7 Easy Ways To Avoid Becoming (More) Broke In College

When I think about the amount of money I wasted in college, I low key want to barf. I didn’t have a lot of money to spend, and yet, I managed to do it. Sure, some of that money went to practical things like books and dorm necessities. But I’m not going to pretend like I was buying necessities when I was shopping at Urban Outfitters or American Apparel. Because I wasn’t. I was broke because I was a young student without a job. I was even more broke because I had a total lack of understanding of fiscal responsibility.

Look, you’re going to have moments in college when you’re too broke to literally do much of anything, and you’re going to have moments in college when you’ve got a little money in your pocket and you want an excuse to ball out. I’m here to give you some advice on how to find a medium between being smart with your money and having a little fun too. So check out these seven easy ways to avoid becoming (more) broke in college.

Making Eating Out And Delivery A Rarity, Especially If You Have A Meal Plan

Haha, so, I broke this rule like crazy in college. Frankly, you will too. The food at the cafeteria gets boring after a while, and if you're going to college in a town or city with a lot of great off campus food options? Yeah, I get it. But calculate the amount of money you spend in the course of a week on takeout and delivery. You'll be surprised by how much money you can spend every week--hell, every month--on food; all those pizzas, chicken strips, and tacos add up.

I'm not saying you should never eat off campus ever again. That's impossible. But if you have a meal plan, you should try to suck it up and eat in the caf more; eat out as a treat to yourself on the weekend or after a tough midterm. If you have a kitchen, consider creating a grocery budget. Force yourself to cook more to curve those take-out temptations.


Go To On Campus Events And Cop Some Free Food And Entertainment

Yo, broke college student life hack: Get free food at various on campus organizations and events. Sandwiches, pizza, cookies, drinks...you'll have it all, and all you need to do is listen to some lecture or feign interest in a club. Who knows, maybe you'll actually be convinced to join!

Some Girls

Don't Buy Any New Books

If you know you're going to keep a book even after a course you're taking ends, sure, buy it new if it's not too pricey. Otherwise? All those textbooks? Please, save your money and buy them used. You can find used books via third-parties on Amazon, eBay, and sites like Chegg. You should also hit up your university's bookstore and see if they have used books there. Oh, and consider searching for a download of your book online too. You'll be shook by how much money you end up spending on books, so cutting costs wherever you can is a lifesaver.

Fresh Meat

Avoid Shopping Unless You Actually Need Something

If it's getting cold out and you need some outerwear, go shopping. If you need a new pair of jeans, because your old ones don't fit anymore, get a pair of jeans. Otherwise...save your money. I'm not saying you should never shop. But please, refrain from shopping when you don't actually need to. I learned this the hard way every semester, and I ended up with a bunch of clothes that I either rarely got around to wearing anyway or fell out of love with after a couple of wears. And let me tell you, packing all of those extra clothes at the end of the school year is a pain in the butt.

It's really easy to stress shop in college, and when a bunch of your friends are making the trek out to some shopping district? Oh, it's a wrap. I get it, the temptation is strong, especially if you're mostly copping cheap threads at stores like Forever 21 and H&M. But before you buy something, think: Would you be devastated if that item was sold out? Would you be disappointed if you walked out of the store without buying that item? If the answer is no, don't buy it. You'll be happy you saved your coins when you actually need to buy a new coat or a pair of shoes.


Get An On Campus Job

On campus jobs are a great way to pocket some extra cash without commuting between work and school. Plus, since most of the people who work on campus are also students, you're dealing with employers who are super flexible to student schedules in a way that off campus employers just won't be. Some campus jobs are more stressful than others, but getting a lax, low key one could be well worth it.

Pretty in Pink

Take Advantage Of Student Discounts

Student discounts rule, and you need to spend the next few years taking advantage of them when you can. A bunch of restaurants near universities offer discounts as long as you can prove you're a student (have your student ID with you at all times, dude). Also, there are clothing stores that offer small discounts with every purchase on top of occasional student-only sales. This works for online purchases too: You just need a .edu email address to make 'em work. I mean, you can even buy a discounted Macbook as a student, so this isn't anything to take lightly. Use that student privilege to the best of your ability!

American Apparel

Save Your Refund Check

OMG, I remember when my college classmates would go on and on about all the shopping they would do when they received their refund check from the university re: financial aid. Listen, I'm sure they had a great time balling out on, uh, some dress or something. But there are better things to save your money on, like a fun Spring Break that you otherwise wouldn't be able to afford.

It's hard to stuff a big ol' check in your savings, but you won't regret it. Plus, you'll have it there in case of an emergency. And trust me, you'll have some lil financial emergencies or last minute big money purchases that you'll want to be able to afford.


What’s your biggest financial worry about college?  Tell us in the comments!

You can follow the author, Ashley Reese, on Twitter or Instagram. Don’t worry, she doesn’t bite!

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