College costs aren’t what they used to be, and students in college need to do whatever they can to save money when they’re enrolled in school. Nationwide Bank did a study on the spending habits of college students, and the average student needs to budget very carefully if they want to be able to afford everything they need. Twenty-six percent of a student’s budget goes towards room and board, and 19% goes towards tuition and associated fees. A whopping 40% goes towards discretionary costs for technology, entertainment, clothing, and cosmetics.
When a significant portion of your budget is devoted to having a good time, you may need to re-think your spending habits. The way you spend money now is going to affect the way you spend in the future, so you should start learning how to spend wisely when you’re still in school. If you want to learn how to properly budget and still enjoy your free time, make sure that you follow these spending tips.
Learn to love happy hour
Do you want to be able to go out and have a good time, but still be able to save some money? Instead of waiting until 10pm to go out, start to schedule your time out between 4pm and 7pm. Happy hour and after work specials can help you save money on food and drinks. Local restaurants and large national chains love to offer discounts around the time most people are getting out of work. If you start to plan your going out time around then, you’ll be able to spend almost half as much as you usually would when it’s later out. Also, be sure to learn about the local league game nights, even if you aren’t into sports. A lot of restaurants will offer happy hour like specials when the home teams are playing so that they can bring in customers.
Utilize your campus ID
The card you use to swipe into your dorm room could open a world of deals for you. A lot of businesses like to give college students with valid IDs discounts on goods and services. Your favorite restaurant, movie theater, or retailer could give you a discount if you show your ID during checkout. Your student center should have a list of local places that give students discounts, and keeping the list handy could help you save a lot of money.
Go for generic brands
When you’re going shopping for food and toiletries, think twice before you pick up the name brand versions of your products. There is very little difference between the store brand and the name brand, it’s all of the same ingredients in a different label and box. Buying the generic brand can save you a couple of cents or even a dollar, and eventually those savings will add up.
Be careful and take care of your things
Before you write this off as a no brainer, answer a few questions. How many friends do you have that are currently using a phone with a cracked screen? Have you ever had to replace an Xbox controller because you stepped on it? Does your college bedding already have a bleach stain on it because you didn’t read the washing instructions? Your parents have probably been lecturing you since the day you were born on the importance of taking good care of your things, but they have a very good point. If you really want to save money, take better care of your things so that you aren’t constantly paying for replacements.
About the Author: Danny Johnson recently finished his undergrad in business studies. He aspires to launch his own marketing company. He enjoys snowboarding and skiing.