College is where you equip yourself with skills for a well balanced life. Developing a realistic budget is the first step in becoming a money smart college student. Start by recording all of your expenses for a week or two. Once you know where exactly your money is going, plan accordingly.
- Budgeting your money is a good way to start planning ahead mentality. This principle can be applied in some way to the following tips. From planning that awesome trip to Mexico a year from now, to planning a dinner out once a month, reward yourself for sticking to your budget.
- If you can buy in bulk, buy in bulk! Keep in mind, however, that if you buy ten water bottles at full price, you won’t save much. Search for bundles and two-for-one deals on key items such as toilet paper, toothpaste or coffee. Also, learn how to use coupons.
- Plan one night a week and cook a big quantity of your favorite dish. It could be chicken breast or macaroni and cheese, but make around five meals worth of food, and refrigerate it for the coming week. This will save you a lot of time on deciding what to have for lunch, which will keep you in you budget. If you run out of your pre-made meal, the Student Snack Shack offers a $2 meal deal. “[It includes] a burrito, a hot pocket or a hot dog with a bag of 50 cent chips, and a 75 cent soda,” said manager of the Snack Shack Brandon Schmidt. “Also, we have free coffee Wednesdays, and spend two dollars and get a 75 cent item for free.”
- From Macklemore’s rap anthem, “Thrift Shop,” to GQ Mens magazine naming Portland’s Red Light Clothing Exchange on Hawthorne as one of the best thrift stores in the country, the Northwest’s thrifty style is gaining popularity throughout the United States. Right on campus, the No Cash Clothing Stash, located on the lower level of the Center Building, allows you to take up to five clothing items a week. You can also trade similar items as often as you’d like. Fall term hours are Monday through Thursday from 8 a.m. – 4 p.m. and Friday from 2 p.m. – 4 p.m.
- If you find yourself killing time in the financial aid line, look right above their office to see the SALTmoney.org/LCC banner. “Salt Money is a company that Lane pays in order for students to have an additional resource to managing loans. The website has more features than just loans, such as landing your dream job and budgeting tips,” said Briselda Molina, financial aid advisor. Because it is paid for by the college, Lane students sign up for free.