2013 Challenge Week 4: Share Your Secrets!

Some of the best money tips often come from regular Joe’s just like you. As busy college students, you no doubt have discovered a few great ways to reduce your spending and save for those “must have” items along the way. So why not share them with other students?

Here’s what to do. Share your tip by posting a comment here on $tart with Change.  Please indicate which of these categories you think best describes your tip:

  • Shopping
  • Around the House
  • At School
  • Eating
  • Getting Around
  • Other

You will then be entered for a chance to win a $25 gift card*. But wait, it gets better… we will compile all the ideas into an eBook and share with all!


*Details and official rules here


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Showing 24 comments
  • tavia8910

    Other: I always write out my bills before I get my check. I figure out what I have to pay then add it all up and see how much I’ll have left. Then, if I have enough left over I think of the things I need or want to do that month and write it down & write how much it costs.. That always give me a good idea of my expenses. I always make sure I have some money left for emergencies as well!

  • AlexisElac18

    Shopping : Whenever I go out shopping, whether by myself or with my parents, I always compare prices. You’ll never know when you might snag a great deal!

  • Jaketheman

    Other: Always, always have a plan to save money. Even if it is a small amount it
    is the practice or habit of saving money. You will be surprised at how well it works.
    If you do this every month you will never miss the money and have a nice savings
    account for the things you want or for emergencies.

  • mwilliams36

    Eating.. I always pack a lunch for work. This will stop my craving of going out to eat at a fast food restaurant. This will definitely save me money and say no to people who want to go out to eat. This will also encourage me to eat healthier. I am receiving many benefits this way, but the most important issue is that I am saving money.. God bless

  • docplove

    Shopping- Whenever I go shopping, I usually wait until there is a really good sale or a discount such as 30% off at Kohls. I don’t pay full price :) Shopping online also helps when you find promo codes to use! Like FREE SHIPPING!

    Getting Around-I usually either walk or most of the time rent a car for a few hours.

  • heatherj2

    Eating,This will save you time and money,both of which are needed these days.Buying in bulk is cheaper overall.Take one half day a week and make 3or 4different supper dishes ,like meatloaf,lasagna,spaghetti,stew,etc,Make a large batch then when finished with each cut into portions and freeze,Now meals ready for entire week or more.When hungry and in hurry you just pop a package in microwave or oven to heat up and you have a home cooked meal all week.Going out or stopping places to grab dinner is very expensive and usually very unhealthy,This is a win win,it’s cheaper,healthier,and quick.And chances are it tastes better as well.

  • cchaney2

    Eating: I always try to pack my lunches or snacks. Here is a good suggestion for packing lunches. Pack a part of the bagged lunch and buy a part. For example I pack a cup of ramen and a cookie or some kind of sweet than I buy a turkey wrap at the little bean (coffee shop on campus) buying just a sandwich is a lot cheeper than buying a whole meal on campus. also I pack a different flavor of ramen and buy different sandwiches or warps so it does not seem like I am eating the same thing everyday. An icepack in the bottom of a cloth bag with a lining on the bottom only can work as a lunch box.

  • ssbeeners

    Eating: For a family of four shopping on a Saturday, we can eat pretty cheap. We eat at places with value meals or large meals that can be split easily. All four of my family members can eat at Taco Bell for less than $10 and be happy. If eating in larger restaurants, like Olive Garden or Chili’s, we drink water. That is a quick $10 dollar savings off the top. I share a meal with my son since there is so much food and I don’t need the extra calories.

  • swagedsoul

    Toss up between eating out and driving.

  • Margee

    Other: Bills, bills, and more bills! Usually there is no money left for anything else.

  • soonerbabe

    I spend too much on getting around! Most of my money goes to gas and vehicle parts. I go to college full time and also work 30+ hours a week at a job that is 32 miles away from where I live, so gas is definitely something that I go through the fastest and with it being as expensive as it is, it takes a huge chunk out of my wallet.

