While going out to eat and seeing your favorite band in concert once in a while is okay, small expenditures can really add up over time. You may think you’re saving money by not buying new clothes at the mall each weekend, but little things like regular visits to Starbucks will zap your account. It’s never too early to start saving money for spring break and for the summer, so follow these tips to see your account balance increase!
1. Instead of paying for drinks on Friday and Saturday nights, try some (responsible) pre-gaming at your apartment with your friends (if you’re of age).
While nothing beats ordering a fancy drink at the bar, your tab can really start to add up after a few rounds. You don’t have to give up cocktails forever, but make a pledge with your friends to only order one drink each at the bar, and make the rest at home.
Besides, playing bartender can be fun! You can add whichever ingredients you want, and your pals won’t judge you if you don’t know what actually goes in a certain drink. At-home drinks are also a great way to figure out what you like and don’t like, so you’ll know exactly what to order next time you head to the bar. Never pregame by yourself, though – this money saver is best spent with friends since you won’t have a bartender to cut you off. Have one person agree to stay sober and keep everyone else responsible if you choose to drink, whether you’re out or at home.
2. Instead of buying weekly movie tickets, try a Netflix subscription.
If you’ve been hesitant to shell out for a Netflix subscription, split the price with a few pals, so it’s only a few dollars each per month. Netflix is just $7.99 a month no matter how many films and TV shows you watch – that’s about as much as you’d pay to see just one movie in theaters! And if you split the price with even one other friend, that’s less than five dollars a month for each of you to pay.
You’ll have to create one username for all of you, but you can access your account from up to ten machines so that each of you can watch instant movies on your laptop when you aren’t together. You won’t be able to see movies as soon as they’re released, but aren’t all rom-coms sort of the same anyway? You should also check out your campus movie center – they’ve probably got tons more options than Redbox, and many schools offer viewing rooms where you can watch with your friends on campus!
Some movie studios, like Universal, also partner with campus organizations to set up theater-like movie showings on weekends. Through these programs, you can catch movies in the time between theaters and DVD releases, and rent out an auditorium in the student union for an authentic movie theater feel. See if your campus has these viewings on weekends – hey, you might as well get the most out of your student fees!
3. Instead of buying a new dress for a formal, borrow one.
With sites like Rent the Runway making a splash on college campuses across the nation, there’s no excuse for paying hundreds for a dress you’ll probably only wear once. Dress rental prices range from $40 to over $200, plus a shipping fee. But since their garments are designer pieces that retail for hundreds (some of them even thousands!), this is a great deal even for a rental.
Rent the Runway has tons of designer options from Tibi to Herve Leger, and they get new dresses in all the time! They send you the dress in two sizes in case one doesn’t fit, and also offer an insurance option in case you break a zipper or spill some wine. And, the site has accessorizes like bags and jewelry available to rent, too! How’s that for a deal?
If Rent the Runway is still a bit out of your price range, you can always borrow a dress the old-fashioned way – from a friend! Find an older sorority sister, roommate or girl on your hall who has a frock she won’t mind letting you wear. Make sure you offer to pay for the dry cleaning, though!
4. Instead of trips to Starbucks a couple days a week, try brewing your own coffee and taking it in a to-go cup.
When you think of making your own coffee, you probably think of the thermos a 50-year-old secretary brings to an office job, complete with bright pink lipstick stains. But with the rise of eco-friendly products, to-go cups are more stylish and affordable than ever! You can even get ones that look like actual luxury coffee cups, like a plastic Starbucks cup that you can buy there. After a couple weeks, that cup will have paid for itself
If you don’t have a coffee machine, you can still make your own coffee without breaking a sweat. Nestle and Starbucks make individual powder packets that just require adding hot water, and taste better than other coffee powders since they’re each sealed separately. Treat yourself to a few different CoffeeMate flavors and sweeteners to make it seem like you’re still getting that gourmet caramel latte. You’ll wonder why you ever paid more in the first place!