Many college students harness a sense of independence when they’re dorming. Living alone or with roommates, and with minimal interference from their parents, can give a student a newfound sense of freedom.
However, the life of a dormer isn’t always easy, as it also comes with a lot of responsibilities. As a dormer, not only do you have to keep your grades up. You also have to budget your allowance wisely, or else you risk having no more money as early as in the middle of the week.
Fortunately, you can use the following money-saving tips to help make your dorm and college life both easier and much more enjoyable:
Buy Second-Hand Furniture
Not all dorms offer fully furnished rooms. If your room comes with little to no furniture, you’ll need some to make it homier and more comfortable. However, buying things brand new is expensive and can seriously put a dent in your family’s budget. Fortunately, there’s the option of buying second-hand furniture like a second hand sofa to help you cut down on costs.
Quality pre-loved items are sold at a lower price than their brand-new counterparts, but can still look and function like the latter. It’s also easy to search for and purchase second-hand furniture these days, since many sellers actively post their wares on online markets.
To get the most out of your second-hand furniture, you’ll need to make sure that it’s in good shape. When you’ve found an item you like, review the online seller’s profile and read customer reviews to see if the seller can be trusted. You should also take the opportunity to inspect the item in person so that you can see for yourself whether it’s in good condition.
Refrain From Buying Brand-New Books
Books are essential to your education, and some of your professors might require you to buy specific books for their subjects. University books, however, rarely come cheap, and your initial budget for books can rack up if you need to buy one for each of your subjects. Thankfully, there are several cost-effective solutions you can pursue for your readings.
Photocopying the most important pages of the book is a great way to save money. It’s highly unlikely that your professor will use the entire text, and many will only ask you to read certain chapters for your lessons. You can borrow a book from your classmate, from an upperclassman, or from your school library and have specific pages photocopied. The price of having your books photocopied varies per shop, but most shops that operate near universities make sure to offer student-friendly prices.
You can also purchase pre-loved books from alumni. Pre-loved textbooks are cheaper than brand-new ones and are often well-taken care of. Plus, you might get lucky and purchase pre-owned textbooks that come with helpful notes.
Have Your Uniforms Made
If your university requires you to wear uniforms, don’t buy a set from your college just yet. You can always find cheaper options, like having your uniforms made outside the university. Buying the fabric for your uniform and having a seamster or seamstress make it for you might take longer, but in most occasions, you will get to save more. It’s also the better alternative if your university doesn’t have a uniform that comes readily in your size.
Before you get a uniform made, make sure that your measurements are correct and that the uniform’s specifics, like the school logo and your name patch, are done properly. It’s also best to order your uniforms from someone who has experience making them for your college. Ask your classmates or alumni from your college for trustworthy referrals.
Cook Your Own Food
It is not always a given that you can cook in your dorm. But if your dorm does give you the thumbs up to cook your own food, don’t hesitate to use that to your advantage.
Cooking your own food is more affordable than eating at food stalls and ordering food every day. This is because you’ll be in control of the ingredients you’ll buy, so you’ll know exactly how much money you need to budget your expenses better. You can also prep your food in bulk and ahead of time, which will reduce the amount of time you need to shop for meals.
Do Your Own Laundry as Often as Possible
It may be tempting to have your laundry done at a laundromat, but if you’re trying to save money, it’s better to wash your own clothes. Laundromats will charge you per kilogram of your laundry’s weight or for using their machines, which can quickly get expensive.
When you wash your own clothes, however, all you have to worry about is the price of the laundry detergent you’ll use. You can opt to go to the laundromat only when you want to wash clothes that require special care. This will be cheaper than having every piece of laundry done there.
Make Use of Student Discounts
Student discounts aren’t only limited to public transportation. You can find internet cafés and mom-and-pop stores near your dorm or university that offer student discounts too. Student discounts will help you tremendously when trying to save money, so make use of them as much as you can.
Keep tabs on your favorite brands, or ask fellow students about the discounts that have been keeping them afloat lately. Don’t forget to show your university ID when asking for a discount at a store or kiosk.
Living the dorm life may be freeing, but your freedom comes with a price. As a dormer, you’ll be facing a lot of situations that can affect your finances. This will compel you to do some “adulting,” like adjusting your budget and rethinking some of your lifestyle choices.
Making sure that you have enough money for your day-to-day needs will be tough. However, with these tips to guide you, you may have a little less trouble saving money throughout your college years and having a blast throughout the entire experience.