Whether this is your first or last year in college, one thing we all learn quickly is that college students never seem to have enough money.
Between paying for books and late-night Chinese food, we generally spend a lot more than we’re bringing in. Unfortunately, the current recession makes this carefree spending a lot less fun. Budget cuts and price increases mean that more people are saving all of their extra cash. However, saving more, especially for college students, does not have to be a burdensome task. Fortunately, there are a lot of easy ways to save money that have the added bonus of lessening your impact on the environment.
Our biggest expenses usually involve buying food. If you’re living on campus, you most likely have a meal plan, but you may not always want to eat at Daly’s. If this is the case, try buying food from a local grocery store and eating that instead of getting food delivered. Buying food in one trip will save you money and cut down on the gas that would be used by delivery services. Buying a Brita filter and a reusable water bottle are also great investments. Doing so will cut down on bottled water waste and you could save a lot each year. Reusable mugs and bags are also great because lots of stores will give you a discount for using them to cut down on plastic waste.
It also costs a lot, environmentally and financially, to constantly buy new things. From new gadgets to cleaning supplies, there are many things that don’t need to be purchased new. Buying new items means that energy is spent on transportation, manufacturing and packaging, which also makes it more expensive. If you need a new electronic device, try looking on eBay or Craigslist. You can also find some great clothes at vintage stores or even by just looking through your closet and finding things that you may have forgotten that you own. It’s even easy to avoid buying new cleaning products by making your own with baking soda, vinegar or soap.
There are also some really easy ways to save money with driving. Even if you don’t have the latest hybrid vehicle, you can still make your car more energy efficient by not skipping maintenance to prevent more expensive problems from occurring down the road. This can include keeping your tires properly inflated to improve gas mileage. You can also save on gas money by using cruise control on the highway and not driving erratically.
These tips are only some of the dozens of ways that you can reduce your impact on the environment and your wallet. It’s just a matter of thinking through your decisions and their consequences. If you don’t really need that new iPod or pair of jeans, don’t buy them. Ultimately, you may feel better about making that decision and saving yourself some green. So don’t worry, this doesn’t mean the end of pizza deliveries at three in the morning, maybe just less of them.
– Brenna Simonson