Being a college student these days is hard. You have exams, papers, more reading assignments to finish than your brain knows what do with. If you think that being a student is hard, surviving on a college students budget is even harder. Living on your own for the first time can be a daunting challenge, even for the students who thought they had it all figured out. Now, not only do you have the responsibility of completing your school work, but you also have to make sure that the rent gets paid, your groceries get bought, your bills are paid for and your car has fuel. Too much you say? Well never fear because despite what you may think, there are ways to live off of your own meager finances without having to beg mom and dad for cash.
Never Turn Down a Free Meal
We have all been told not to take candy from strangers, but when that stranger is offering a piping hot slice of extra cheesy pizza, how can you afford to say no? Colleges and universities often offer free food throughout the semester at different campus sponsored events. Commonly, you can find these delicious feasts during welcome week and at late night activity events. If you want to find even more free food, do some research on some of the different clubs around campus. For instance, many fraternities, sororities and religious groups offer free meals at least one night a week. Some campuses have a home away from home program where you are “adopted” by a family and they will make you home cooked meals. Not only is this a great way to save money on buying food, but you also get to meet new people and make new friends.
Cut Back on Spending
You don’t need to get that triple grande non fat skinny cinnamon latte every morning from your favorite coffee shop. That’s about five extra dollars a day that you could be saving for a new pair of stilettos from Kim Kardashians new shoe line. The point is to cut back on spending money that you don’t actually have. You don’t need to go to the mall every weekend with your friends to buy a new outfit for the new season. If you feel the itch to go out and spend that hard earned cash, stop yourself and say “Do I really actually need this?” Chances are, you don’t.
Leave the Car With Mom and Dad
If you are living on campus or at least relatively close to campus the convenience of having a car with you is pretty much voided. At most large campuses a parking spot will cost you a decent chunk of change and living in an apartment is not much better. You will probably be better off leaving your car at home. You also have to consider the expense of gas and insurance and any maintenance that may need to be done to keep your vehicle in working order. Plus, if you are close to campus then you can walk or ride your bike. It gets you to class and you get the benefit of exercising as well. Most colleges also offer a bus system that is usually free or offer students a discount on bus fair.
As you can see, there are many ways that can make living off of the college kids budget easier. It seems that life can become a lot more stressful when you move away from the comfort of your parents house. You are learning to become an independent and functioning member of society and it’s no small journey. However, it’s not as bad as you think. After all, your parents did it so why can’t you? These simple tips will help you along the way.
Emily is a current college student who writes Guest Post for this blog and is a contributor for www.coupon.org.