by Abigail Reitz

Broke? Welcome to college life, where students are always looking for ways to save money. There is hardly a time in life when one is poorer. Here are some tips and tricks to keep a paycheck from disappearing too quickly.

The first tip is to avoid doing expensive activities. This seems obvious but can be hard to follow through with. “Find free things, whether on campus or in the community, to do with friends,” said Emily Schrag, junior violin and vocal performance major. “There are a lot of expensive things to do, but take advantage of the free things.” Campus events are a great way to have fun without breaking the bank. The Como Zoo, Minneapolis Institute of Art, Mall of America, Sculpture Garden, Stone Arch Bridge, and Minnehaha Falls are all fun ways to spend an evening. Best of all, not one of these activities costs a cent.

Not all money a student spends during the year is off campus however. Managing a meal plan can be difficult. “Don’t eat at the Eagles’ Nest every day and avoid eating too much on the weekends. That will kill you,” said Andrew Fedge, sophomore elementary education major. “Buy food and make it in your room.” One can take advantage of the kitchens that Northwestern provides by making food that is nutritious and cost-effective. Rice and pasta are cheap and healthy foods that can be switched up to allow for different meals through variations in sauces, spices, and sides. Keeping simple, wholesome foods around makes it easy to throw some things together last minute to create a meal.

Relationships can also be an unnoticed drain on one’s bank account. “Don’t date! Then you won’t have to buy your significant other food,” said Fedge. Relationships can be amazing and well worth the time but they definitely require time and money. This is something to take into account when pursuing that special someone.

“Spend a third or a fourth of your paycheck and put the rest in savings,” said Payton Bowdry, sophomore youth ministry major. It is important to set aside money to save or it will disappear. Saving requires great determination, but the reward is great. Learning how to save and creating a savings account for oneself is an important step to becoming an adult.

Limit online shopping. This may not be a problem for some people but for others it is a major issue. When one is stuck on campus without access to a store it can become easy to aimlessly go through stores online until you find that your cart is filled and your total at checkout is way over your spending budget. “Be smart about your spending,” said Sarah Bengtson, junior public relations major. “If you don’t need it, don’t get it.”

The final tip to saving money is thrifting. Finding clothes and other items at a thrift store results in the prices being only a fraction of their normal cost. “When you’re thrifting and you find the perfect thing it’s an amazing feeling! It’s like a treasure hunt,” said freshman psychology major Olivia Kralovetz. “One time I got eight things for six bucks! People compliment me on them all of the time.” Thrifting can be a life-saver to many college students. Some great places to check out near campus are Plato’s Closet, Goodwill, the Goodwill Outlet, and Savers.

Money is something that people will always have to deal with so it is smart to start learning early what being fiscally responsible means. Even for those who consider themselves financially smart, there are always new tricks about saving money to learn.

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