Paying for Necessities on a College Budget

Tips to save money

1. Discount cards at local groceries or supermarkets. Where I currently live, Kroger is one of our main grocery stores. Every week in the newspapers, they have their advertisement in the Sunday paper with all of their current deals. Find those deals on things that you need and use! One of the main things that will cause you to overspend during college is paying full price when two weeks ago the same items were on sale and at the time you didn't need them. Stock up while you can; go ahead and purchase two to three months of deodorant, body wash, shampoo if there is an amazing deal on things. Heck, if there is an amazing deal on ground beef or chicken, go ahead and buy 5 or 6 packages and freeze them, they save for a few months so you should have no problem using them. The only thing you have to worry about is storing it. I would strongly suggest every week going to a gas station or local newspaper stand and pick up a newspaper a week. I think for the Sunday editions around here they normally cost around $3.00. You will save more by bargain hunting and couponing which I will get to next, if all you do is look through the paper to find deals.

2. Couponing. I know everyone has watched or probably heard about TLC's extreme couponing show. It is crazy and wild but there is a reason it is called extreme. With that being said though, you can pick up a ton of great ideas from the show. Like I said with discount cards, buy a newspaper, it will save you more money in the long run than you can even imagine. In your weekly paper, take out all of the coupons, and I mean all of them, not just the ones you want or use. Pick out the things that you personally use, and I would suggest doing one of two things. Give them to your friends or family that needs those products, or find friends in college that would be willing to pay a certain amount for each coupon you give them. You are killing two birds with ones stone on the last one, you are saving money on things that you need, and earning money on things that you don't need.

If purchasing a newspaper seems to difficult for someone or you just don't want to do it that is fine. There are tons of free resources that you can use. is a great resource for beginning your couponing lifestyle but they don't offer any coupons actually on the site. They do show you however what stores in your areas are giving the best deals on products.,,, and all have free coupons that you can print out and take to the stores, but do a search for "Free Coupons," and there are tons of resources you can use. Most of them only require you to enter an e-mail address so they can send you updates, if you don't want them going to your main e-mail account, set up a new free one on

3. Buy discontinued, or clearance items. A lot of stores do their normal sales and will have a special color tag on items that are specially priced for that week. What you want to try and do is look for the deals that stores are just trying to clear out. One main area you can look for those are in the meats section. Kroger here in town does what's called "Manager's Special," on those items. They price them for about 1/4 of the cost of the normal product and they have about 2 days left until what they consider their expiration date. Buy them, cook them that night for dinner and then save your left overs for the next couple days. If you do this, this one purchase will save you between $2.00-$5.00 per week if you shop at the store only once a week, it could be more like $10.00-$15.00 if you have a store close by and can make the trip every other day or so.

4. Shop at Warehouse stores. Places like Sam's Club, Costco, or any others that are in your area. If your parents are members or a friend is a member, ask them if they will go with you once a month or once every couple months to get items that you know save you a lot of money. If you know you need to purchase a lot of something like paper towels, sports drinks, or anything you can think of, if they have a great deal on it, and you know you can't purchase it cheaper anywhere else, go ahead and buy it and save. But remember, deals at these stores may not always be deals, you need to check the prices at your local chains and your warehouse stores. Sometimes grouping coupons and in-store discount at your local grocery store will actually get you a better deal, so do you research before buying.

5. Buy Generic. I can't think of how many times I bought things that were twice the price just because of the name on the package. One thing I can distinctly remember, was shampoo. I always bought Head and Shoulders instead of buying the exact same thing in the generic package. It cost about $2.00 more for them to print "Head and Shoulders" on the label instead of "Kroger." There are so many generic products out now like cereal, baking products, and toiletry items just to name a few. The list goes on and on and most of those products are the exact same thing, some even made by the exact same producers.

I hope these tips help you because for me and right now during my life the are helping me. I hope that if you are a parent, please share these ideas with your kids, and if you are a student, please take my advice. When you have more money in your checking account or less college graduate debt, you will be so much happier at the end of the day.

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1 comment:

  1. Can we get these Discount cards? We are not the residence of this city.