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We all know that being in college can be a financial nightmare. You’re on your own for probably the first time and you’ve got piles of bills stacking up; some you’ve never even heard of. Although I do get some help from my parents, and I work five days a week, I still find every way possible to save money on groceries, including food, toiletries, and other at-home needs.

1. Always know where the clearance is.

I routinely shop at both Target and Walmart for my grocery needs and I know exactly where the clearance is in every section. Clearance sections in the grocery area usually have discontinued, but really interesting foods for a fraction of what they’re worth. The possibility of the item being just downright nasty can make the selection sparse, but sometimes finding really interesting foods to try can be fun! You can find these clearances on end caps of aisles most often.


2. Use coupon apps!

On top of the clearance prices, I love finding deals on my coupon app called Ibotta. You can add coupons to your list before you shop and then just scan your receipt and the product barcode to get cash back. Even if you can’t find something desirable in the store, sometimes you can get a dollar rebate just for shopping! I’ve even gotten cash rebates for more than I paid for the product!


3. Free samples.

Always. I start just about every day like every other person and deleting hundreds of emails, but I always check emails from a subscription that gives you links to freebies from top brands. I’ve gotten free face masks, feminine products, coupons for completely free food and more!

4. Don’t eat out.

This is the tip you’ll hear time and time again, but it’s true and completely necessary when you’re on a budget in school. Eating out costs the average person $12.75 a meal whereas you could spend only about $2 on raw chicken, use herbs you already have or spend $1 on some that’ll last you months or years and grab a head of romaine that can serve as two or three side dishes for future meals. When you need to grab a bite to eat, avoiding a sit-down restaurant where you have to pay tip is best, but only eat out when it’s most convenient for you and your wallet.

5. When you do eat out, check if the restaurant has an app.

I absolutely love the McDonald’s app. I just about live off of it and lots of other fast food and sit-down restaurants are getting on board with providing apps for customers to get free food and other offers. McDonald’s will give you free food if you order online and often times, you’ll get buy one get one on just about anything!

Junior journalism, fashion and strategic social media student at West Virginia University.
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