The college years are often associated with scrimping, sacrificing and eating copious amounts of inexpensive noodle-based dishes. Although studying and doing the best job possible at school is the priority, a life without any fun would take away from the overall college experience. It is possible to enjoy a little fun by yourself, with a partner or a group of friends without killing your meager budget. Use these strategies to make an occasional enjoyable outing off-campus a reality.
Pool Your Resources.
Five dollars isn’t enough for a night out, but if you and ten other friends pool your resources you could easily enjoy a couple pitchers of soda and two pizzas. More than likely, you’re not the only one strapped for cash. Talk with your friends, decide on a set amount that everyone can and should chip in and plan your night out accordingly. Sometimes combining resources allows you to have a great night out with friends when it’s not financially possible to do so alone.
Scrimp & Splurge Strategy.
Scrimping is a way of life throughout the college years. A little extra scrimping and frugal living can help you save up money for shopping, a daytrip to see friends or a night out with your dorm mates. Buy groceries at the local no-frills grocery store, instead of the convenience store. Walk, instead of taking the bus or train. Carry snacks in your backpack instead of buying from the campus vending machines. Put all the money you save, even if it’s mere pocket change, into a safe place until you’ve saved the amount you need.
Earn Spending Money.
Most college students hold down part-time jobs on or off-campus simply to purchase groceries and necessary school supplies. But occasional money-making opportunities can be used to help you fund an evening out or weekend away. Offer to tutor area students during the regular school year on a once-per-week basis. If you’re unable to make that kind of time commitment, you can participate in paid medical trials once in a while to earn extra money to pay your way through college.
Keep it Simple.
A fun night with friends doesn’t have to mean going out. If the options above don’t work for you, then plan a night in with friends, instead. Tidy up your dorm room and invite friends over to watch an old movie, play cards or just hang out. If everybody has pocket change to pool together, go pick up a six-pack of soda and a snack. It’s possible to have a good time without spending any money at all.
Enjoying your downtime or an evening out with friends can help relieve the stress of studies and tests. As you relax, your mind does too, allowing you to rejuvenate for the next round of assignments. Using budget-savvy techniques to have fun allows you to do so without creating financial headaches. When you look back on your college years, you’re more apt to remember the fun times with dorm mates and friends, rather than the nights you spent cramming for finals. Create and enjoy those times using these helpful methods.
Contributed by Samantha Rogers, who loves talking about money and finance. She is also currently writing about medical testing for money and joining a volunteer panel as a means to raise income.