How to save money in college
College is a pretty stressful time — different from high school, but still hard to deal with. They're basically your first steps to living by yourself. From being tempted to order in every night and textbooks that cost way more than they should, college can also be a money blackhole.
If you don't have a vault of cash back home like the trust fund babies or rich international kids, you probably need to save up and find something else to do in your low cost housing like me. Here's some tips you can use to accommodate your low cash stash.
Stock up on snacks
Instead, hoard snacks in your room from extra meal swipes or free food events. Since I always have meal swipes left over at the end of the year, I space out my snack runs throughout. Then, when you're feeling peckish when your dining hall isn't open — or when you're just too lazy — you have snacks on hand to squash that hunger.
Now, it's not the most legal thing but textbooks can get pretty pricey and become a considerable amount of your tuition — I once had a textbook that was $500. If you look in your college Facebook pages or GroupMe's, there's bound to be a document listing out links to different PDF versions of textbooks.
If you're too caught up in your morals — hey, I get it — be sure to find used textbooks or rent them. Amazon has an amazing program where you rent textbooks for half of the cost or even lower and they give you a free return shipping label.
Utilize your university's free amenities
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Free yoga classes? Midnight breakfasts? Subway pass giveaways? Most universities will host numerous events giving out free food or swag to their students — especially in the first and last few weeks of classes.
In the welcome week of my freshman year, I managed to hoard free t-shirts, toiletries, iced tea, laundry bags and a bunch of other random stuff that I used throughout the year. I've also gone to stress relief breakfasts and free restaurant nights which saved me from having to fend for myself.
Find different, cheaper ways to hang out
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Do your friends go out every weekend? Is thirsty Thursday a tradition in your frat? Going out all the time can cut into your savings and deplete your cash quickly. Instead, find different ways of hanging out that don't require money.
Have a movie night or take a walk along a scenic route in your city or town. Get together in your dorm and put on some music. Bust out the twinkly lights and the leftover weed your Tinder date left in your room. If you absolutely need some libations, buy some cheap liquor from the store and mix it with some dining hall lemonade.
Go to class and study
Alright, I get that we all can't always get to that morning class, but skipping a lecture can amount to some very real circumstances. I had five classes that met about 120 times during one semester. My tuition — not including room and board — came out to about $23,000 per semester. That means every time I skipped class I was wasting about $191.
And if you fail a class? That just means you'll need to make it up for even more money. So, suck it up and get your butt out of bed because you're literally flushing money down the toilet every minute you waste.
Invest in a coffee maker
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Starbucks isn't going to hold on that college kid budget. Buy a cheap coffee maker at your local basics store and you're pretty much set. I, myself, use a French press but that's only because I think it's fun.
Brew your own coffee in the morning or at night if you're pressed for time. Heat it up or pour it over ice when you get up and you'll be golden, Ponyboy.
Now, these tips only come after you've cut all the costs in your full tuition. Be sure to find low cost housing, apply for scholarships and find the meal plan with the most bang for your buck. Going to college is a privilege that few can have.
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Every time payday rolls around, I’m on top of the world. Jeff Bezos-level rich - even though I’m anything but. And then somehow the very next day, rent is due.
The cycle continues. The next payday, bills for my apartment. I find myself without a surplus of savings since I just moved and newly-furnished my apartment completely.
Even more terrifying is the looming presence of the holiday season. Halloween’s officially over and before we know it, hello Thanksgiving…and then there’s Hanukkah, Christmas, New Year’s. It’s insane.
I’ve been feeling very British lately. Not in a Union-Jack-obsessed, “Keep Calm and Carry-On” way. I went through that phase in 2012 with everyone else… no thank you. And it’s not even a surge of patriotism catalyzed by the Queen dying — I’m firmly team Diana and team Meghan.
Now that fall is officially here, the holidays will sweep in and I’ll have to contend with the fact that I won’t be spending them with my family in the UK. I went home to London earlier this year, so there’s not much left in my travel budget for another trip across the pond. A few domestic jaunts might be in my future, but the closest I’ll get to England this winter is watching Love Island and Love, Actually.
So in that spirit, I’ve been filling my days with content from my favorite Brits. I’m listening to all the old British rock bands I grew up listening to, patiently awaiting the new Arctic Monkeys album, and rewatching anything with Michaela Coel in it. I even shipped myself an order of British Baked Beans, so you know it’s dire.
