Note* This is a pre-written post. I am currently in Chittagong, Bangladesh. If you’d like to follow me on this trip, go follow me on Instagram @triasha_c
Growing up, I was always good with money. My parents didn’t let me have a job in high school. I also didn’t have an allowance, so all the money I had saved by my Senior Year of high school was either Eid or Birthday money. I had saved $1000 by the time I had graduated, and it would’ve been more if I didn’t have a life, and didn’t get a ticket for driving past a school bus like a stupid person. (In my defense, it was on the other side of the road in front of one of those houses that’s next to the street, so I didn’t see it).
I took that frugal mindset into college. I never got into the habit of spending a lot of money because I didn’t have a lot of it, so I got really good at prioritizing. Here are 13 things I DON’T do to save money in college.
“It’s not your salary that makes you rich. It’s your spending habits.” – Charles A Jaffe
1.//I Don’t Live On Campus
I think it’s common knowledge at this point that I’m a commuter. I live at home and take the train to school every day. I live half an hour from campus, so it didn’t make sense to live in a dorm. Living in a dorm is ridiculously expensive and I didn’t want to waste that much money. It’s one of the reasons I don’t have any student loans.
There were other factors for me living at home too, but financial stability was one of them. I’ve managed to save a lot of money. I plan on moving out sometime in 2019. I considered moving next year, but I’m fine with where I am now.
2.//I Don’t Pay For Things I Can Get For Free
I used to love buying books, but I stopped once I started college. I still buy them occasionally, but I use the library to check out books most of the time. I know that Audible is super popular and I’ll probably end up using it someday because I’ve gotten really into audiobooks, but I’ve rented them from the library for the last year and a half for free. That’s a great option for college students.
I also go to my school gym regularly. Most students get a “free” gym membership. Your tuition is paying for it, so not using it is like burning money. My school gym has trainers who teach lots of workout classes. In my Freshman year, I went to four of those per week! That was such a good use of my time and I didn’t have to spend on a monthly gym membership.
As college students, we have access to so much free stuff and events. Take advantage of that.
3.//I Don’t Spend A Lot On Gas
I take the MARTA (Metro Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority) which is basically our Subway, except half the time the train is above ground. I save a lot of money on gas by doing this because the train station is literally a 15-minute drive from my house when there’s no traffic.
4.//I Don’t Eat Out Every Day
College students eat out a lot, which can get really expensive really quick. I try to bring lunch most days of the week and I have a weekly budget for eating out ($10-12/ per week), which stops me from overspending. I don’t cut eating out altogether because I enjoy it and it won’t be as acceptable for me to eat out this much in ten years, so I’m milking it while I can while not breaking bank.
5.//I Don’t Get Expensive Haircuts
The concept of having a hairdresser is foreign to me. Same with having to book appointments with them. See, I grew up in a very immigrant dominated area and there were a lot of hair salons around. We would always just show up day of and wait. If it was too crowded, we’d go to another hair salon nearby. (This is what we did on my graduation day, and my hair turned out fine).
I’ve also never gotten my hair cut by someone who speaks English as their first language. They’ve all been Hispanic, east or south Asian. The last few times I’ve gotten a haircut, I’ve either spoken Spanish or showed a picture on Pinterest while using my fingers to show how short I want the layers.
I also only get a haircut once a year, but my hair grows fast, so I cut off 6-10 inches each time. That only costs me $18 (plus tip). I have friends who pay $50 for salon visits, which is insane to me.
6.//I Don’t Go Shopping Often
I’ve never been much of a shopper. I don’t buy things I don’t need or really want. I don’t wear trendy clothes or makeup (which is very expensive by the way), so that saves me a lot of money.
7.//I Don’t Get My Nails, Face, Or Hair Done
I’ve never gotten a manicure in my life, the only time I got my hair done professionally was for my graduation, and I haven’t gotten a facial since high school (when I got huge breakouts). Those three things can get pricey if you do any of them regularly. I can do those things on my own if I need, which is a lot cheaper than having someone do it for me. I get that I would be paying for the experience, but it’s not worth it for me right now. I get it if it’s worth it for you.
8.//I Don’t Drink Alcohol And Rarely Drink Soda
I don’t see any benefit to drinking alcohol and I didn’t grow up drinking soda, so I never got into the habit of drinking it. I only drink it on special occasions or when I’m out with friends. Alcoholic beverages are just expensive (and it’s illegal for me to drink them) and soda is too, so I try not to waste too much money on that. Water is free at restaurants.
9.//I Don’t Drive A New Car
I drive the car my parents bought when I was in sixth grade (which I officially own as of last summer). I’m very lucky that my parents gave me a car when I got my liscense in high school, so I was able to save a lot of money. In the future, I still plan on buying used cars because they’re a lot cheaper and I don’t want to waste money on something that will lose value the second I buy it.
10.//I Don’t Stay In Hotels When I Travel
The last few times I’ve traveled, I’ve stayed in motels, with familiy, or crashed at a friend’s apartment. Those are great options for college students on a budget.
11.//I Don’t Use A Credit Card
I am going to get a credit card next month because I need to start building credit. I’m also very good with money and won’t spend money I don’t have using a credit card, but not getting a credit card in the beginning of college is a good idea for those who don’t use it wisely.
12.//I Don’t Put My Income Into My Checking Account
I think this is a big factor for why I’ve saved so much. I keep a certain amount of money in my checking account for necessary daily spending, but other than that, all my money goes straight into savings. Once the money is there, I can see the number in my bank account and I’m more wary about transferring money into my checking account for purchases, which stops me from spending too much money.
13.//I DON’T Spend Money Mindlessly
I’ve always been very intentional about my spending. I think a lot about my purchases what matters to me. I’m okay with living with my parents if it means I can save money for a stable future. And I’d rather spend money on a plane ticket or a Broadway show than rent right now. When I was at Disney with my friend two weeks ago, this thought popped into my head:
“I am trading the little moments for the big moments” – Me
Here’s the thing, I would love to live on my own. I would love to live walking distance from campus, have roommates, cook, meal plan, and all the things that come with being on my own, but…I have time to do that. I don’t need to do that right now. That’s for another chapter of my life. I’m not there yet. There’s no need to rush.
When I spend my money, I’m usually investing in something I will enjoy or use, which saves me a lot of money because I’m not spending mindlessly.
I hope this has inspired you to be more mindful with your spending and save more money. Until next time!
What money saving habits did you develop in college?