What do most students do in the morning? They roll out of bed half-asleep, put some clothes on, grab their backpacks, and go to classes through Starbucks. After all, you need to wake up somehow, and coffee sounds glorious. Also, $3 per day is not a disaster. I agree. But what about $90 a month, $270 a term, and $810 every academic year? Uh-oh… You didn’t think it was that much, did you? A lot of times, wasting money in college is more about the little impromptu expenses than one large purchase putting you over the edge.
15 Ways You’re Wasting Money in College
Let’s check how much more money you’re wasting this year, shall we?
Time to buy textbooks!
Being a student, especially a freshman, you seldom plan your expenses. You start your classes, receive a list of the necessary textbooks and head to your college bookstore where you spend a few hundred to $1,000 a year. You pay the full price of each book when, in fact, you could avoid getting ripped off by taking advantage of the library, renting course books or buying them before the academic year begins. Remember, there are many ways to find cheap textbooks for less!
Should you eat fast food?
Like other students, you’ve lectures to attend, essays to write, books to read and tests to pass. There is no time for cooking. So, you eat on the go. After all, fast-food restaurants are everywhere, and the food is delicious and cheap. Why not eat there? Why not, indeed? According to a recent study, a college student spends an average of $71 on fast-food per month which adds up to $850 a year. Thus, although a single meal doesn’t cost much, you do leave a tremendous amount of money in fast-food restaurants every year without realizing it. Also, you eat 5,000 more calories than you should. That’s 1.5 additional pounds per month. Are there no cheap, healthy and easy to prepare meals you could make every day? Fast food seems cheap at first, but every burger adds up!
Do you have 10 bucks?
Plautus, a Roman playwright, said that the money you lend your friend is the money you lose. When you ask for it back, you might make an enemy of your friend. If you press further, you must either accept the fact that you lost that money or lose both the money and your friend. Is it worth it? Loans mean fewer dollars in your pocket and more conflicts with your friends. So, never borrow any money, never lend it, thus, be happier and wealthier.
Let’s have a smoke!
You’ve heard that smoking kills, but, who would care, right? You’re young; you’ve many years ahead. You’ll worry when the time comes. Good for you! But aside form the classic “it’s bad for you” debate, what about the financial costs of smoking? Have you thought about that? A package of Marlboro can cost $13 in some cities. If you smoke the whole packet of cigarettes a day, you spend $401 per month and $4,836 a year. Now, tell me, what can you buy for almost $5,000 instead of cigarettes? Like maybe a down payment for a car? So, isn’t it about time to quit smoking?
Going grocery shopping when you’re wolfishly hungry is not a good idea. Think about it. Last time, when you were hungry and went to a supermarket, how many additional items did you buy? Two snacks instead of one, chocolate, some cookies? When you shop while hungry, you are not only buying more but also less healthy and nutritious food. So, don’t waste money and damage your health. Do shopping after lunch!
I’m thirsty! I’d drink some Pepsi…
Being a busy student, you don’t have time to shop during classes, so when you’re thirsty, you buy fizzy drinks from vending machines. They’re on-campus, close and convenient. $2 per a can of Pepsi (12 fl oz) is acceptable. But, what about $62 per month, $186 per term and $558 per academic year? Compare to $2 per a bottle of water that is four times bigger than a can of Pepsi. How much money will you spare? A lot. You’ll also get healthier.
How much do I pay?
That is not the question you should ask. The right question is, “Do you have discounts for students?” You waste a lot of money when you don’t use student discounts in shops and restaurants. Many places offer cheaper food or items for college students to encourage them to come. So, use those discounts and save some dollars. And remember, always carry your student ID. And, you can even look online beforehand to see the vast array of your favorite stores and chains that have great student discount options. Remember, eventually you will have to repay student loans, so use those discounts when you can, while you can.
What a cute cover! I want this notebook!
Men don’t care what covers their notebooks have, but women on the other hand… Girls like colorful, adorable pictures on their notebook covers. After all, you go to college only once, so why not to buy the best supplies? Well, the best supplies are very costly and not any better than ordinary school items. Thus, you waste additional dollars without reason. Plus, mind you, you pay for the brand, not the quality. There are stores, like 123 dollar stores, where you can buy cheap products that will serve you for months. Looks aren’t always everything! Save that moolah for something more worth it than stationary.
I need some emotional support…
Many campuses offer pet-friendly dormitories for students. As it occurs, happiness means a puppy, rabbit and other cute animals. Stroking that fluffy fur is relaxing and calming down, but it also costs. Pet ownership is a financial commitment. There are medical costs, grooming costs, food costs and equipment costs. Look how much money you’re wasting – hundreds of dollars when, in fact, you should be saving. Pets can be a consolation, but they also empty your bank account. It’s probably better for both you and any potential pets to wait until you are financially stable. If you’re really serious about getting a fur baby, seriously consider the real cost of pets and whether it’s a feasible idea.
I don’t want a roommate.
Right, you’ve heard that having a roommate has some disadvantages, so you hired an apartment outside of campus and live alone. Sounds terrific, but how much money are you wasting on the rent? $7000 per term is a fortune. Splitting it in half would help your finances a lot. If you’re worried about having a difficult roommate, remember, there are ways to deal with all types of roommates. Even the worst ones.
It’s Friday night! Let’s have some fun!
Movies, traveling, parties. It’s money thrown down the drain. You spend a fortune on hitting the town on the weekends when you could have fun with your friends at home or take advantage of entertainment provided by your campus. Often, you’ll be able to see recent movies for free. What for, then, are you wasting that extra money on per week?
Will you give me a ride?
Everybody knows how public transportation looks like in the USA. It’s poor, the stops are rare and not well-connected. Thus, a car is often a must-have. However, driving your friends around who don’t have cars is not something you must do. It’s kind of you to do so, but it’s also a waste of money. This way you pay for gas twice as much as you should. If you do decide to give your friends rides, consider asking them to chip in. Or, even better, get a side gig with a driving company like Uber or Lyft.
Tomorrow, I’m going to the gym.
Really? Are you? You signed up for the gym half a year ago and visited it 2-3 times? You had no time, I understand. But, let’s check the costs. The average gym membership costs up to $50 per month, but with the initiation fee, you’ll pay $800 per year. So, let’s say you went to the gym 2 times. Was it worth the money? Probably not. If you aren’t a sportsman who needs to go to the gym every two days, you waste your money on an unnecessary membership. Also, there are other alternatives to the gym if you want to stay fit, like running. Consider it.
I don’t feel like going to classes…
I understand you. I was a student once. Sometimes I also didn’t feel like going to classes. But, consider this, missed classes will add up. An average student wastes $25,000 in 4 years for skipping classes. So, maybe you’ll reconsider and decide not to waste your tuition?
The game’s today. Let’s bet!
Sports betting is a trend that gets more and more popular among college students. Online casinos are places where you can earn a bit, but more often, lose a lot. Spending $80 a month on gambling is fun, but it doesn’t pay back and many students get addicted. If you do get addicted, you could find yourself in a pile of consumer debt. So, instead of earning money, you’re wasting it. Wouldn’t it be more profitable to tutor younger students or work in a library?
Wrapping it up
There are many ways students are wasting money in college. To make sure you’re not wasting yours, remember:
- Plan ahead,
- Don’t make rash decisions, and…
- Be a conscious shopper!
Future you will thank you for all of the smart spending decisions!
Author Bio: Emily Johnson is a blogger and a content strategist at omnipapers.com. She is also a contributor to many websites about career advice, productivity, work issues, blogging and writing. You can always find more works of hers on Twitter.