A College Student’s Guide to Summer Savings
With college classes nearing an end (or already ended!) and the freedom of summer gleaming on the horizon, don’t be fooled into breaking your student budget now and putting to waste your yearlong efforts to save money by eating ramen and buying used books.
While that trip to Cancun with your best college buds or Caribbean cruise with your sorority sisters may seem awfully tempting, there are plenty of ways for students to have a great summer without busting the bank.
Here are some ideas that will help you resist the urge to splurge and enjoy your summer vacation away from college for less.
1. Spend the summer at home.
While it may not be Cancun, there is plenty of fun to be had in your hometown. You will be saving money on hotels and airfare, and you can hang out with old friends that you don’t get to see during the year while you are away at college. I’m sure Mom wouldn’t mind seeing you either.
2. Invite friends over for movie night.
Instead of spending $13 on a ticket to see the latest Katherine Heigl flick, host a movie night at your place. Renting movies is easier than ever these days with sites like Netflix, and you won’t have to shell out a fortune for snacks and drinks.
3. Dine in.
Rather than head out with your friends for burgers or sushi, stay in and have a potluck or grill-out and impress your friends with your inner iron-chef. Or if you’re not much of a cook, ask Mom to make you that prize-winning meatloaf you’ve been missing so dearly while away at college. If there’s one thing parents like to do, it’s keep their children fed!
4. Take advantage of your family.
I know it sounds bad, but it’s one of the best summer money-saving techniques there is for college students. Your family is sure to have missed you while you were away at college all year, so why not spend some time with them? Join them for dinner, go see a show, or even accompany them on a family vacation. If you’re lucky, they may take pity on their cash-strapped college student and foot the bill.
5. Take advantage of your college friends.
Remember that kid who slept on the bunk below you, who grew up in a mansion in Southern California? This might be a good time to give him a call and plan a visit.
6. Look for cheap vacation alternatives.
Rather than book a one-week all-inclusive stay at some resort in Barbados, go camping with friends or take a road trip out west. The beauty of nature is that it’s free!
7. Check out local papers for free events.
There are all sorts of free concerts and festivals in the summer. Check out your local newspaper or do some research on the internet, and make the most of these opportunities for fun (and savings!) with friends.
8. Use your legs as a means of transportation.
By walking or biking, instead of driving, you will be saving a lot of money on gas. Plus, it’s environmentally conscious. (And it’ll help keep that body looking good and ready for the beach.)
9. Get a job!
Though many positions have already been filled, it isn’t too late for students to start their summer job search. With a summer job, you will not only be making money, but also gaining useful work experience and building up your resume. Plus, all the time spent at work means fewer opportunities for you to give in to temptation and blow your dough!
These are just a few of the many ways college students like you can have a fun (frugal) summer vacation without giving up on those yearlong money-saving efforts. Keep these tips in mind, get creative, and hopefully you can save up enough money to ditch the ramen next year and start buying real food.