  • silbs

    Other: It’s a toss up of eating, getting around and paying bills. Old car means car repair expenses. Luckly I manage to set spending limits, I try not to allow myself to fall under 100 dollars to my name and also have a separate savings for emergencies. Though bills take up most of my money so I hardly have money to just go out and have fun and get what I want. School’s hardly an Issue since I shop and/or rent my books online for a cheaper price. As for food, it’s not cheap to eat healthy but I try even with a tight budget.

  • KMsauve

    Everything: With me and my boyfriend living together (with 2 kids) money can sometimes get tight. WE began planning our meals ahead and buying in bulk on Sunday so that we are not tempted to go out to eat throughout the week. We have one day (Saturday) as our splurge day. Also, when we are riding around together, we use the car that takes up less gas (so his Silverado usually sits a lot). We sort through our bills each month and pay them on the due date, one by one. Also, I have an allotment of $75 each paycheck that goes directly into savings. I started that when I began my new job, so I never saw the money, and haven’t missed it. My savings is close to 2800 now and I didn’t have to do anything.

  • angsmith123

    Shopping: I always shop using sales papers from another store. Walmart will price match within 50 miles of their store. This has been a beneficial to my household spending. Coupons are also a great way to save money. Stores that allow you to double or tripple your coupons also helps. I never go to the store hungry, this only makes you purchase according to the way you feel. I don’t go to the store just for the sake of going ither. Never go to the store evertome you have to cook. Set aside a specific day to make a major purchase, then go if you find yourself getting low on small things such as milk.eggs, bread, and etc. Wednesdays are the day for new sales to come out. If you try these things, I promise these tips will help.

  • ashleymarie85

    Everything: I always make sure my bills are paid before anything and i keep track of that in a notebook so that nothing goes wrong each month. I also don’t go out to eat or eat at any fast food restaurants. I have a certain amount i can spend on food each month so i make sure i shop wisely so that the food with last that entire month without having to spend extra on that. I make sure that after the bills are paid along with getting food i still have some money left over to save and also in case of an emergency.

  • malrfrederick

    I always spend to much money on eating out. I try to plan out my meals for the week using supplies I already so I am not spend a whole lot when I go to the store. I try to keep an eye out for sales and stock up on things I know I will use. When I do eat out I try to get something that I can half and eat some then and later, so I end up with two meals for the price of one. Food is my families number one expense.

  • iris

    I like to get what I need at the best price so when I go shopping I try to find the best prices because almost always the most stores follow a pattern of offers.

  • kdaught

    1.Use your bank’s automatic savings transfer option – you can set it up to transfer a pre-set amount of $ every month. Savings you don’t have to think about 2. Cook at home, pack a lunch, make enough for leftovers, eat half your meal when you eat out so you can get a few more meals out of it 3. Eat healthy, exercise, sleep, spend good time with friends, and take good care of your body and emotions! A restful balanced life helps reduce illness, doctor bills, medication expenses, and makes you happier! 4. Make a list before going shopping, and use coupons 5. Use a cash back credit card (with no annual or other fees) instead of one with no rewards or rewards you won’t use 6. Visit a great web site – http://www.thesimpledollar.com for more saving and money management tips – I love his site!

  • Rickygt

    I try and do most of my grocery shopping, the bulk of it anyway at one time . I inventory the foods I have in my refrigerator, cupboards and pantry. I then make a tentative menu for the month, which is very flexible from day to day depending on what kind of things come up for a particular day. At least with a menu I can then make an actual list of whats needed that be either frozen or stored for longer periods in pantry. I always make sure I leave at least 50 dollars in my budget for things like more milk and eggs or the unexpected. While at the store I compare the unit price and insure that I am paying the least amount possible per unit. Except for mayonnaise, I can’t skimp on that lol. The first time I ever shopped in a critical manner I was really surprised at just how much money I was able to save. And you might find like I have that it’s not always the store brand that’s the cheapest.

  • robin_samantha

    Other: Awesome way to save money: I have always had a hard time saving money. Being in college and having all the extra expenses that goes along with being a college student, I knew I had to figure out a way to save. I decided to go to the bank every Friday after I cashed my check, and get $25.00 in coins. When I got home, I put all the coins into a jar. I saved $100 a month this way! It really came in handy for all of those unexpected expenses. And I loved it because being that it was coins and not dollars, I was not tempted to take the money out of the jar to spend.

