College Cheapskate Do’s
We previously discussed some of the college cheapskate don’ts, because there are some things you just shouldn’t do. However, if you’re looking to be a cheapskate who functions under the label of frugal instead of cheap, these tips are for you!
Eat Food When It’s Free
You may not love your boss’s wife’s homemade hippie muffins, but they’re free, and you’re broke, so eat them. If your professor brings donuts to class, eat them. If you work in a restaurant, take full advantage of free food and discounts. If your roommate’s mom invites you over for dinner, go.
Take Some To Go
So you’re eating lunch in the dining hall, but you only get two meals a day there. If you’re not afraid of the lunch lady’s wrath, make an extra sandwich, wrap it in napkins, and take it with you. They’re charging you around $12 a meal every time you swipe your dining card, so you might as well get your money’s worth. I’d grab an apple or two as well, and an ice cream cone on my way out!
Buy A Reusable Mug
If you drink a lot of coffee or tea, you should definitely invest in a travel mug. You can find one for $3 anywhere, and for even less at the dollar store. A lot of cafes give you 50 cents to $1 off for using your own mug, so it will certainly add up. Additionally, you can fill it up at various locations that offer complimentary coffee…the bank, the study lounge, and of course, the dining hall!
Cook at Home
Sorry, but it’s much cheaper to cook at home. Even if you eat frozen broccoli and ramen noodles, it’s still better than a Big Mac and fries, both for your health and for your wallet.
Ask for Condiments
I don’t think that you should go into McDonald’s and steal ketchup. You should, however, ask for extra ketchup next time you’re there. Another option is to ask for sauces on the side whenever you’re dining out or ordering food to go. This way you can eat your leftovers or your takeout in two meals, without worrying about it getting soggy. You can also get an extra container of dressing or sauce or salt & pepper to spice up your meals without spending a dime!
UNPLUG! Unplug anything and everything, except for the fridge and the water heater, when you’re not using it. You can normally leave lamps plugged in also, but that’s about it. Everything else leeches electricity from the outlet. You know those indicator lights on electronics? Yeah, that electricity comes from somewhere. If you’re paying utilities, you should turn off your computer when you leave the house, unplug your cell charger when not in use, and even unplug the microwave for the majority of the day. You don’t really need that clock anyway. As for water, turn off the water mid-shower. You can soap, shave, and lather without water, and turn it back on to rinse.
Drink at Home
This is similar to cooking at home – in that it’s about 60% cheaper than going out – but the benefits of drinking at home extend throughout the night. You can get a buzz going in the comfort of your own home for a few bucks, then go out. This way you avoid the prices at the bar, but still enjoy the company and environment of going out. If you’re really on a bender, you can always flask it, but don’t blame me if you get caught.