Become a Budgeting Queen!

We may be in middle-of-nowhere Indiana with zero temptation of shopping sprees and pricey meals, but things still add up in college, and we better keep an eye on that bank account. We may have a larger burden thinking about tuition, financial aid, or room and board, but our precious spending money requires some budgeting too! Since you don’t have the same income as over the summer from babysitting or that killer internship, but still want to enjoy yourself, you’ll need some alternatives to saving and spending. I propose us collegiettes become the ultimate budgeters so we can keep our cool when money gets tight. Here are some places we get trapped with our money and ways to find an alternative:
Coffee- Luckily we aren’t tempted with pricey Lattes and Frappuccinos from Starbucks or Caribou (even though I know I’m going through some serious withdrawal!), but buying coffee at Café Roy on a daily basis is going to add up. Invest in a coffee machine for your room, or take advantage of the coffee made at your sorority. The $4 iced lattes should be a treat during a study break rather than where you spend your entire meal plan.  Buy a cute Tumbler, and fill it up on your way to study. Then, bring it to the coffee shop as your diversion. That fresh brewed coffee is fewer calories than the large whipped white mocha too, so you can’t go wrong!
Boredom & Wal-Mart- Boredom leads to impromptu trips to Wal-Mart, one of our few entertainment options in Greencastle. Only venture out there when you have certain items to buy. Make a shopping list, and stick to it. It may be entertaining to wander the aisles on a dreary Sunday, but only buy what you need now. Spend your slow afternoons at campus events instead. Getting involved is very easy at DePauw, and you’re time will be much better “spent.”
And speaking of impulse purchases…
Online shopping- I successfully avoided this pitfall all of freshman year, but once I discovered Zappos and got on e-mail lists for promotions at my favorite stores from home, I couldn’t help but get sucked into the world of online shopping. If you find yourself on your favorite store’s website and craving a trip to the mall, think about the money you can save by being miles away from your mecca. When you find a dress or cute top you want to wear out next weekend, ask yourself if you really need it. Sometimes when I feel tempted to splurge on clothes, I go to my closet to look at what I already have, and I often find something very similar to what I’m one click away from purchasing. This will keep your perspective in check. If you’re still thinking about the outfit by the end of the week, then go for it.
Looking for a cute dress for your upcoming formal? Instead of splurging on a dress you’ll only wear once, check out You can find your perfect dress, have it shipped to you a few days before your event, and return it the next day at no cost. They even send you an extra size of the dress, just in case. It’s reliable, and DePauw women are super excited about this new service that’s perfect for our events, because we can wear quality dresses for only a fraction of the cost.
Eating Out- As tempting as a Marvin’s GCB and Ranch Fries seems late Saturday night, you’re stomach and wallet will feel it in the AM. Use your meal plan, or eat meals at your chapter house. You’re paying for those meals anyways, so might as well take advantage of it!
And, now that the Monon Restaurant is closed, pocket that extra $8 you would have spent on Sunday morning, open up that box of Special K, and share it with friends.  You can still sit and rehash that party from last night, though it might not cure you’re uneasy stomach that a good greasy breakfast provides the morning after. It’s worth the sacrifice of Greencastle’s loss, ladies.
Gas-We can’t deny that prices are on the up-and-up for gas these days, so if you have a car on campus, limit your driving. Fortunately, DePauw is a walking campus; so enjoy the scenery and fresh air. If you take an impromptu trip to Indy or Plainfield, car pool and have everyone pitch in a few bucks for gas. The trip will be worth it, and you won’t feel the burning hole in your pocket for that drive down I-70.
Take advantage of free campus events- Did you know there was a truck parked in the center of campus passing out FREE cupcakes recently? What’s better than a free dessert on a Friday afternoon? On top of that, there are always philanthropies, BBQs, movie nights, and speakers around campus providing free snacks, entertainment, and distractions from studying. Check out the DePauw Weekly e-mail for upcoming events that are free to students. Attending these events promotes campus involvement too, so a good time really doesn’t come at a cost!