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How to Balance a College Girl’s Springtime Budget

Springtime festivities have begun! With every weekend of your social calendar filling up quickly, it’s easy to spend money fast: cocktails at Tate’s, a new pair of sunglasses for spring break, new magazines to read in the sun on the Quad. And of course the occasional shopping splurge. So here are few tips to help you get through the rest of the semester without breaking the bank!

Take account of your bank account.

After spring break, it’s important to make sure your finances are in order. Make a list of all necessary expenses you can predict you will need money for. Set aside this amount so you won’t be tempted to spend it on other things. Remember that food, rent and gas are more important than a crazy weekend with the girls at the beach. Don’t yet add in the ‘fluff’ expenses—focus on the must-haves.

Prioritize.

Now that you know what you need, you can decide what you can spend on the fun stuff. With so many exciting things coming up, you may not have it in your budget to do everything. Decide what is most important to you and what is worth spending your money on. You might find that you’d rather go to Carolina Cup than SpringFest, or pick Posties over Beach Weekend. (Or, if you want to do both, cut back on take-out and off-campus Starbucks during the week!)
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Save where you can!

Every smart collegiette loves saving money … almost as much as spending it. There a few successful strategies you can use to help keep pennies in the piggy bank. When you go to the grocery store or make a Target run, only buy what is on your list! Don’t be tempted by all of the new tabloids and candy at the register. Only take cash when you go out, so you will only spend what you have and no more. When you go out to eat (or even go to Shorty’s), try to split a meal with a friend, so you only have to pay for half (portions are usually way too large anyway). Also, take advantage of “Pit shopping” (i.e. milk, fruit, bagels, etc.). And keep reusable utensils and bowls in your room instead of plastic. You’ll save money and the environment!

Also, don’t forget the price of beauty!

We all want to look our best for semi-formal events, like Shag on the Mag, Carolina Cup and fraternity formals during beach weekend. If you don’t already own the perfect dress for these occasions, consider borrowing one from a friend to save money. Want a bigger selection? Consider Borrow Me Pretty or Rent the Runway. You’re less likely to show up wearing the same Monkee’s dress as another girl. Or take the “Princess Kate” route and re-wear some of your favorite outfits! Add different jewelry, shoes, etc. to make a brand-new look!

*Photography by Katie Mahone

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