We get it—you're living on a tight budget. So when we presented 10 incredibly easy ways to save money in college, it's no surprise that they were incredibly popular. So in order to help you out even more, we've put our brains together to come up with another 10 ways you might not have thought of to keep your hard-earned money safely in your bank account. Check out our list of ideas, and comment at the end with yours!
1. If you're going out, look for Happy Hours and After Work Specials
Here in Boston, Happy Hours are technically illegal because Massachusetts doesn't allow sales on discounted alcohol, but that doesn't stop my friends and I from scrounging the city for discounted food and drink deals. You're in college — going out with friends is important and incredibly common at our age. If you don't want to skip on bonding with your friends, suggest heading to a place that offers half price appetizers or discounted drinks between certain hours. From big chains like P.F. Chang’s and McCormick & Schmick’s to local pubs and bars, you're bound to find at least one place that'll let you eat and drink for cheap.
"‘Wing nights’ are perfect for going out and saving money," says Katie Bryant, a Northeastern University graduate. "The ‘wing night’ my friends and I usually go to is at Penguin Pizza on Monday nights. It's 15 cent wings so you can get 10 wings and a drink for less than $7!"
2. Brown bag your lunch
In one of our lists of suggestions, we suggested cooking as one way to save money. That is definitely still true—for proof, check out our story on how to make 21 meals with $60! We know, it's so much easier to say, "Oh, I'll just buy my lunch!" but the money you're spending every afternoon really adds up. If lunch is $10 a day, that's $50 a week you could easily be saving! So take cooking one step further and make a little extra the night before so you can bring your leftovers for lunch the next day. Throwing ravioli on to boil? Double the amount you're making and stick it in a Tupperware for next time. Making chicken? Defrost two pieces and cook the second while you're at it. There's very little extra preparation required, and you've got an easy meal for the next day.
"I do a lot of cooking on the weekend to prepare for the week's lunches," says Jacqueline Findra, a Northeastern University graduate. "I'll make a big batch of something like soup and freeze half of it to bring out at a moment's notice. Freezing meals is perfect even for dinner when you get home from work, are exhausted and don't feel like cooking."
3. Go for the generic brands
At every drugstore and grocery store across the country, the shelves are stacked with all the name brand items you immediately recognize. Right next to them is usually the store brand version, often $1 or $2 cheaper, made with exactly the same things. Compare the boxes—if it's a medication, check the active ingredients and if it's a food look at nutritional facts and servings. Often, these products are nearly identical, and you can easily save a ton of cash if you purchase the non-name brand item!
4. Clip Coupons
I know, I know. This suggestion makes you think of your stingy grandparents who sit with the newspaper at the kitchen table carefully cutting out every coupon imaginable. But you don't need to spend hours to find coupons—simply leaf through the brochures you get in the mail and see if any of them are for products you regularly use. Often, things like tampons or toilet paper are discounted at bulk rates. The reality is, you'll eventually use this stuff, so what's the harm in buying two boxes if you're saving $5?
5. Sign up for Groupon and other similar sites
Group buying websites like LivingSocial and Groupon offer up to 75 percent discounts on everything from dental exams to 90-minute massages. Sites like these are completely free to join, as all you need to do is provide a name and email address. You'll get the deals for your city sent right to your inbox every day. While most you'll just delete, others are fabulous deals that are often too great to pass up. Alex Bradley, a recentt Northeastern University graduate agrees. "Groupon is a great program if you buy deals for things you'd normally spend money on anyways, like dry cleaning or going out to eat at your favorite restaurants. You really can save a ton of money!"
Although these websites are great, it's also important to have self-control. Just because you might go to the restaurant or use the deal doesn't mean you should purchase it, so spend wisely!
Here’s our list of our favorite group saving sites: