Money Saving Tips for College Students

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Going to America on a sports scholarship is a great opportunity that allows you to compete in your sport while having your education paid for by your various scholarships. However, although most things are paid for (depending on your scholarship type and amount), there are still ways that you can spend a lot of money. Let's face it, once you leave home you are on your own without your parents there to buy you lunch, your text books or even your bed linen. You are officially on your own. Sure, your income probably comes from your parents but it is your responsibility and you have to think about how you spend the money. After your first few weeks at college, I'm sure you will agree with me that you do actually spend a lot of money while at college. From personal experience, I know that money can disappear from your bank account without you realising. Therefore, I have decided to provide you with a few tips on how to not waste your money.

The first and most important tip I am going to give to you is to do with food. Going out to eat was something that my friends and I did very often while at college. We probably went out to eat more than twice a week. Some of the reasons we went out to eat were because; the cafeteria food was horrible on a particular day, we were sick of going to the cafeteria all the time, to just socialise, or celebrate a special occasion, the cafeteria hours in the weekend were too early for dinner, we finished our tennis match late and therefore the cafeteria wasn't open. These are the main reasons we would go out to eat. Therefore, from experience, I can say that food is the biggest money consumer by far. Sure food is cheap in America, but because you end up going out to eat so much, it all eventually adds up. So, my advice to you, is to be careful of how much you go out to eat. The cafeteria is there for you and the meals are most likely paid for through your scholarship. Furthermore, although I didn't personally experience living in a house with a kitchen, I would assume that it would be the same kind of deal because you may become lazy and can't be bothered cooking all the time and just end up going out to eat.
Finally I would just like to say that I always hated spending money on food because you have nothing to show for your money- just full stomachs and perhaps a few extra pounds!

Another thing that you will spend money on is entertaining yourselves. It probably depends on your college and location, but I know that at my college, everyone went home on the weekends and there was hardly anything to do in the small city anyway. We would have to drive an hour to the nearest shopping mall, or 3 hours to the beach. However, the two things that my city did have were cinemas and bowling alleys. We actually went to the movies quite a lot because it was something to do on a Friday or Saturday night. This is also a way that I willingly spent money that I didn't need to. An alternative to going to the movies is to hire out a DVD on RedBox. I discovered that RedBox is an amazing vending machine that has the latest DVD's for you to hire. There are RedBoxes everywhere and it only costs $1 to hire a DVD for the night. This is definitely a healthy alternative for your credit card. In addition to hiring out DVD's, if your college has a student centre, then maybe you can get some friends together and go there to play some pool or table tennis.

My final tip to all students heading to college is to just, in general, be careful of what you spend your money on. Think twice before you buy a new top, or that Halloween costume, or that cocktail with dinner (alcohol is a huge money spender for those over the age of 21), or the most expensive meal on the menu. Ask yourself if you really need it. Don't get me wrong, spend all the money you want on whatever you want, but just be careful on how much you spend and how quickly you spend it. College is meant to be the best time of your life, so instead of worrying about whether you have money or not, just manage your money responsibly. 

By Mika Deane