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Real Life On A Budget

6 Ways to Cut Spending in College

Have you ever asked yourself, “How do I cut back on my spending while I’m at college?” If so, just by asking this question, it sounds like you’re on the right track.

My first tip would be to change your spending habits. You would be amazed at how you can cut expenses by just taking a closer look at how you spend your money on small purchases every day.

Here are some examples:

Bottled Water: Is there a cheaper alternative to bottled water? Yeah, it’s called water from the tap. And guess what? It’s free!

Gas: On a lot of college campuses, you could probably get around easily by riding a bike or carpooling with friends. Save the car—and all the gas money—for when you plan to go home on the weekends.

Shampoo: Look, I know you need to wash your hair, but do you really need four different types of shampoo and conditioner and skin wash and body lotion and … you get the point.

Soft Drinks: Not only are they bad for your health, they’ll suck the life right out of your bank account too. It’s like death by a thousand cuts. Sure, 75 cents might not seem like that big a deal, but it adds up quickly when you’re drinking one or two (or more) soft drinks every day.

Fast Food: Sure, it’s simple, quick and fairly cheap. But that $5 per meal can add up to $25 or more a week if you aren’t careful. Fast food has a way of clogging your arteries and your cash flow at the same time.

Coffee: Are you noticing a trend here? A $4 to $5 cup of coffee should be an occasional treat, not an everyday occurrence. If you buy one $4 cup of coffee five days a week, that totals $80 a month!

Saving money and cutting back comes down to discipline. Once you’ve broken those old spending habits and started new ones, you’ll see how big a difference it makes in your bank account.


  • Kendall Reid

    Hey Starbucks fans with money saving plans! -> Califia Farms makes a great iced Double Espresso made with almond milk and a little bit of pure cane sugar. $5 for a huge bottle that will last a couple weeks! We sometimes add a little So Delicious flavored coconut creamer to vary it up and it seriously rivals my usual SB lattes… Plus it’s healthier! 🙂

  • Chris

    You really helped me understand

  • Chard

    What no one tells you is how being frugal changes your perception on things. I’m a college kid doing it debt free and working, as well a being on a budget, and honestly I’m calculating how muchndifferent rice and beans cost per pound to get the best price!

  • Vivian Grasser

    Are there any more tips? I already carry my own water in my own container, I only live a quarter mile from my school so transportation is easy. I have two big Costco bottles of shampoo and cream rinse that I refill with whatever I can get at Big Lots for a few dollars, and no I am not brand loyal, so I use whatever is available. I don’t drink soft drinks, just water, water w/lemon, water w/lime, tea, homemade cocoa w/ a little almond milk, or coffee from home. I don’t eat out except special occasions.

  • Teresa Mac

    I pack a healthy lunch everyday. Frozen bottle of water keeps everything colds and melts to drink later. Little crunchy carrots, string cheese, hard-boiled egg, a sandwich or salad in reusable container, raw almonds, & fruit… Mmmm I’m hungry just thinking about it!

  • rondavue66

    You could try the no poo method it actually works great and saves money.n Or try Dr Bonner products. They are a little pricey up front but last nforever. My son is in college and has been using a bottle over 6 monthsn and still has over 1/2 bottle left. He uses it for body wash and nshampoo.

  • lzw

    You can coupon most shampoos (and most personal items) for $1 or less. 🙂 I now refuse to buy any unless it’s $0.25 or less.