If you are anything like me, then you might have low-key considered asking your landlord if you can pay your rent with a box of donuts and an apology card.
Being broke is hard, and being in college makes it ten times worse. However, there are simple things you can do to make these hard times a little easier to bear.
Here are the top six ways to save and make money as a broke college student:
1. If you do your own grocery shopping and have trouble staying on budget, there are ways to cut the cost without cutting down on what you need. Before you go to the store, make a list of what you need – I know you have heard this one before but stay with me here. If you get there and don’t remember what you came for, you can spend hours circling the store collecting things you don’t really need. I can’t tell you how many times I went to the store only intending to buy $5.00 worth of supplies and end up leaving as the proud owner of aisle nine.
2. Most stores also have a section for day old bakery items. Sandwich bread, cupcakes, garlic bread and more that are all half price. That way you can treat yourself without having to pay for your gas in quarters. As my frugal roommate likes to say “never be afraid of the clearance section” –Soraya, 26.
3. Some days I end up going to class more coffee than human, so I had to find a way to pay for my coffee addiction. I bought myself a cheap coffee maker and make my cup of Joe every morning – saved me a small fortune in trips to Starbucks. Sometimes I oversleep and don’t have time to break out my trusty coffee maker. On those mornings I use coupons at chain locations. For most places, like Dunkin’ Donuts, if you sign up for their email list they will send you coupons for reduced or free drinks, let you know when they are offering deals, and more!
4. Speaking of free, did you know most libraries allow you to check out movies? Now you don’t have to pay $15.00 to watch a movie on a Friday night (and that’s if you don’t buy the bucket of popcorn and soda). There are also free events hosted by UTorganizations like magic shows, stand-up comedians, and dance shows. If you do end up going out somewhere on the weekend, don’t forget to ask if they offer student discounts. You might not need to pay full price!
5. Maybe the problem isn’t that you are spending too much money, maybe you aren’t making enough. I understand though. It can be hard to find a job that can fit into your schedule and still leaves you with enough time to study and be some-what social. On-campus jobs can really help in this situation. Your employer would already be aware that you are a college student and, depending on the job, you might be able to work on your homework when you aren’t assisting anyone.
6. Let’s say you submitted an application and you got an interview (yay!), but as you take a cursory glance at your wardrobe you realize that you don’t have anything to wear. And yes, that nice pair of jeans and a flannel shirt are not professional enough. What to do? You could go to the mall and drop $50.00 on an appropriate outfit, or you could visit your local thrift shop. You would be surprised what you can find in a thrift shop. Last time I went I found a cashmere sweater for less than $4.00! I left that store singing “Thrift Shop” by Macklemore because that was “really awesome.”