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As the middle of the semester starts to draw near, college students are realizing something important. No, not the start of midterms — those are terrible anyway — but money is starting to run low. Here are some easy tips to save a few bucks in university.

Use your meal plan.

First, while this may be an obvious one, use your meal plan. A lot of the time, it sounds better to just go get some take-out, but it may be more expensive. If you have an on-campus dining plan, it would make the most sense to use those swipes for your meals rather than spending ten bucks on Taco Bell every day, even though it sounds more appetizing. 

Obviously, there are gonna be times when you just want to grab a quick snack though. More likely than not, you’re not going to go all the way to the dining hall just to grab one thing and leave, so having snacks in your dorm is still a good option.

Try shopping at new places.

Grocery shopping can get pricey depending on where you shop. A box of Cheez-its will run you a bit more money at Target and buying that frequently can rack up. Choosing another store could potentially save you some money. At Aldi, a box of knock-off Cheez-its is about half the price and is the same thing as the name brand, just with different packaging. This can be applied to many of your favorite go-to snacks and save a couple of bucks at the end of the semester.

Sign up for discounted streaming services.

Food isn’t the only area of heavy spending. The average college student owns a music and/or TV streaming service. Those fees can be hurting your bank account, but you don’t have to get rid of them just yet. Lots of services have discounted prices for students. Apple Music offers a discounted price of $4.99/month instead of the regular $9.99/month which can be accessed by just signing up with your student email address. For those who favor Spotify over Apple Music, there’s a similar deal. For $4.99/month, you can get Spotify, Hulu, and Showtime and you just need your student email to sign up

Look into Amazon Prime Student.

Another online service students should be aware of is Amazon Prime Student. It’s inevitable that you are most likely going to need to order a few books or a last-minute accessory for an outfit. With Amazon Prime Student, you get all the benefits of amazon prime, just at a lowered cost. It’s $6.49/month and just as the other online services, you just need your student email to sign up.

Explore your school’s opportunities.

Another easy way to save is to explore opportunities offered in your school’s tuition. Many schools, including Loyola Chicago, have either discounted or free admission to museums. That could make for an enjoyable day trip solo or with friends and most importantly, it’s cheap!

Shop local.

Local businesses around campus are always great places to check out for a bite to eat or some shopping. Next time you are out, ask about any student discounts they may offer. They usually tend to have some sort of discount available.

As the semester progresses, keep these tips in mind. It’s easy to get stressed or worried about finances as a student, but keep in mind that it’s important to take care of yourself and to treat yourself to all the new experiences college offers. 

I am a Journalism student at Loyola University Chicago and I write for the Loyola Phoniex as well.
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