAYS offer student discounts for clothing stores, beauty products, technology, and more (and it is free to sign up, you just put in your email and verify that you're a student)! Spotify also offers ad-free music (premium) for students for $4.99/month (and you get Hulu and Showtime with it)!
6. Party Sober (or sober-ish)
Going out with friends is fun and you shouldn't stop making memories, but buying drinks can really add up!! Maybe instead of buying a bunch of drinks, just buy one or two. Also, if you're still going to buy drinks, either limit yourself to buying one a week or don't buy every time; instead, buy drinks every other time you go out. And yes, it is possible to have lots of fun while sober 😉