This is a list of some of my penny-pinching moves that aren't very fun to follow but can make a big difference. They will mostly apply to those who live off-campus.
Energy: To make your electric bill do the limbo here are some ways to avoid using power.
- Study during the day- while our brains are geared to be more active in the later hours, sunlight is cheap and lamplight isn't. Don't burn the midnight oil unless it is actually oil (or a candle)
- Charge your gadgets at school- take the chargers for your most used tech to school and charge them between classes, that's a few hours of use you won't pay for once you go home and small items like cell phones and MP3 players can be charged in your vehicle for free.
- Know what you need from the fridge before you open it- the less time you stand with the door open the more energy it takes to keep it cold. Time = money.
- Dress appropriately- instead of turning the thermostat up/down wear more/less clothing, pretty self explanatory just don't go overboard. If your toes are blue and you can't feel your face you've gone too far
- Use the Force (Wi-fi) If you aren't addicted to the internet (which reading my blog means you probably are) don't get internet service for your home, I only recommend this if you are really headed for trouble as the internet can be a mega source of money if you know how to use it, a topic I plan to expound on later. If you decide to do without hopefully you're lucky enough that someone living near you isn't tech savvy and doesn't know how to put a password on their wi-fi or there is a business nearby that offers it for free. If you aren't so fortunate visit your local library or the campus or have a study date with a friend.
- Use public restrooms- this might sound gross but if you are paying for water it can really add up, take a restroom break at school before you head home and if your recreation center has a shower room use it too whenever you exercise.
- 21st Century TV- While I'm still waiting for my flying skateboard at least I don't have to pay in appendages to watch my favorite shows. If you have no money to spend on TV, you have Hulu, which has tons of currently-running cable and standard shows as well as classics, movies, and anime. You have to watch some short commercials but they aren't so much of an interruption that it outweighs the benefits. If you have a little to spend on TV there's Netflix. Netfix has a huge selection and you can choose to view instantly or on DVD. The subscription price is pretty low and if split among roommates the cost is almost negligible.Most websites for TV channels will also have streaming episodes. I recommend using all of the above in combination to get the most for the least. For best viewing connect a laptop to your TV to view everything and use a wireless mouse as a remote.
- Groceries- I cannot stress how much you can save using coupons, discounts, and incentives. Really if you need to save money this is the first idea to consider. I wish I had started here.