The Realities of Being a Broke College Student

Here are just some of the many realities of being a broke college student:

You can’t go out all the time.

Going out to dinner or going to the movies is a great way to spend a Friday night and kick off your weekend but it can be expensive! If you do this every week you may find yourself spending a good amount of your money that you were hoping would last you the next few months. Instead, save going out for special occasions like a friend’s birthday or a movie you’ve been wanting to see since the trailer was released. There are also things you can do on campus like Late Nite where there are movies and activities during the weekend that are FREE for Binghamton students!

Grocery shopping requires a lot more thought.

While Wegman’s is the dream, Walmart and Target are a little friendlier to the broke college student’s budget. Your best bet is to buy the store’s brand, they tend to be less expensive than name brands and almost as good quality wise. Ramen is always an affordable choice (I recommend putting some siracha in the broth to spice things up) but you can’t live off of it. While it can be confusing and stressful, comparing prices between brands and stores will help you in the long run and allow you to buy more food than just ramen.

Sales are the best and worst things for your wallet.

Walking into the Binghamton University Bookstore your Fall Semester to get your textbooks is a struggle for several reasons: One, depending on your course load the books are heavy and the walk back to your dorm will have you sweating. Two, there are sales everywhere! Sales on Binghamton University t-shirts, sweatpants, water bottles…you think about all the stuff you could get yourself, your friends and family at such a cheap price. However, it all can add up so just be wary. There is nothing wrong with taking advantage of a sale, just keep an eye on how much you’re actually spending!

Purchasing Textbooks

…need I say more? Textbooks are expensive and necessary for many of our classes. Luckily there are a few ways around this problem that can help you save some money. The best advice I can give is try to rent used textbooks from the bookstore if you can, or for a little more, rent new textbooks, just make sure you don’t lose them because they have to be returned at the end of the semester! You can also look into renting from places like Amazon.

Your School ID is your best friend

That little plastic card can get you a lot of discounts. Some places like museums, movie theaters and stores offer discounts with student IDs, you just need to ask sometimes because they don’t always advertise it well. The city buses that come to campus are free to with your ID too! There are also discounts for college students on Amazon and Spotify Premium/Hulu with a valid ID as well!

Water becomes your first choice of beverage!

Its free! Order it with your meals when you get to go out, get it in the Market Place with your Chick-N- Bap, with your food from the dining hall or buy a reusable water bottle from Target or Walmart to stay hydrated in class and save some money.

Summer Jobs

While we would all love to spend the summer relaxing and preparing for the next school year, that isn’t going to get you the money you need for textbooks, school supplies, groceries or nights out. Places like Target, Walmart, Barnes and Noble etc. are always hiring college students for the summer. You can also look into jobs during the school year too if you find yourself wanting to make some more money.

You appreciate everything your family has done for you even more.

No matter how aware we think we are of what our families have done for us, we don’t really get just how much they’ve helped us until we are put in the position of having to take care of ourselves. Things like groceries aren’t taken for granted anymore when you realize how expensive it is to buy the ingredients to make something as simple as a salad! The money your grandparents give you for your birthday or the holidays is put into your bank account with the hopes it’ll last you a while.

While some people’s financial situations differ from others the reality of being a broke college student is that when you become one you begin to learn the value of a dollar. You also will find yourself even more grateful for the things you have.