Small ways to save money

Lauren Miller

Let’s face it… we all have a hard time with money. Whether you’re a freshman or senior, being able to utilize small ways to save up your hard-earned cash is a necessity! Here are some small ways that can help you save throughout the week.

1. “Mint”

“Mint” is an app that enables you to track your spending and expenses. It links right to your bank account and tracks how much money you earn, how much money you spend,  and what you spend it on. It helps you manage your money and looks out for ways you can save on a day-to-day basis. You can get a free credit score along the way! Utilizing this app doesn’t initially help you save, but it will save you time and money in the long run.

2. Buy generic brands

The difference between brand-name and generic milk is minuscule. Saving that extra dollar or so on soap, cough medicine, cereal, and plenty other essentials really adds up! Some things just aren’t the same off-brand, but try to buy generic whenever possible.

3. Eat out less

If you have a dining plan, utilize your dining dollars and avoid going out to eat. You save 25% when buying meals in the dining halls with your dining dollars, and 10% at convenience stores located around campus. If you don’t eat at dining halls much, buying groceries is a great alternative to eating out. You can make six sandwiches from your home for the price of one!

4. Coffee

Stop buying $3.00 cups of coffee every single day. Invest in a coffee maker, Keurig, or mix chai powder with milk for a cheaper alternative to buying coffee by the cup. Although the initial purchase is costly, you’ll be saving hundreds later on!

5. Utilize events on campus

Look for on-campus events serving free food, fun activities, and advice! You can find activities on the OSU website, posters around campus, and just walking around. Be on the lookout! Many organizations hand out free granola bars, notebooks, and other useful items to students on campus, so don’t be afraid to take one!

6. Find low-expense activities

Eating out with friends is fun, but the expenses can stack up. Try to find low-expense activities that you can enjoy. Going on a hike, participating in a club, or having a movie night with friends is a great way to save money while still enjoying your college experience.

7. Don’t get that stamp card

Although it seems counterproductive, stamp cards encourage you to go back and buy more of a product. If you didn’t have the stamp card, there would be less incentive to go out and spend money on something you could make at home. Next time a barista offers you a stamp card, say no thanks. Your wallet will be thanking you later!

8. Use coupons

Taking the time out of your day to research coupons for your shopping trips can be time-consuming, but adding up these coupons can help you save a lot of money. Saving five dollars on a trip to the grocery store adds up over the school year! Websites like coupons.com, groupon.com, and thekrazycouponlady.com are popular coupon distributors that can help out your bank account on your next purchase. You can also use joinhoney.com and add an extension to your browser that will scour the world wide web for online coupons for whatever you’re buying.

9. Make a budget and stick to it

This last piece of advice is what many people set out to do, but never stick to it. Being able to set a reasonable budget each month with a tiny bit of wiggle room helps. Try planning out your expenses by category: food, toiletries, etc. Know when you will go shopping for those items, and don’t be tempted go any sooner. Going to a store multiple times for just one thing is a recipe for disaster. Write your list, limit your visits, and stick to it! That little bit of wiggle room allows you to go to that new movie or eat out once, but save that opportunity for the right moment

Whether you’re able to apply one of these things or all of them to your daily life, you’re sure to save that extra dollar. Don’t feel limited just because you can’t afford to do an activity; there’s plenty of free alternatives and help around campus. Make the most of your dollar!