How to stay on a budget and save money as a college student

Michael Rooney
Staff Writer

Terrible spending habits can have a large impact on your bank account. By the time you arrive on campus, the concern of not having enough money to pay bills and feed yourself can rise. However, by being smart about managing your budget, you can end up having some extra pocket money.

Before the semester begins, you should set up a checking account with a bank that has benefits for students. These might include: no monthly fees, no minimum balance requirement, and a free first order of checks.  

The most stressful thing to shop for in preparation for a new semester are textbooks. Before spending a single cent on a textbook, it is important to do your research. Find out what textbooks you can rent or buy in used condition and see if there are any upperclassmen selling their old books.

When shopping or dining out, it is a smart idea to go to places surrounding campus. Many companies surrounding campus accept flex dollars and even offer student discounts which will help you save money.

If you are allowed use your laptop or tablet to take notes in class, then don’t bother buying notebooks. Not only will using your device save you money, but using your device instead of handwriting to take notes may be easier.

Another common issue in budgeting involves dining dollars. The gold meal plan is highly recommended, but it is important to choose the plan that suits you. If you do not dine at the dining halls as often as other people, a cheaper plan will save you a lot of money off of your tuition bill.

No matter what plan you end up choosing, you must be wise with your dining dollars and meal swipes. Recently, a meal plan usage guide was released with a sample breakdown of the best way to use your meal plan throughout the semester, so it would be a great idea to follow that.

It is better to use the Thorburg Fitness Center on campus instead of going to another fitness center in town as you would be avoiding expensive monthly fees. Besides, the Thorburg Fitness Center is very well maintained and has an amazing variety of machines and stations.

I would definitely advise students at BSU to take advantage of the events that the Program Council and “BSU Weekends” have to offer for free or at a very small price. This past weekend, I attended a Red Sox game and the Big E Fair in West Springfield with an organized group from BSU, and I certainly spent less than I would have if I did not go with the school.

Lastly, becoming a Resident Advisor has a lot of benefits. Not only will becoming a Resident Advisor earn you money and help build a strong resume, but you will also be granted a reduced housing bill.

As long as you take advantage of student discounts and benefits, shop for your necessities first, use your meal plan wisely, use the campus fitness center, and attend school events, you could have hundreds of dollars saved by the end of the semester.

Believe it or not, managing your money poorly adds up. It doesn’t matter how often you work or how much you spend shopping on things you only want. The importance of spending wisely will be much more critical when you enter the real world after college.

Michael Rooney is a Staff Writer for The Comment.

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