I’ve also been watching British YouTubers like Grace Beverley — my favorite. Generally, I only go on YouTube to watch Vogue Beauty Secrets and AD Open Door videos. But I’m so glad I stumbled on Grace. Her content is a mix of London lifestyle (what lured me in), relatable entrepreneurship, and mindful productivity. I’m not a hustle-and-grind-girlboss, but as a creative person in a 9-to-5, I need all the help I can get to stay plugged in. So, the video “how to be really really really productive without getting overwhelmed” changed my approach to WFH.
Grace outlines her own productivity method: the to-do table. Instead of making a simple to-do list, she divides her tasks into a table that anyone can follow. As someone who’s survived with to-do lists for years, I recently implemented Grace’s method, and it’s revolutionized my workdays.
how to be really really really productive without getting overwhelmedwww.youtube.com
I follow her routine to a tee. Here’s how it works:
Essentially, she divides her daily responsibilities into four categories: quick ticks, tasks, projects, and non-negotiables.
- Quick Ticks: Actions that take less than 5-minutes
- Tasks: To-do’s that take up to 30-minutes. Probably don’t take too much brain energy.
- Projects: Long-term list items. These help guide your priorities, even if you’re not crossing them off in one day.
- Non-negotiables: Pick 3 things each day that you must get done. This is how you’ll truly measure success.
With everything written down and sorted, next address your schedule. Meetings, deadlines, and time blocks — whatever works best for you. Write it down. Then make a pact with yourself to stick to them.
This way of categorization provides a roadmap for prioritizing your day — making you far more productive. Have you ever spent the entire day on small tasks and then suddenly realized you hadn’t moved the needle on any task? Or do you spend way too much time on tasks that aren’t a priority? No more. With your non-negotiables laid out, you know what to laser-focus on and what to dedicate energy towards.
Also, it pays to know your working style. I’m not a morning person. Yet, I have to be up and at ‘em super early. So, first thing in the morning, I march through my Quick Ticks to warm me up. I set a time limit, so I can knock out some easy wins which is totally inspiring. Then I move on to bigger things without lingering on emails or admin. For others, it might be more helpful to tackle the big things with all that early-in-the-day brain power earlier.
Grace has great tips on avoiding overwhelm and burnout. My favorite is taking more intentional breaks rather than scrolling through social media. I call this scrolling “productive” because I’m “coming up with pitches.” Oh, the lies we tell ourselves. It’s more productive in the long run to giving my brain a break with non-screen related stimuli.
Grace’s solution? Set a timer to read a real, an actual book. I’ve never thought of this. It’s a genius way to check off some books on my TBR and kickstart my creativity. After reading a good book, I’m completely inspired to write. So having books near my desk helps me step away from the computer during my lunch break for an actual reset. (And yes, the current books I’m reading are by British authors: Assembly by Natasha Brown, and Love in Color: Mythical Tales from Around the World, Retold by Bolu Babalolu.)
In my pursuit of switching out my WFH set-up and getting my life together, I’ve engineered my workstation for success. With my new WFH essentials and Grace’s productivity technique, I’m revitalized for work — despite the fall blues and my melancholy about the pending holidays.
Here are the things getting me hyped for work and helping me crush my Grace Beverley-inspired to-do tables — no lists in sight:
Pack your bags — Southwest Airlines is having a major sale! Fares are as low as $59 one-way if you book by October 3rd.
This end-of-summer super sale is a game-changer for your travel plans through the end of the year. Summertime travel gets all the glory. But why not take advantage of your long weekends, holidays, and PTO this fall. You’ll be surprised at how much travel you can fit in. Keep the fall/winter season exciting with domestic trips that give you all the excitement without breaking the bank. All thanks to Southwest.
Here’s the breakdown:
Where can you go?
You’ll find discounted tickets to and from most airports. Sale fares apply to cross country travel, and even Hawaii, Mexico, and the Caribbean! Whether you’re visiting a new city or revisiting your last beach vacation, this sale has fares to make your travel dreams come true.
What do the fares cover?
Southwest Airlines has multiple fare tiers, each with various benefits. Wanna Get Away fares start at $59, while Wanna Get Away Plus fares start at $89. You can also find great deals on Anytime fares, which offer priority boarding and express lanes. Then there’s Business Select tickets for a luxe experience at an affordable price point.
Do you have to be a Southwest Rapid Rewards member?
You may think these sale fares are too good to be true. Is there a catch? Do you have to be a Southwest Rapid Rewards member to access them? You’re in luck — anyone can attain these fares for a limited time.
But, insider tip, you should consider signing up for Southwest Rapid Rewards. With a free sign up, you earn points and miles with each trip you take. And with this sale, each dollar you spend on these discounted tix can stretch super far until you eventually earn free travel. The only thing better than a sale is free stuff.
I’ve been browsing the Southwest Airlines site, checking out flights and dreaming.