money in your 20sWhen I was in college, learning how to get by on a little bit of money took some getting used to. By my senior year, it was much easier than my freshmen year. All along the way, I learned tips and tricks to stretch my limited amount of dollars. Here are four tips that I used that helped me to keep my spending in check.

Eat at the Cafeteria

For my first two years in college I had a dinning plan. I had no way of getting to a grocery store, so it was either eat at the cafeteria or call for a pizza to be delivered. Since I could get much more food from the dining hall than a pizza for the same amount of money, I chose to eat there. But I didn’t just eat there. I made sure to treat my meals in the dining hall like a Thanksgiving Day feast! By making sure I filled up there, I reduced the chances of being hungry later and ordering a pizza.

I never took food from the dining hall, I just ate a lot of food while I was there. Make sure you do the same. For most freshmen, the dining hall option is included with your tuition. Since you paid for it, you might as well eat there. After all, the college won’t refund you the money.

Flash You ID Card Everywhere

Many places offer discounts for college students. All you have to do is show your college ID. I regularly received a reduced price to movies, both during the school year and during summer breaks with my ID card. By not showing it, you are giving away your hard earned money.

I also used my college ID card for discounted gym memberships over the summer and for discounted concert tickets. If in doubt, ask for a college discount. You will be surprised how many places will give you a discount.

Skip The Cable

Cable is expensive. While others in my dorm were paying for cable TV, I skipped it and watched cable for free. How did I do this? Each floor in my dorm had a common area with a TV that had cable. There was also another TV with cable when you first walk into the dorm. There was always a TV that no one was watching in the dorm. I would just go and find a TV and start watching. In the rare event that all of the TVs were I use, I would head to the building with the bookstore to watch TV. There was a small restaurant there that closed early, but had a big screen TV. At night, the dining area was empty, so I could sit there and watch TV on the big screen.

Car Pool

By my junior year, I had a car on campus. Since I was the only one of my friends that had a car, I was the chauffeur for everyone. I worked out deals with my roommates and friends for driving them around. For my roommates, we would split the grocery bill up four ways, but then they each contributed $5 more than me to cover the gas expenses.

For my friends that weren’t roommates, they either just paid me a few dollars for gas or they would buy the pizza if we were up late at night studying.

Final Thoughts

There are many ways to save money while in college. These are just four of the ways I was able to spend. As I mentioned before, at first finding how to survive college financially took some work, but we tend to adapt fairly quickly and by the time I was a senior, I was able to find many ways to save money.

Readers, what are ways you saved money while in college?