This is my final semester at University. Even writing the words sends a little thrill through me knowing that this is the last time I will be picking out my favourite pen from the University Bookstore, or winding through bookshelves in the library, or scoffing at the prices of cookies at the coffee shop (but buying one when it’s the only option for a burst of energy). By the time winter arrives I will finally have my degree.
I’ve been fortunate enough to be able to work part-time, which gives me a decent allowance, but students know that school has a habit of drying up funds come tuition-time. I’ve learned a few things about saving money that I’d like to share.
Take Advantage of that Student Card
Everywhere I go I ALWAYS ask, “do you have a student discount?” Sometimes I’m pleasantly surprised by the deals I can get. If you plan on spending the money anyways, it’s better to see of there’s a deal. And if you are graduated, keep that card! It may be a while before they check the expiry date!
Buy Second-Hand Textbooks
I admit, that first year of school, I pushed aside the books with the orange stickers and went for glossy, uncreased textbooks with that “new book” smell. I wanted my own, fresh books that I could mark up with my own notes. But secondhand textbooks are another way to save those precious dollars. And I’ve realized there are a few bonuses: the spines are already broken-in so they fall open on the table and if you happen to find a book belonging to a diligent student, the important sections are already highlighted!
Save on Supplies
I like to stay really organized (I also like being crafty), so in my first year I made myself folders for my loose pages out of cereal boxes. They are super easy to make and they’ve lasted longer than of the plastic folders I’ve purchased. But there are some things that just can’t be crafted together. Keep looking for school supplies throughout the year as they go on sale. And if you ever run out of anything you’ve got a handy supply.
Pack that Lunch
Buying a lunch, even if it’s just 5$ a day, can get to be pretty expensive (buying coffee every day adds up too, but it’s a treat that I don’t want to give up—instead I get a drip coffee and bring my own mug to get the discount). Packing a lunch is a way to save a little money very day. Whenever I make dinner I always put aside a portion of food to take for lunch the next day. It’s quick and typically more exciting than a sandwich (unless you love sandwiches, in which case, go for it!) It’s definitely worth it to invest in some leak-free Tupperware for the messier dishes.
Don’t Shop when You’re Hungry
When I’m ravenous and walking through a grocery store everything looks good. Too good. The basket gets pretty full before I’ve even done the full circuit. Have a bite to eat before you head out to shop. If you can’t, buy a little something at the store (I like rice crackers) before you start shopping. Check out the magazines for ten minutes so your stomach has enough time to tell your brain it’s satisfied.
Any ideas you’d like to share? I’m always looking for more ways to save :)
When I first started University (5 years ago) there were fewer laptops and smart phones around campus. If someone was taking notes in class it was through old fashioned pen and paper. Granted, a few people would lug around laptops (Dell seemed to be popular at the time). Professors told me about their own college experience writing papers involving real books, hours at the library going through shelves and spending time with the Dewey Decimal System. There was no handy search bar or filters.
This year, you can hardly walk three steps without seeing the glowing apples, someone thumbing their phone, or Facebooking while they “study.” We have so many more ways to use technology and as a result, more distractions.
There is one way I combat the bouncing icons, bleeping messages, and notifications that very easily pull me away from tasks—distraction free writing rooms. It’s a private space for writing that blocks out all the distractions. I find the atmosphere so nice that I don’t want to leave the room but reluctantly do (usually for the thesaurus).
The middle of September is upon us and the work is starting to pile up. How do you keep that motivation? It’s incredibly easy to mark your pages, set the work aside to do later, and forget about its deadline coming up in a couple days. Getting off to a productive start in the morning is a fantastic way to keep meeting your goals. By the time lunch rolls around you’ve already accomplished so much. Then you have the freedom to work on more assignments (since it’s still so early) or to do other things you’ve been putting off that week. HackCollege has curated the 6 best tasks students should make a habit of before noon.
For many, school is back in full swing and that means lots (and lots) of reading. In a few short weeks a stack of books on your shelf needs to be read closely, marked with notes, and reformed into essays, projects, and presentations. Daniel Wong, author of The Happy Student tells us his top 10 ways to cracking open those books.
“You can only become truly accomplished at something you love. Don’t make money your goal. Instead pursue the things you love doing and then do them so well that people can’t take their eyes off you."—Maya Angelou”—