College is supposed to be the best four years of your life, and if you just moved into your own living space, you’re probably looking forward to the festivities of your newfound independence! However, this can be especially difficult if you have just been separated from your most reliable source of money (your parent unconditional love). So if you’re too busy to balance a lucrative job on top of a packed school schedule and sick of eating ramen and spending nights at home alone, here are some FUN, and easy budgeting tips for you!
Perhaps the most important part of living alone is the fact that you can party 24/7 without hindrance, and who wouldn’t want to do that?! Here are some ways to raise the roof without breaking the bank!
1.) Refrain from drinking out— party at home! Bars overcharge and often have cover charges that at the end up costing more than a bottle of liquor would have cost you! A bag of Ice ($2) and 2-3 bottles of liquor can add up to just as much as one night out while lasting you a lot longer than a couple hours.
- Invite friends over who are also bound to bring alcohol
2.) Convenience stores charge for convenience, buy alcohol at larger stores. More often than not, grocery stores and supermarkets will mark down alcohol if they are near liquor stores in order to attract customers— go for the deals!
3.) Have wristband parties— selling tickets to a party not only makes it exclusive and talked about, it will bring in money that you can use to spruce up the party!
4.) No one can tell if your party snacks are ‘brand-name’ or not when everything is mixed in a giant colorful party bowl. Party snacks are not where you should splurge— save that money for drinkable alcohol.
Going to the movies can get expensive.
- Rent movies online or at 24 hr movie rental services like Redbox that only charge $1.
- Use coupon codes and look up Student Discounts at movies.
- Invest in a used projector for the movie theater feel! A mini projector ( $59) and a blank wall ($0) are a one-time investment that will save you hundred in the long run.
- Netflix, Hulu, streaming websites.
1.) Pre-make meals to avoid the temptation of eating out
Breakfast can include overnight oatmeal recipes that are ready to eat as soon as you wake up. Meal prepping lunches and dinners are not only cost effective, they will make it easier to avoid eating out. You can quickly appease your hunger with ready made meals.
2.) Buy a coffee machine. The average American spends $20 on coffee every week. That cost is probably doubled for college students who crave the energy of a fresh cup of coffee.
3.) Have snacks on you when you travel.
- Having healthy portable snacks to throw in your backpack or purse will help you avoid the temptation of spending excessive money when you are way from your kitchen. Buy healthy snacks like raisins, assorted nuts, fruits etc; that will also keep you away from unhealthy fast food. This will not only keep you and your bank full—they won’t break the scale or your waistline.
4.) Buy in bulk. When grocery shopping, don’t be afraid to fill up your cart with healthy, affordable food, this will save you money in the long haul; a full pantry will keep you from going out to eat!
1.) Crowd fund your commute. Rideshare apps split the cost of a ride between passengers, making them cheaper than a singular ride.
2.) Invest in wheels. Bikes and skateboards are quick, easy and cost effective travel methods that are invaluable methods of getting from point A to point B.
- Many cities have programs that will allow you to work in lieu of payment for a bike. A cost effective way to get an otherwise expensive bike
- You can also build your own bike using inexpensive used parts from bike stores.