“Dining out with friends is a blast, but try not to make a habit of it. It’s difficult to eat a good meal out for less than $10.”
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Corrina Powell is a graphic communication junior and Mustang News Do It Yourself (DIY) columnist.
Money doesn’t grow on trees. This expression is perhaps more relevant to us as college students than it was in our youth when the mantra was impressed upon our nascent psyches.
With college tuition, textbooks and rent burning holes in our pockets, saving money is at the top of our to-do lists. Everywhere we turn for entertainment, recreation or simple sustenance, there’s a fee attached.
And, unfortunately, sometimes paying the price might break the bank. Although this scenario may sound all too familiar, don’t despair — there are numerous tricks to becoming a savvy spender without being coined a tightwad or buzz kill.
By following a few simple rules and having common sense, you might just accumulate discretionary cash in your piggy bank for that movie at Sunset Drive-In Theater or brunch at Madonna Inn. Here are three tricks to set you in the right direction:
Use vinegar as your primary cleaning product. While Walmart sells a 32-ounce bottle of Clorox Cleaner + Bleach Formula for $5.22, a 1-gallon bottle of Heinz Distilled White Vinegar only costs $2.82. For cleaning floors or countertops, a solution of 1/4 cup white vinegar and 30 ounces of warm water yields a perfectly suitable solution for minor spots and stubborn grime. Don’t knock it ‘til you try it. If you simply can’t hang with the smell of vinegar, pure lemon juice is a cost-effective substitute.
Cancel your cable. Is the amount of time you spend watching TV during the week worth the monthly investment? There are alternatives. First, if you have a laptop and access to a Netflix account, you can easily find a show or movie that satiates your hunger for some screen time. If you don’t have access to a Netflix account, offer to split the $8 a month with a friend or just foot the bill yourself. If you are stubborn and prefer a large screen for viewing, Redbox has a variety of movies to rent for only $1 per night. Another option is Apple TV. For a one-time cost of $100, you can purchase Apple TV connections for your television, providing access to Netflix, iTunes and Hulu Plus. Split the cost amongst your housemates and enjoy shows on a big screen at your leisure.
Cook more meals at home. Dining out with friends is a blast, but try not to make a habit of it. It’s difficult to eat a good meal out for less than $10. Instead of grubbing at a restaurant, invite friends over for a dinner party and ask everyone to donate $5 for ingredients and refreshments. That way you can enjoy a healthy meal with good company for a price you can’t beat, all in the comfort of your own home.
These are just a few ideas from a long list of minor adjustments that could mean major savings. It is possible to have fun and have money — and ultimately, experiences you will remember forever.