Saving money: just another skill taught at college


By Emma Goodwin

Saving money is a skill largely learned in college, and while it seems hard at first, here are some simple tips to become an expert right when you get on campus.

After working an entire summer, I was on track to deplete my funds with great ease during my first semester of college. Mounting costs for textbooks and a new freedom to swipe my debit card whenever I wanted made controlling my spending more difficult than I would like to admit. But when shopping anxiety reared its evil head and my bank account was approaching nowhere fast, I became my own Suze Orman to learn the tricks of the trade.

1. Don’t buy your textbooks

I know it sounds counter-intuitive, but it’s a classic freshman whoops. Hold off on buying your textbooks for a week or two. Chances are, if you go buy them all, you won’t use half of them. 

And if you do buy them, don’t buy full-price, new books. Check out websites like Chegg or Amazon for deals, rent, or buy used. And don’t forget to sell them back at the end of the semester.

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    2. Don’t go out to eat

    This one is tough – especially on the occasional…how shall we say…late night excursion. But as much as it stinks, stick to the dining hall food or go grocery shopping for favorites like fresh fruits. 

    And every once in a while when you decide to hit up Green Street for dinner, check the Hooked app before you decide a restaurant and follow deals that will save you money on your favorite foods.

    3. Shop in cash

    We have more anxiety over parting with cash compared to simply swiping our credit or debit cards. It’s easy to keep swiping and avoid checking the balance of your bank account. 

    Instead of sinking into that pit of despair, take out a monthly amount in cash and use that for spending instead. Once you hit the end of your cash amount, you’re out of money until the next month. Even if you falter and end up using your credit card anyway, this will help teach restraint and give you a real idea of how much you spend – and how quickly.

    4. Get more inventive with your Friday nights

    If you don’t feel like going out, try to convince your friends to have a movie night in the dorms instead. Buy popcorn with your credits and hang out in the comfort of your own floor. This is especially great during those winter months where going out seems more like planning an excursion to Mordor than having a fun night on the town.

    5. Get a job

    This might seem obvious, annoying, ridiculous or any other combination of negative emotions. But even if you just get a job and quit after two weeks because you hate it so much, it’s a paycheck. 

    Most employers on campus are understanding of the student schedule and getting reduced hours and a schedule to meet your needs isn’t as hard as it might seem. If your spending is really out of control, a minor income might be one of the only real solutions. Twitter: Opinions editor Emma Goodwin shares five simple tricks to save money in college.

    Emma is a junior in LAS.
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