How to Enjoy College Without Breaking the Bank
As a college student money can be tight. It is hard balancing between gas, books and outings with friends. You do not want your college experience to be limited because of your budget, but here are some tips on how to enjoy college without breaking the bank.
Bank of America offers tips for students who are budgeting their money for the first time.
“Typically, [as a college student] you receive money in large chunks… and then you need to make it last for several months,” Bank of America explained in their tips for a ‘College Student Budget.’ “ If you’re managing your money for the first time, it can be tempting to spend big early on, then struggle to pay the bills later. Budgeting for college students is essential to avoid that end-of-semester crunch.”
Food is one of the main things that college students spend their money on every month. It is easy to fall in the trap of spending money on food whenever your friends want to go out to eat, you want a late night snack or when you get bored of the dining hall food. As a freshman you have a meal plan, so there is really no need to eat out. Try limiting yourself to eating out only once or twice a week.
You can also get snacks at the grocery store for your late night cravings. This will save you money and make it easier to resist ordering that late night pizza.
Coupons are a college student’s best friend and key to saving money. A couple dollars here and there really adds up. The book store gives out a coupon book every semester that can be used at stores, nail salons and restaurants all around campus and Fayetteville.
Books are another very pricey commodity in college. Sometimes a semester’s worth of books can cost over $600! A great way to spit this price in half is sharing a book with a friend who is in your class. You can split the price of the book and have a study partner for the rest of the semester.
It is also a good idea to wait until after the first day of classes to purchase your books. Some teachers will tell you that you do not need the book for that particular course or that there is a cheaper online version you can purchase.
You can purchase and resell your books on Amazon.com. You can search for your textbook by title, author or ISBN number and compare the prices of the new and used books being sold. Chegg.com is another website that you can order your textbooks from. Chegg also gives students the option to rent their textbooks at a lower price and then return them back to the company at the end of the semester.
Tickets to razorback games can also be expensive if you buy them individually. Once football, basketball and baseball season begin, you never want to have to miss out on a Razorback home game. Buying the all-access pass on ISIS for $60 will allow you to go to every Razorback home game as long as you have your student ID with you. This will save you money later on if you do decide to go to every home game through the year.
Away games are not included in the price of the all-access pass, but if you decide to go to an away game the ticket prices are very reasonable for students. What can often not be very reasonable is the price of gas to get to the away game. Try to carpool with a group of friends to away games and split the price of gas.
In addition to football games, themed parties and functions through Greek Life and campus organizations can also be a little pricey if you go out and buy a new outfit for each event. For most of these events, the crazier your outfit is and the more you comply with the theme the better. You can find outfits at thrift stores or vintage stores such as Cheap Thrills, Potter’s House or Good Will. Forever 21 also have fairly inexpensive dresses and accessories that you can dress up for a function theme.
Outings with friends can also be expensive, as dinner and a movie out can cost about $30. Luckily there are plently of things to do in Fayetteville that are free.
Devil’s Den National Park is a great place to go hiking and camping. It is located about 20 miles south of campus and is open to the public every day from sunrise to sunset.
You can also go camping overnight at Devils Den. You can rent tents, sleeping bags and any other gear you might need from the Outdoor Center at the HPER recreation center. As long as you have a valid student I.D. you can rent equipment from the first floor of the HPER building in room 102 by filling out an equipment request form.
The HPER also offers a rock climbing wall that students can enjoy for free in the recreation building.
Bank of America’s tips for college suggests to students: “Write down your expenses for the first few weeks and compare it to your college student budget. Are you eating out more than you planned? Did you have to buy new textbooks instead of used? If so, adjust your budget.”
No matter how much money you spend or save, it is always important to keep track of your money. Whether it is checking your bank account statement online every week, saving your receipts, or writing down everything you buy that week. Keeping a close watch on your budget is key to making it through college without breaking the bank.