How I Save Money in College

Being a broke college student is hard, and it’s hard trying to survive college on a small budget of whatever money you have left from break. I struggled with this a lot during my first semester of college because there’s temptation everywhere to spend money at school. However, after a difficult first semester, I’ve discovered some tips to help you ditch the broke college kid aesthetic.

If you don’t already, I highly suggest some sort of job back home. Saving up a little money over breaks from school can help you stretch your budget out over the school year. It also makes it easier to work during school because you don’t have to try to work a lot of hours while balancing school work.

My first step of trying to be financially smart while in college was finding a source of income. MountaineerTrak is a great place to start with tons of job listings. There’s no shortage of on-campus jobs, you just have to know where to look.

Lots of places around or even on campus list jobs often too, from stores on High street to restaurants in the Lair and Evansdale Crossing. After you secure a job, things become much easier.

Trying to balance school and work is hard, after working for one semester I learned that no more than 25-35 hours a week is the max most college students should try to work, if possible, however, if you can’t work very often here are some tips to help stretch your money out.

If you’re paying bills in college my first piece of advice is to set all of your bills to come from your first paycheck if you can. After your first paycheck takes all of your big bills and try and make the twenties stretch. For example, if you get paid $380, move the $300 into your savings and try and make the $80 last until your next paycheck. It’s going to be hard at first but the more you do this, the easier it will be.

Another tip I have found helpful is trying to avoid eating out. It’s hard being on a meal plan, especially when the dining halls close so early sometimes, but for me, dining out was a big part of why I was having such a hard time saving money. I’ve been limiting myself to eating out twice a month and it has helped me save a ton already. I also made sure to stock up on some essentials for the dorm, just small things to eat when there’s no motivation to leave the dorm.

My biggest tip for saving money is finding a friend that will hold you responsible for it. We all have weak moments sometimes but having someone there to remind you of your motivation to save money is really helpful. Even a text that reminds you that you’ve already dined out twice this month, or that no you do NOT need that glittery laptop case, can really help put things into perspective.

Happy saving!