One of the biggest culture shocks of college is how much it costs to uh… literally stay alive. From basic food and bills to a social life and the cost of textbooks, suddenly the budget you thought could stretch isn’t looking quite so flexible. Here are some tips to make the adjustment to balancing life and financial responsibility!
Use your student ID.
There are so many national chains and local businesses that will help our college students with discounts, deals, and giveaways. Join UNiDAYS for daily deals and offers on EVERYTHING from makeup to clothes, tech, food, and travel.
Borrow, rent or download that book.
Textbooks are one of the biggest unexpected expenses in college, there’s always one more that you didn’t account for, and of course, that one is going to be $500. Check out this post from Book Riot and use ALL their tips to get those textbook prices down.
If you’re on a meal plan, choose the protein options and foods with a low GI (easy to look up on google) when making food choices at the cafeteria. These types of food will keep you fuller for longer and cut down on the costs of snacking between meals. If you’re not on-campus, learn how to make stew, pasta sauces, and rich soups. Not only will they make your apartment smell delicious in winter, you can use less expensive cuts of meat, as well as cheaper root vegetables, to create delicious, filling meals. And all are easy to freeze for those weeks you’re too busy to cook!
Not only is water necessary to y’know, be alive, it’s also free! Unlike sugary drinks, juices and flavored seltzers, plain old water will keep you hydrated, make your skin look better and improve your overall health. Often when you’re hungry you’re actually thirsty (don’t ask us why our bodies can’t figure that one out yet!) so before you pay out for a quick snack, chug the rest of your water and wait five minutes.
Walk the extra mile.
Public transportation, Ubers, Birds, and everything related to cars… the costs add up! If you can’t find a cheap bike at the local thrift store or online, start walking. Plan for that extra half hour stroll to class and use that quality time to listen to podcasts, Sweetener on repeat because God is def a woman, or get your friends to walk with you and invest in quality friendship time. An added bonus of walking is that it is good for your overall health to exercise daily!
Only use cash.
Using cash to pay instead of cards or apps forces you to think about physically parting with that money. Suddenly the $25 a week on Starbucks or the $55 on getting your nails done will be harder to justify.
Don’t compare yourself.
Taking out more loans, putting it on a credit card, or running through your funds too fast to keep up with the fashion, trends, and spending of your classmates are going to affect your financial future in ways you can’t imagine right now. Save your future credit score—and sanity—and stop comparing yourself to others!
But also, treat yourself.
Sounds counter-intuitive, but you still gotta treat yourself or you’ll be miserable! Do your nails at home, you’ll be surprised how many color options you and your dorm-mates have if you pool your collections and make a date night! Or pick one festival or concert that you absolutely must go to and start a savings jar well in advance to get you towards your goal.
College is about making memories and having experiences! If you remove all joy from your life, you will be a dehydrated ball of stress with bad grades and no friends. So save where you can, and allow yourself to let loose once in a while 🙂
Check back with Cheer! Daily for more coping tips and tricks to get you through college, including joining groups, tail-gating and keeping that 4.0 GPA ❤