Tips on saving money in college?

<p>Does anyone have any tips on saving money, in terms of social life and going out (not for tuition)?</p>

<p>I chose a pricy private college in an expensive city, because I got a scholarship that covers about 80% of tuition. The rest is covered by my family and some loans. Tuition isn't the problem - I feel like everyone is wealthy because it's a "rich kids school". Going out is so expensive because everyone goes bar-hopping and out to eat constantly. Even though my new friends are nice, I feel like the poor one in the group. I feel bad when people buy me expensive birthday presents because I can't give them the same kinds of things for theirs. </p>

<p>I have to retake a class over the summer that I got a D+ in (yeah I know I'm an idiot) so I'm not even working right now. This is going to sound pathetic, but yesterday after class I went to get ice cream with a friend, and they declined my card...and it only cost $3. I felt so pathetic. And then they threw it away, right in front of me... : (</p>

<p>I turn people down a lot when they ask me to go out because I just can't. And then they eventually stop asking me because why would you want to hang out with a person who always rejects you? I'm fine with just sitting in the dorm watching a DVD but these types of people just aren't and of course I want to have friends.</p>

<p>Spend less than you earn. Do you get some sort of monthly allowance or something?</p>

<p>Use Mint.com to track your finances better. Find out what you spend the most on, and cut back on it.</p>

<p>Ultimately if you're on a low fixed income then you're gonna have to finder cheaper places to eat & drink or cut back on how often you go out to eat or drink. Surely you can make friends with people who don't mind a meal at McDonald's.</p>

<p>"Do you get some sort of monthly allowance or something?" </p>

<p>You mean like a paycheck? Yeah I used to get one every 2 weeks but not right now because of my summer class (which is 5 days/week). But I'll start working again in July after class finishes.</p>

<p>"Find out what you spend the most on, and cut back on it."</p>

<p>I tracked all my finances in a little notepad for 2 weeks. I spend the most on food and I don't even eat a lot, I'm not picky, I eat like Cheerios for lunch half the time. I can't cut back much more than that...I guess I could skip meals but then I'd just be hungry and overeat later. </p>

<p>I guess you're right, I should just cut back on everything like going out. But I don't really go out a lot anyway...I should try to find cheaper places, like McDonalds. Do you know how to quote something so it appears in a separate box? I've seen some posts like that.</p>

<p>To quote: instead of writing [bracket] ... want this in a box ... [/bracket] replace 'bracket' with 'quote'</p>

<p>You didn't mention how much you spend. I also am curious about the D+. How did it happen, and will you keep your scholarship ?</p>

<p>I got a D+ because I just really screwed up in a class. It's a 2-semester weedout course. 1st semester there were 600 students, and 2nd semester there were 400 because the curve is harsh to weed out science and premed students. The material wasn't even that hard, but there's so much thrown at you so fast and the curve is terrible. 1st semester I got a D+ and 2nd semester I got a B+. My grades really tanked soph year, but I can keep my scholarship if I get at least a C in this summer class (which I will). </p>

<p>I don't spend a lot day-to-day. But when I go out with friends everyone plans the night like this usually: drinks at one place, dinner at another, then to a different bar or lounge, etc...cover charges are like $10 everywhere and then dinner is like $30 and i really can't do that, or the cab ride home (yay for the subway).</p>

<p>So then I stopped going out, because I don't even like drinking or bars a lot, but then I would sit in my dorm alone...Yeah I do other things with my friends, like movies or free events on campus, but I would end up spending a lot of time alone and people stopped inviting me places. :( I guess I could try to find some new friends but I'm a Junior, and this is the culture on campus. </p>

<p>My roommate last semester was in a similar situation (we were in low-cost housing) but she would literally sit home EVERY night and watch her Asian soap operas and I can't do that.</p>

<p>The school my son is matriculating into requires a 3.5 gpa <em>each</em> semester to keep on scholarship. A B+ is a 3.33; a D+ is a 1.33. Consider yourself fortunate, and go find a couple clubs on campus you can enjoy for free.</p>

<p>Intra-mural sports might be just the ticket.</p>

<p>
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The school my son is matriculating into requires a 3.5 gpa <em>each</em> semester to keep on scholarship. A B+ is a 3.33; a D+ is a 1.33.

