If you’re a college student, congratulations, you’re probably broke. No matter how the money’s coming in — part-time job, parental stipends, plasma sales — there isn’t much of it, and that’s not likely to change any time soon. The good news is that millions of other people have gone through the same lean scholastic years you’re currently trying to enjoy, and they’ve come out just fine. You can get a lot more done with your money than you think, you just have to know where to look.
Biggest tip for saving cash: look for student discounts on anything and everything. College towns thrive on student business, but they also know students are cheap, so they entice them to come in by offering often ridiculous price reductions on goods and services. Your student ID is a passport to thrify eating and low-cost movies. Another great way to reduce costs is to split purchases with your roommate. Instead of just partnering on utilities, see if your roommate wants to share the load for food and other household items. That way you’re not on the hook for quite as many expenditures for bulk items that you don’t use that often.
When it comes to shopping, you’re going to need to keep an eye out for free or low-price items. For instance, instead of heading to the mall, take your money to the local thirft store or charity shop, where you can pick up clothes on the cheap while also contributing to local retailers and organizations devoted to helping others. Plus it just makes sense to buy inexpensive stuff that’s been distressed through actual use than pay top dollar for artificially aged clothes.
You’re probably already well-versed in used textbooks, which are cheaper than the new ones and tend to come with handy passages already highlighted. But there’s another literaryresource you’d be wise to remember, and it’s totally free: the library. Whether you’re looking for titles related to research for a paper or essay, or you just want something to read on your own time, your college’s library and your city’s public library system are invaluable ways of getting what you need without paying anything. Believe it or not, there are some things you still can’t look up on Wikipedia or Google Books, and that will actually require you to do some physical investigation. The upside is that these volumes will still be free to read.
The bottom line in all these situations is the same: keep your eyes open. The more you’re on the lookout for potential savings, the more you’ll be able to get. Every little bit helps.