Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Don’t Want To Move Back In With the ‘Rents After College? Tips for Saving Money in College

 Written By Lauren Lind

The words rang in my ears. “As of September 2014, you are cut off.” I have been extremely fortunate to have parents who have helped support me for the past 21 years. I have worked at various jobs for the past 5 years and learned the value of having money to spend, yet should have saved more than I did. Now with graduation approaching and not a lot in savings, I am left with no other option other than being financially aware and responsible. The thought of moving back in with my parents after college seems kind of nice at first, with no rent and free food, but ultimately I know that I will not be happy living back home for an extended period of time. I want to be independent and able to support myself using the skills I have acquired these past four years living away from home. I am currently doing these things to save money and I hope they will help you too!

Make a budget. Plan out the amount you make every month and factor in different expenses on a spreadsheet.
Be aware of what you are spending. It’s easy to make a budget and then never look at it again. The site mint.com does a fantastic job of keeping you updated on what you have spent every week.
Buy groceries and cook. You’ll save an exponential amount of cash by not eating out. Maybe set a limit to one meal out a week or factor eating out money in your budget.
Leftovers are lifesavers. Freeze meals after cooking if you have leftovers and that way you already have meals for another day.
Snack time munchies are key. One day a week, prepare healthy snacks and keep them in your bag so you aren’t tempted to buy expensive food in between meals.
Use coupons. You’d be surprised at the deals you can get.
Seek alternative transportation and save on gas. This is especially easy living in Boulder where the bus, your bike or your feet can take you nearly anywhere.
Free = Fun. Be creative with your free time and do activities that will not cost you a fortune.
Leave the cards at home. This has proven to be very successful for me because it stops me from making impulse purchases.
Don’t waste energy in your apartment. Turn off lights, unplug items when not in use, wash dishes by hand, only do full loads of laundry and do your best to conserve.
Skip your morning coffee run. Make your own coffee and save $4 a day and over $100 a month.
Cut out vices. Whether it’s smoking or tanning, remember that you can save that money and be able to afford more in the future.
Rent your textbooks. In my experience I have found this to be the cheapest option.
Sell what you do not use on Ebay or Craigslist. I have made some nice pocket cash by selling desks or clothes I don’t need anymore.

I have been saving money this semester and feel better about my financial stability because of these tools. I hope they will help you too, to not end up back home or couch surfing. Best of luck!

Hat tip: Elizabeth Hoyt with fastweb.com,  and John Fuller with howstuffworks.com