Budgeting-Conquering College Costs

Some costs are inevitable in college: tuition, books, rent, food, and, in many cases, coffee (yes that is an inevitable cost for me). Since flexing on books, rent or tuition prices isn’t really possible, I figured I’d help out with some ideas on how to save money on food and coffee.

"Food glorious food!"

Just like in the famous Broadway musical, Oliver!, college kids find themselves thinking this exact same thing when they get a free or home cooked meal. It's not easy figuring out your grocery expenses in college, but if you manage them wisely and plan ahead, you can succeed!

Figuring out what groceries to buy that are healthy and inexpensive is a challenge for sure. If you buy organic and decide to take the healthier route, you end up paying for it…literally. I love organic food, but it does take a lot out of your paycheck. So I suggest buying both regular and organic food in moderation. This will be kinder to your health and your wallet! With that said, when going to the grocery store, set yourself a budget. Having that budget in mind will help keep you from buying unnecessary things. Also, since you are working with a budget, it’s important to plan meals that will fit that budget. So make your meal plans for the week before you even step foot in the grocery store. The whole trip will be shorter too!

Now, let me tell ya, I love to go out to eat. It's one of my favorite social settings. It's also nice because you don't have to cook. The goal is to find a happy medium between the two so you balance your fun, health and budget equally. For example, this last year I lived in a sorority which provided two meals a day on weekdays. The other nights were a fend-for-yourself sort of deal. Figuring out how to feed myself on the weekends without burning a hole in my pocket was difficult. I suggest limiting yourself to eating out just twice a week. That way, you use the rest of whatever’s in your kitchen before moving onto something else. Once you do choose to eat out, don’t forget that if you have a Visa Rewards ScoreCard, each purchase will rack up points that you can use for airfare, hotel stays, merchandise, etc. If you don’t have a Visa Rewards ScoreCard, check out our website to find out its awesome benefits: http://bit.ly/1q9aiu5

Now, normally my dad is known as the "charts guy", but here I find it relevant! I came across these charts online that I think show an average estimate of how much money is spent on food per month for one person. However, I also think you can easily get by on $200-$250 per month instead.

Now let me tell ya, coffee is an entirely separate ordeal. Coffee expenses are killer. If you drink coffee, you got it bad.

It is the best drink in the world, but it is also very expensive, especially when you’re buying one every day, or even multiple times in a day (yes I know you people are out there).  So here’s my best advice on saving money if you are a chronic coffee drinker-buy a coffee machine and some syrup/powder/creamer to put in it yourself. This will not only be so much nicer to your wallet, but it will also give you satisfactory barista skills that could come in handy in the future when you become broke from drinking so much coffee. :P

Overall, the practice of balancing your “going out” expenses, your “staying in” expenses and your coffee expenses is the key to saving money in college and having fun all at the same time.

For more information on how to save money, click here: http://bit.ly/UcMKJM

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