How to Live Your Life Without Breaking the Bank

Much like other college students, I love a good steal. But it has been said (not by me, of course) that I do it better than most. Here are some of my favorite tips and tricks for living lavish on a budget.

paid make it rain GIF by Billion Back Records

Image via Giphy

  1. 1. Download all the delivery apps.

    All of them. Many will give you a discount on your first order, and if you can pick it up yourself, it’s often even cheaper. Once you’ve maxed out on this, try coordinating with your friends to make that delivery fee negligible. Plus, once you’ve created your accounts, they’ll often randomly send coupons that provide the perfect excuse for skipping the dining hall.

  2. 2. Sign up for every rewards program,

    at every place you’ve ever shopped at. Not only do you get rewarded for purchases you were going to make anyway, you’ll often get sent a welcome gift or coupon, and something on your birthday. Make sure you register your birthday with these programs. On my birthday, I basically spend a whole day collecting free things. Sephora has a particularly nice gift.

  3. 3. Kroger.

    At Kroger, I get points for every purchase, which then translates into gas discounts. They also have many coupons and discounts exclusive to loyalty members, and on Fridays they generally give away an item for free, no questions asked.

  4. 4. Download the Target app,

    and scan everything you buy. The app will let you know if there’s a coupon applicable for your item.

  5. 5. Price matching.

    If you’re really on the hunt for a discount, check the pricing at other stores. A lot of places will match competitor pricing, giving you the points or convenience of shopping at your preferred location.

  6. 6. Actually check your email.

    This will give you knowledge about who’s constantly having a sale. I’ve never bought anything full price at Bath and Body Works in my life, and I would never buy something at Pink without a coupon.

  7. 7. Take the customer satisfaction surveys.

    They're often found at the bottom of your receipt, or in an email. Chick-fil-a will give you a free sandwich, Dunkin Donuts will give you a free donut, Starbucks gives you stars, etc.

  8. 8. Turn on your app notifications.

    (You should have the app for every place you shop.) I’ve seen many app-specific promotions, or else you might get advance notice on a really good sale.

  9. 9. Keep an eye out for nationwide “holidays.”

    Free Cone Day, National Ice Cream Day, National Lipstick Day, and International Waffle Day all have free or discounted items associated with them. (Try Dairy Queen, Carvel, M.A.C, and IHOP, respectively.)

  10. This is an internet browser extension that will automatically try to apply every available promo code to your cart, leaving you with the lowest price possible.

  11. 11. Use UNiDAYS and id.me,

     the student discount websites. Once you verify your student status with your email address, you’ll have access to all kinds of student-only discounts, my favorite being $5 Apple Music.

  12. 12. Buy the kid’s meal, or look for combos.

    The kid’s meal generally has more than enough food, and you can get an entrée, a drink, and a side for less. At Chick-fil-a, you can exchange the kid’s toy for an ice cream.

  13. 13. Shop store brand.

    Basics are more or less exactly the same thing, for so much less. There’s no reason to pay for a label, particularly on things like floss or whipped cream.

Hopefully these tips will make that college student budget last just a little longer!