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Guide to college life part III: Pinch pennies to maximize fun

The statement, “I can’t do (insert activity), I’m broke” is a staple in college lingo. College was the first time I was out of my parent’s house, free to spend my money however I pleased. This put me in quite a bind one too many times, especially during my first two years at
Southern Miss. 

Whether you live on campus or off campus, there are still financial responsibilities all students must meet. I got my first college job in January of my freshman year. As of right now, I work two jobs and have a paid internship. Yet, sometimes, I still find myself searching the floorboard of my car for change so I can afford a tall blonde roast at Starbucks.

Throughout the past few years, I have gotten a lot better with my money. There are simple changes one can make in his or her daily routine that can save hundreds of dollars by the end of the month.

First, if you live on campus, take advantage of your meal plan. Yes, sometimes the Fresh Food Company isn’t offering that one dish you have been dreaming about, but you will save a lot of cash by using all of those swipes and bonus bucks.

If you live off campus, take time out of your morning to pack your lunch. I have really tried to get into the habit of sticking a turkey sandwich in my backpack before I leave my house, especially on days when I stay on campus from noon
to 5 p.m.

Not only do I save time by not waiting in the long lines at Seymours, but doing this leaves me a little extra cash to spend on the weekends.

Also, take advantage of all that the university offers you as a student. From tutoring services to a state-of-the-art recreational facility, Southern Miss is full of multiple free resources students can use every single day. You can learn about these resources by visiting

Something else I have found helpful when I am saving money is to make a list of all of my monthly expenses. I then figure an estimated amount for my monthly income. I subtract my expenses from my income and the money leftover is my “play money.” I think this is very helpful because you get to see everything laid out right in front of you.

Make a similar list, save it somewhere on your phone and take a glance at the list every time you feel tempted to buy something you know
you shouldn’t.

If you are falling behind and your bank account has been taken down to its last dollar, don’t be afraid to ask for a
little help.

Overdraft fees are a lot worse to deal with than borrowing a few extra dollars from your parents, grandparents or friends. These are people whom you trust and who trust you. Pay them back in a timely manner and the next time you get paid, take them out for ice cream. They will appreciate you coming to them for help rather than digging yourself into a hole.

Managing your money is a tough thing to learn to do. There always seems to be another T-shirt you have to buy or a lunch date with your best friend you absolutely can’t miss, but by following these tips and finding others you can fit into your daily regime, your pocket will feel a good bit heavier.

Guide to college life-chart

Source: Kalamazoo College Statistics for business and economics

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Guide to college life part III: Pinch pennies to maximize fun