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</p>

<p>A B+ is a 3.3 and D+ is a 1.3 here...my scholarship requires a 3.0 but the D+ is one of 5 grades for the semester so it was ok. Wow a 3.5 is extremely high as a minimum requirement! I hope he's not a science/engineering major because that will be awfully hard. Freshmen year I had a 3.8 GPA but thats since I only took liberal arts classes. I'm hoping for an A this summer, I can't lose that scholarship! </p>

<p>I've played intra-mural volleyball for the past 2 years...that's how I met a lot of my friends. The thing is, sports and clubs are fun during the day but Thurs/Fri/Sat night is when people really go out in college, and they don't go to the gym for volleyball unfortunately :/ Everything is so expensive here - even the McDonalds here is much more expensive than at home. Instead of dollar menu it's like a $5 menu haha. </p>

<p>Thanks for teaching me the quote box! Good luck to your son in college, he must be really smart to consistently keep his grades that high.</p>

<p>Chemistry, actually ;)
Unclear whether he is that smart or not, since he just finished HS. Though in his case discipline and priorities -- or the lack thereof -- will be the cause of failure if it happens. Which sort of brings me to your position. I cannot help but wonder a bit if more focus on classes and grades and a bit less focus on socializing might not solve both your problems.</p>

<p>I'm not suggesting that you become a hermit by any means -- just perhaps a shift to 70/30 from the current 50/50 (or perhaps 40/60?). You may also find that the more studious group have less expensive (read: alcohol) leisure pursuits. Med school was a long time ago for me, but I remember most of my socializing happening around a group of friends that would cook a meal together. </p>

<p>Good Luck!</p>

<p>p.s. I was thinking of clubs that turn into off-hour entertainment, either alone or in small groups. If your college is typical, it has an amazing variety of stuff to get into.</p>

<p>
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I cannot help but wonder a bit if more focus on classes and grades and a bit less focus on socializing might not solve both your problems.

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Look, I'm not sure where you're getting the idea that I'm some crazy party girl flunking out of college. I take like 17-18 credits of math/science classes every semester to keep up because I was undecided freshmen year and ended up picking the major with most requirements in my college, so I'm really behind. In retrospect I should've taken a gap year - everyone tells you it's ok to be Undecided freshmen year but that's NOT true for science/engineering programs with more requirements. I wasted so much time and money :/</p>

<p>The problem is when you go to college in a school full of rich kids in a large city like NY, the predominant culture is people going out and spending daddy's money on the town while never studying because daddy will get them a nice job after graduation...I'm not here to do that, the truth is I'm really just poor and I feel I can never afford to go out with anyone. When I go to free events on campus Thurs/Fri/Sat night, I feel like no one shows up because they're out actually having fun. I'm looking for advice more from current college students who go out and have social lives while not spending a lot of money...</p>

<p>See if I had gone to a state school like SUNY, I wouldn't have this problem because the cost of living is cheap there and the social life revolves more around a Greek scene on campus.</p>

<p>Learn to love rice. It's ridiculously easy to cook if you've got a stove and one of the cheapest foods around. Throw in some chicken and soy sauce and you've got yourself a good sized meal for about a dollar.</p>

<p>Please do not take my comments as personal attacks, they are not meant to be in any way. I do however wish to encourage you to do the best you can academically, because the US is a funny place: 30% flunk out of HS, 50% flunk out of college; yet the top five percent or so are <em>really</em> high achievers.</p>

<p>You have to keep within spitting distance of the top 10%, if not 5 percent; and not let yourself coast with the median. At least if you want to get into medical school, or into an excellent grad program, or have strong job prospects.</p>

<p>I'll tell you a bit more of my son's story: he is entering college as a junior, has a 3.94 college gpa, and about 2/3rds of his chem and math majors are completed. At least once a week he hears "great job so far, keep it up to succeed!". NOT "no reason to work so hard -- a 3.0 or 3.2 gpa is fine."</p>

<p>Sorry for the sermon, now back to your OP which I think is a good one. Just be aware the world is very competitive out of college, and getting more so every year.</p>

<p>the world would starve w/o rice. China would have made it out of the Great Chinese Famine with 1/3 of its people w/o rice. Got rice b*tch, got rice?</p>

<p>btw I agree w/ the comment about rice.</p>

<p>Does your college sponsor any free movie nights? There have to be some college-sponsored activities that are offered free to students. If you are in NYC, you may even be able to take advantage of some of the other colleges' free activities. You know that you are not the only young person in this situation, so you need to make it a priority to find some other people who have the same financial concerns you do, and finding the free activities where people gather is a start. Good luck.</p>

