Advice Column, Back-to-School Series
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Smart Saving During the School Year

backtoschoolseries2015Saving during the school year can be really tricky, especially if it’s your first time out on your own and you haven’t done this before. While college is super fun, it’s also super expensive. Whether you’re blowing your cash on textbooks, art supplies (like me), or just having fun, money always seems to run out when you need it the most.

Here’s a few tips I wish I had known before I went off to school:

  1. Take good care of your possessions. It’s easy to get careless about things like this, but before you know it you are four hundred dollars poorer for laptop repairs (this may or may not have happened to me). But seriously, if you are the one that’s going to have to replace your expensive electronics, make sure you are extra careful with them!
  2. Eating out on campus with friends can be really fun, and really tempting in the middle of the school year when the cafeteria food is suddenly unappealing. While you don’t have to totally cut yourself off from doing this, it’s important to be sure to stagger when you do. Also, asking nice family members for gift cards to restaurants around campus doesn’t hurt either!
  3. Try to spend (a lot) less money while shopping! This was really hard for me at first but there are plenty of ways to get around spending a lot of money on clothes. A lot of the things I decided I really wanted went on a Christmas and/or birthday list. If there are things you absolutely need during the school year, like a raincoat or something of that nature, be sure to check out all possible options before buying. I remember I needed a sweatshirt during the winter and ended up buying a gender neutral looking one online that’s actually a men’s sweatshirt. It was cheaper than all the women’s sweatshirts, and it was on sale for under twenty dollars. Discount and thrift stores are also great options. If your shopping addiction is absolutely incurable, be sure to sign up for stores’ email lists to get lots of good deals!
  4. Beware the vending machine. I know I spent way too much money during my frequent all nighters purchasing overpriced caffeinated beverages.
  5. Make sure when you lend someone money they actually pay you back. It’s awkward to approach, but otherwise you could lose a significant amount of money.

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