Life is good, but it isn’t cheap—especially if you’re in school. There’s tuition, books, supplies, and living expenses to consider. That’s why it’s so important to reconsider how you spend your money. This is especially true when money’s tight. After all, the only way to save more is to spend less. Fortunately, we’ve got a few ideas to make it easier.
Don’t spend money on:
1. Store bought coffee
Coffee is practically a morning ritual, isn’t it? But that doesn’t mean you need to spend $3 per cup at an overpriced café. Why not brew a cup at home for a fraction of the cost? Depending on your coffee intake, doing so could save you $600 per year! Check it out:
Buying coffee: $3 per cup x 5 days = $15 per week x 4 = $60 per month x 12 = $720 per year
Making coffee at home: $8 per 12oz bag = ~34 cups (6 weeks of coffee) x 9 = $72 per year
2. Bottled water
Bottled water, under most circumstances, is a total waste of cash. You’re paying for what should be free. Hit the drinking fountain instead. Or if you’re keen on filtered water, bring it from home. Over time, you’ll be surprised how much money you’ll save.
3. Sit down restaurants
Sure, there’s nothing better than a great meal. But great meals in nice restaurants don’t come cheap. Instead, take your money to a grocery store. Every dollar will go much further. Consider it an opportunity to learn how to cook! If you already know how to cook, consider it a chance to practice your craft. Whip up some great meals at home!
4. Fast food
Like store bought coffee, fast food seems like a small expense. But the cost adds up faster than you think! A lunch here, a lunch there. The convenience, after all, is appealing, but your wallet will empty quickly. Skip fast food in favor of a packed lunch.
5. New books
While we’d never suggest foregoing books entirely, new books are an unnecessary luxury. Score the same books for less money by buying them used. ValoreBooks makes it easy to find the books you want at prices you can actually afford.
6. Cable TV
There’s a reason why cable TV is going the way of the dinosaur: it’s overpriced and inconvenient. With subscription services like Hulu and Netflix, you get way more TV for way less money. Better yet, you can share your streaming accounts with your friends. Split the cost to save even more money!
7. Movie tickets
Sure, there’s something special about seeing a movie on the big screen. But ticket prices—especially for 3D or IMAX movies—are out of control. Add to that the price of popcorn, candy, and drinks and you’ve got yourself a surprisingly expensive few hours. Better to wait for the movie to be released for streaming online. For a fraction of the price, you can watch the movie from the comfort of your own home.
8. Brand name products
Whether you’re shopping for clothes, food, household supplies, or personal hygiene products, buying brand name is a bad choice. You’re mostly just paying for the label. Buying generic will, more often than not, give you a similar quality product without the hike in price.
While you can’t avoid paying for utilities entirely, you can avoid paying a lot for gas and electricity by eliminating waste. When it’s hot, don’t just crank the A/C; when it’s cold, don’t just crank the heating. Use them when necessary, of course. But reduce your usage by finding other ways to heat up or cool down. For example, get an oscillating fan or a warm blanket and flannel pajamas. Also, don’t let utilities run when you’re not home!
10. Lottery tickets
While playing the lottery may be fun, it’s one of the worst ways to spend your money. The chance of winning is immeasurably small. In that way, playing the lottery is more like throwing your money away.