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Spring break is usually the one week a year when you have the most fun…and spend the most money. But now that it’s over and you’re ready to hit the books again, don’t worry about how broke you are. Here are 15 tips to save a little money and maybe recoup some of the cost – without putting a damper on your quality of life.
- Stop using credit cards. You probably racked up a big bill during your week in paradise. Don’t make it worse – give your card a rest and focus on paying it off.
- Drink on a budget. If you followed the advice in our story 26 Tips to Save on Spring Break, you found that happy hours are the way to save on both food and drink while on vacation. Same thing applies now that you’re back on campus.
- Start using coupons. They may not look cool, but coupons will save you money. Always use a coupon search engine (like the one we have at the top of our Deals page) before you shop for anything.
- Buy toilet paper on Amazon. And other products like soap, shampoo, and microwave noodles. Obviously you should compare prices with those at local stores, but with free shipping (and no tax), some items are cheaper on Amazon than in even the bulkiest of bulk stores. And they deliver!
- Use only your own bank’s ATM. Count up all the times you’ve used another bank’s ATM machine, multiply by about 5, and imagine you had that much extra cash in your pocket. Getting cash back free at the grocery or other stores is also a better idea.
- Cancel your cable. Like my story said, You Don’t Have to Pay For Cable TV. So why are you?
- Slingbox your TV. Can’t live without cable? Ask your parents to put a Slingbox in their home. Then you can stream their television to your computer/iPad/phone without paying for your own service.
- Find free music. If you don’t know you can find free music online, then you’re the oldest person in your class by about 30 years. Sites like Pandora and Last.fm make the iTunes store look like a relic from the 20th century.
- Get on a family plan. There’s no law that says you have to be in a family to have a family plan. Get a few of your friends and split the cell bill each month.
- Get a job, you lazy bum. No one’s saying full time, but many schools will pay students to work around campus. A part-time gig in the gym could be a great way to earn a little extra cash and meet new friends.
- Skype is fun. And it’s a free way to video chat. Instead of calling your friends to relive your spring break memories, why not Skype? You’ll save on minutes and feel like you’re living in the future.
- Try a bike. If you’re close to campus, biking (or walking) to class can save gas money. Added bonus: You won’t have to worry about parking, and you’ll work off some of the calories you packed on during spring break.
- D-I-Y pizza. At this point in the year, that Domino’s bill is really starting to add up. Next time you’re craving pizza, just get some flatbread, sauce, cheese, and maybe a few toppings, and cook your own.
- Do the Netflix thing. As a grad with a film degree, I can say with some authority that movie theaters are a waste of money. And 3D?! The only movie worth paying to see in 3D was Avatar. Everything else is just a gimmick.
- Sober drivers. My frat had a sober driver program, so each brother took turns driving for a night. In addition to being safe and responsible, we saved a ton of cash with our “free taxi.”