  • abcd4efgh

    Around the house: Always turn off the light, and open your window blinds during the day so natural light can come in. When washing dishes turn the water off in-between washing plates.

  • amberpatrick1

    Getting Around: Wherever you go if public transportation can go there try taking it instead of driving because public transportation is cheaper than a gallon of gas and reduces pollution.

  • ajohns42446

    1. tip that I can offer to help lower the water bill. Is to collect rain water in a large tub and begin to use it as needed. This especially works well by refilling the reservoir in the toilet. It could also be used for gardening, washing the car, as a thirst quencher for pets, but drop a PH tablet in it before allowing pets to drink.

    2. another suggestion would be to switch to a lower light bulb wattage. If using an energy efficient bulb, they help to lower the power bill, help the environment, and they last a really long time.

    3. If driving does the air conditioner always have to run, even if it is a short trip? This is can minimize gas use.

    4.Driving with the windows down for a prolonged period, also takes a lot more gas. The wind creates resistance against the cars motion creating a drag effect.

    5. Save money on paper towels for cleaning windows, mirrors, and any other glass. Newspaper works far better. It has an absorbent quality, leaves a streak free shine, and is usually just lying around the house somewhere.

    6. When grocery shopping, name-brand items are usually more costly than a brand that is inexpensive, yet made with the same ingredients. Some even have better taste

    7. If you have a green-thumb…try growing your own fruits and vegetables. It would cut the price of produce that u would normally get from the grocer.

    8. Price Match identical items. Stores are usually willing to help lower the cost if they are advertising a certain price for an item, but on the shelf it says differently, or their competitor offers the same only cheaper.

    9. If you leave a room, turn the light off, same goes for tv. These are subtle changes that can save on the electric.

    10. Try to keep the refrigerator door shut. It takes a while for it to maintain the internal temperature and longer for it to regain it. Decide on what to eat before going to get it from the fridge.

    11. Look around the house for items that are never used, and are in good condition. Market them online or hold a garage sale. Even items that are rarely worn. Have a get-together with some friends and host a swap meet: clothes, jewelry, sporting equipment, exercise gear, be creative.

    12. Search online for home-made items that are usually pricey in the store. For a really good facial cleanser, that can take away irritation…SUGAR and OLIVE OIL. The sugar never melts in the olive oil, but dissolves when applied. Moisten face. Rub face with sugar and olive oil scrub. Pat dry, and enjoy. Skin is refreshed, soothes any irritation, and it is noticeably smoother :-)

    13. When it comes to cell phones, try not to get locked into any contracts, if you can help it. Honestly, no one can see what your financial position may be in the next 2yrs. You know what you can afford. Research a good match when it comes to plans that can work well with you. For some they are the contract phones, and for others the pay per use. Empower yourself to take control over the amount that you spend on your cell. What features can you live without? How many minutes do you really use? Find a plan that is comfortable for you.

    14. When it comes to entertainment, find out what is happening in the surrounding area. They are usually sponsored by the city, and require no admission fees. There is a good chance that they have free food and alot of different activities. Plus you get to save on gas keeping it local.

    15. Hold a pot-luck, where each of your friends come up with a recipe to critique each others feature dish. Or how to enhance an already popular recipe, and to do so on a budget.

    16. Instead of driving all over the city to go to the movies, have a movie night at home. Invite friends over and talk about it afterwards. Hook the computer to the Tv if they are into making independent films.

    17. Think of new and creative ways to use solar panels.

    18. Instead of using a clothes dryer, hang them to sun dry outside.

    19. Wash all dishes when you know that no one else will be eating again. This can vary, but probably at night.

    20. Monitor how much the stove, air conditioner, heater, washing machine, dryer, vacuums are run. They tend to be the biggest in energy consumption.

  • ajohns42446

    21. Prepaid credit cards help to divide up money for any particular bill, need, or to just save.