College is expensive. Most college students complain about being broke. They have a reputation for being stingy. Yes, I do go to Chapman which has a reputation for being a campus for well-off students. And of course I, and most of my friends, live very comfortably. But there’s something about suddenly paying for everything with your own money that makes even my most well-off classmates suddenly financially focused, particularly when paying for daily necessities. Save money where you can and go on adventures later? Whatever your reason is for wanting to save, I’ve listed my 7 secrets to being a cheap college student.
1. If there's free food, GO.
- Most campuses, whether it’s through clubs or through the school itself, hold events pretty regularly where they offer food as an incentive. GO. Take the free meals. Sometimes they give coupons like the Bruxie and Chick-Fil-A ones below that we got attending sporting events. It’s like going to Costco or the Farmer’s market and filling up on samples. And who knows, the event might be interesting anyway. While I admittedly attended a club’s outdoor festival for the free food, I stayed for the dancing and entertainment!
2. Bring tupperware to the dining hall
-Obviously, food is a necessity. In my mind, what I save on food during the week I can spend on yummy brunch on the weekends. If you have a meal plan, discretely package food. Pizza. Toast. Chips. Cookies. Stuff your backpack with bananas. My current record is 8 bananas at a time. And 2 oranges.
3. Do not underestimate the power of the dollar store
-There are many things you probably shouldn’t go to the dollar store for. Definitely NOT shampoo, I learned that the hard way. But, they have quality snacks, spices and decor. We’ve decorated for a summer party with streamers, tissue paper, plates, silverware, cups. All from the dollar store. Shout out to my friend, Marissa, who has decorated for a Hawaiian- themed party solely from a single aisle at the dollar store.
4. Learn your way around a thrift shop
-They say thrifting is the new big thing and I would totally agree. You can find super cheap clothes or even decor to get your shopping fix in. Plus, you won’t have all the same clothes as everyone on campus because let’s be honest, there are only so many cute shops in the area. You’ll match half the campus at one point or another.
5. Why buy plates, napkins, and silverware when you can take them from fast food restaurants?
- If you are the stereotypical college student, fast food is your best friend. That overly large stack of napkins they give you? Keep it. The amount of ketchup packets and Chick-Fil-A sauce I hoard is unbelievable.
6. Make use of coupons of all kinds
-UberEats does first $15 meal free. Uber and Lyft have free first rides plus points for referring. If you get coupons in the mail, sift through them. Cheat the system.
7. Consolidate cleaning materials
Get used to just detergent, because fabric softener is a luxury on a budget. Don’t have any swiffer pads? Use Clorox wipes. For everything. Or a damp paper towel. A damp paper towel will suffice for most household cleaning honestly. Dish soap for hand soap? It’s all fair game
What do you think of our list? Anything you want to add?