Money-saving Tactics in a Sinking Economy as a Student
September 25, 2023
There’s no denying it; we’re living in challenging times. As a student, managing expenses such as tuition fees, student loans, housing costs, and more while also juggling part-time work (if you’re fortunate enough to have one) can feel like a Herculean task. It’s during these moments that every dollar saved makes a significant difference.
With this in mind, we’ve rounded up some handy tips to help you save money as a student (or really anyone looking to cut down on expenses). Let’s dive right in:
Deals and Discounts
One of the best perks of being a student is your ID card. It’s not just proof of your academic status; it’s your ticket to a world of discounts. This card entitles you to cut-price deals at numerous stores, restaurants, cultural institutions, and even on tech products. Don’t forget to check with internet and TV providers too – many offer special student deals. For instance, you can take advantage of Cox Cable deals for students, granting you access to an array of channels so you can watch your favorite shows or enjoy game night with friends.
Your student card can also bag you several citywide and online discounts. Be sure to keep an eye out for student discount days and happy hours at local pubs, cinemas, and eateries.
Cook For Yourself
While this may seem daunting amidst part-time jobs and studies, cooking for yourself can lead to substantial savings compared to regularly ordering takeout.
Try setting aside a specific day and time each week for meal planning. This will not only save you time but also help cut down on grocery costs. Whatever meat or protein source you choose, use it as an accompaniment rather than the main attraction. Try adding cheese-filled beans to your meat dishes, which can work well in tacos, soups, and burgers. By planning your meals based on versatile ingredients, you can save a good chunk of change.
When you compare the cost of ingredients to that of a restaurant bill, the savings become evident right away. In the long run, eating wholesome home-cooked meals can also lead to fewer health issues and medical bills compared to frequent dining out. Plus, if you’re new to cooking, there’s no shortage of helpful online resources and tutorials. From YouTube cooking channels to your cable TV’s food shows, there are countless ways to kickstart your culinary journey.
Thrifting is in vogue these days, so no need to fret about sticking out like a sore thumb. You’ll be amazed at the savings you can pocket by thrifting your clothes online. Every shopping trip becomes an exhilarating treasure hunt, as you never know what you’ll stumble upon.
The key takeaway here is that by frequenting thrift stores like Goodwill and the Salvation Army, you’re bound to save a bundle with their bargain-basement prices. Plus, it’s not unusual to discover brand-new clothing that’s only been worn once or twice.
However, if the temptation for something fresh off the rack gets the better of you, ensure it doesn’t break the bank. Discount sites such as Savings.com, DealTaker.com, and RetailMeNot.com offer coupons and codes for a steal. Also consider factory outlets like Marshalls or TJ Maxx where last season’s threads or clothes with minor defects sell for less – keeping you in vogue without spending big bucks.
Garage Sale Gems
Walking into IKEA might make your wallet twitch with desire; hold your horses.
Instead of splurging at mainstream outlets, find furniture and more at flea markets or garage sales which boast far better prices. Contrary to popular belief that “garage sale” translates to “junk no one wants,” this is far from true. These open-air mini markets are goldmines brimming with quality furniture finds. A little paint, simple upholstery or a quick varnish can work wonders.
A mirror frame or chair leg can be spruced up with a fresh coat of paint and a shabby wooden chest of drawers can be refurbished relatively easily. Always inspect each item thoroughly before finalizing any deal unless there are glaring defects. Whether you’re revamping one piece of furniture or overhauling an entire space, buying used furniture is a wallet-friendly option.
Public Transit Perks
If you’re a daily commuter on the bus or train, you can rack up significant savings over a year by opting for a monthly or annual pass. The downside is that you have to fork out for the pass upfront. However, a subscription or monthly ticket still comes out cheaper than paying per ride.
Having your own wheels is great, but traffic snarls? Not so much. Why not sidestep the headache of road rage and let someone else take the wheel by using public transport?
Colleges and universities often subsidize public transportation costs, allowing students unlimited bus or train rides for a nominal monthly fee or sometimes even free.
Granted, public transport has its hiccups like delays and sharing space with strangers. But if you can afford to be patient and adaptable, it’s an excellent way to save some cash while also reducing your carbon footprint!
Finding a Roommate
If you’re planning to live on campus, chances are you’ll end up with a roommate. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but it won’t save you any money on dorm costs. The practical solution isn’t to live solo, but rather to find the right roommate.
Want to cut down on housing costs? You can still have a roommate and split the cost of an off-campus place.
There’s plenty of online tools that can assist you in your search, but always be wary of potential scams. Do your due diligence before signing up for any service. After graduation, alumni networks can be a great way to connect with others in a new city.
Many universities even have alumni groups on Facebook. Jump on board and follow people in your local area who are also seeking roommates. Sharing your space not only saves you money on rent but also cuts down expenses like groceries, utilities, and maintenance, making life that bit easier. But remember, choose your roommate wisely.
Life as a student can be tough, especially when budgeting is involved. However, there are numerous ways to make the journey more manageable. By using the tips mentioned above along with other strategies you pick up along the way, saving money in this economy will become much less daunting.