<p>Do you buy coffee? I know this might sound dumb, but you can lose a <em>lot</em> of money just buying coffee every morning instead of making it yourself (I think my friend calculaed that she was spending about $400 a year...). </p>

<p>It might be awkward, but have you ever actually talked to your friends honestly about the problem? Maybe if you explained why you didn't want to go out, they'd be more sympathetic, instead of just feeling like they've been rejected.</p>

<p>I always thought rice cookers were silly, only for Americans. Now that I have had one for two weeks, I think it is the best thing I have bought in years. Delayed cooking, keep-warm-mode, and take the cooker to the table are truly useful.</p>

<p>I spent about $120 for a Zojiroushi (sp?) which sounds extravagant, but if it saves the cost of a meal a day the savings are considerable over years.</p>

<p>LOL I'm South Asian, of course I own a rice cooker and of course I eat rice like every damn day :D And no I don't even drink coffee. Breakfast = orange juice + cheerios or granola bar :)</p>

<p>Yes I go to free events like basketball games, movie night, casino night, etc all the time. At games the bleachers are mostly empty. At casino night I'm like one of 4 people playing because no one shows up to free events...I wish my friends would come! They think this stuff is lame, they prefer to go out. I know you guys are subtly suggesting I make new friends but it's not that easy.</p>

<p>Freshmen year I commuted from home so I could take care of my mom (non-Hodgkins lymphoma) and had trouble making friends since I lived off-campus and spent so much time with my mom. Then soph year I finally made friends but they have such a different lifestyle. I love them but they're all rich and most people here are. </p>

<p>@EricLG: You must be so proud of your son, that is amazing keeping up a 3.9 in 2 difficult majors.
Let me tell you my story. I entered college with 32 AP credits so I was technically a Soph but had NO clue about major. Freshmen year I was struggling to take care of my mom while balancing my job and college. It took me forever to pick a major I wanted, and now I'm VERY behind and have to pile on all my classes at once while working a lot to pay rent/food/etc. I'm sure your son will end up in some prestigious MD/PhD program with Daddy the Doctor pushing him the whole way, but that is not me and I am not trying to be in that top 5% you described, I'm trying to get my Bachelor's degree and focus on that for now. :)</p>

<p>Join a club. Do intramural sports. I think these are two really, really good ways to meet a lot of new people.</p>

<p>You can't be spending $30+ every time you go out. It just doesn't work, and it's rarely worth it.</p>

<p>It does sound like you're in a tough situation. Hopefully you can improve it.</p>

<p>Just know that this is only 4 years of your life, and once you graduate you'll join the ranks of college grads who either make decent money in a low cost-of-living area or make decent money in a really really really high cost-of-living area (tip: the first situation is better :P)</p>

<p>I'm definitely in a similar situation as you, and some of the best advice I've heard is that "just because they're rich doesn't make you rich." I've had to explain to my friends plenty of times why I'd rather not go downtown on Thursdays (Paying for a cab just to pay for an entry fee just to pay for drinks? No thanks.); they understand, but sometimes they forget. Just remind them that you go out as you can, but can't make it as regularly as they do.</p>

<p>Also, if it's in terms of things like shopping, I allow myself to go along and buy like nail polish. That way, I still fulfill the urge to buy something... anything.., without blowing the same amount of money they are on like Michael Kors purses or something.</p>

<p>Thanks karabee! That's just the type of advice I'm looking for. Personally I don't even like shopping because I'm kind of a minimalist...or more of utilitarian really....plus I hate it when a certain friend of mine suggests shopping and then it feels like the other 3 girls are shopping and I'm window-shopping or holding one of their bags :/ I imagine a school like Vanderbilt attracts affluent students mostly</p>

<p>@lastchance: You're right, it's not worth it and I can't really afford it so I don't. I'm not having trouble meeting people though - like I said, I'm involved in a sport and in some clubs. But the girls on my volleyball team don't play volleyball on Friday nights, you know? </p>

<p>@DC - I agree the first situation is better. I think if I had gone to a college filled with more middle-class kids I would've ultimately fit in better....my college has poor financial aid so it's most rich kids or people like me on merit and need scholarships</p>