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Making the Cut: Groceries on the College Budget

It is just a fact of life, we need food to survive.  With a busy schedule of classes, studying, writing papers, or whatever your plate holds, it can be easy to grab some fast food and go. Consider making some cuts to your eating habits daily. Here are some ideas on how to bank some bucks.

  • Trying to eat on 12 cents? Two words: Ramen® Noodles.
  • If you live on campus and pay for a meal plan, then use it. Some programs don’t restrict you from taking food to go or eating as many meals as you wish.
  • If you’re like many college students ducking into the corner coffeehouse every morning for your daily cup of Joe, then you are wasting money. An average latte, cappuccino, or mocha costs about $3.50 depending on the size you need. Seven days of that routine costs you $17.50 per week, $70 per month and around $280 per semester. That’s over $500 a year! Make your own. By the time you graduate from a four-year degree, you’ve saved over $2000 in coffee costs. Even if you buy numberswiki.com a decent coffee maker or small espresso/cappuccino machine for your dorm room or apartment, you’ll still save hundreds of dollars.
  • Oatmeal is fast, filling and affordable.
  • Peanut Butter Rocks.
  • Skip the fast food forays and late night take-out. Make sure you keep healthy, affordable options in your room or apartment. Yogurt, cottage cheese, string cheese, bagels, peanut butter are all affordable, convenient and much more healthy than a late night burger and fries.
  • Collect coupons and follow the weekly sales at the grocery store. Avoid high-end markets like Whole Foods. These are nice, but most products cost much more. Once you’re out of school and have a good job you can shop the upscale markets.
  • Kick the bottled water habit; support your local tap water and drink for free. If you’re freaked out by unfiltered water, consider buying a convenient travel-size filtered cup.

Think of the many ways you can cut costs while doing day to day budget checks. What are some of your favorite tips for saving money on food?

 

Source:
“118 Ways to Save Money in College” College Scholarships. 04 Dec 2013 <http://www.collegescholarships.org/student-living/save-money.htm>.

4 Ways to Save Money in College

Turn your pennies into dollars without touching a single package of Ramen Noodles®.

Make a budget and stick to it

Determine what you need to cover the necessities – rent, education expenses, loans, etc.  Create a budget.  Even a simple budget can help you avoid overspending on a night out when you needed money for a new textbook.

Consider cheap text book options

Did you know you can rent textbooks? Rent a book for as long as you need it and return it when you are done. Check out sites like BookRenter, TextBooks.com, eCampus and CampusBooks. Selling your used textbooks is a great option too. It never hurts to get a little bit of cash back to put toward your next semester.

Different living options

Sometimes room and board can be more expensive than tuition.  So how can you try and lower the cost if you need a place to stay? If you work as a Resident Advisor (RA) you can get significantly reduced costs on room and board and in some cases RA’s rooms are free. If you’re rarely near your own room, look into dorms with fewer amenities.  Even though staying on campus may be a bit pricey, it is nothing compared to staying off site. Yes, you may have a cheaper rent, but when you add utilities, internet, transportation, etc., it can actually be more expensive.

Use your student ID for discounts… EVERYWHERE

Make the most of your student status; take advantage of your student discounts. Save on electronics, enjoy discounts for clothing/shoes, movies, printer ink, fast food/pizza, gym memberships and even traveling.

If you put all of the money you saved into your savings account and didn’t touch it, how much do you think you could really save in a month or even a year? I challenge you to put that money away and see what you can reward yourself with at the end of a month or even a year.

Next week, “Making the Cut: Groceries on the College Budget.”

 

Source:
“24 Ways to Save Money in College” shmoop. College 101. 04 Dec 2013 <http://www.shmoop.com/college/save-money-in-college.html>.

The Art of Budgeting

Are you dreaming of a Spring break getaway but worried you can’t afford to do more than watch TV in your parent’s basement?
Avoid the temptation to foot the bill with your credit card.
Start planning and saving today with this easy Budget Worksheet. Simply track your spending and see exactly where your money is going.

Are you dreaming of a Spring break getaway but worried you can’t afford to do more than watch TV in your parent’s basement?

Avoid the temptation to foot the bill with your credit card.

Start planning and saving today with this easy Budget Worksheet.  Simply track your spending and see exactly where your money is going.

When everything is right in front of you, it is easier to see where you can cut expenses so you can do more of the things you enjoy.

Budget-Sheet

If you’re like most college students you likely spend about:

40% on housing
20% on debt repayment and savings,
15% on food,
10% on transportation,
10% on clothing and entertainment
5% on car insurance and personal expenses

Even a little adds up quickly. Cut trips to the coffee shop, consider store-brand choices at the grocery store and ask yourself if you really need one more pair of shoes – it’s habits like this that make the difference between two days in Ocean City or a week in Cancun.

 

 

Take your budget to the next level

Set up goals for yourself in a program like Apple’s FinanceWorks™. It is so easy to use and is already linked up with your Apple FCU Account. Login to NetBranch Online Banking to review your spending trends and set up budget goals. Even if you have to pass on a trip this year, at least you can start budgeting for something amazing next year.

Come back to read “4 Ways to Save Money in College.”