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Ciara Knisely

Saving Money as a Student

by Ciara Knisely | Aug 15, 2017

Hello all! As the beginning of my third year of college is starting soon, I would like to think that I’ve learned a few tricks on saving money. A lot of my fellow students probably know these tips, but first-years, here is some first-hand, Manchester-personalized tricks for keeping your savings account intact.

  1. This is really simple and obvious, but use Wi-Fi as much as possible. Wi-Fi is available on almost anywhere on campus, and you’ll definitely want to use it for those long hours scrolling through YouTube watching funny goat videos to distract yourself from your homework. If you’re lucky enough to still be on your parents’ plan, I’m sure they will appreciate it! The Wi-Fi is usually faster than cell service in North Manchester, anyway (knock on wood).
  2. I know it will be very, very hard – but limit eating out. I totally understand if you need a cheap taco or a greasy burger sometimes, but in general, focus on campus food services, if you have a meal plan. Some days the food is better than others, but it has kept me alive and happy for two years, so don’t worry.
  3. For me, having snacks in my dorm room was always a must, but be careful if you go snack shopping. Never go hungry; I did that a lot, and I ended up with food in my room that I never ate. Also, try to stick with snacks that will last a while in storage. There will be days that you hardly spend any time in your room, or forget about your food somewhere, and it’ll go bad before you get the chance to eat it. One last thing: I personally love fruit, but I found out that I didn’t eat it fast enough to keep it. If that happens to you, put some in the freezer!
  4. Ask about student discounts! Many places in town offer discounts for us, including the North Manchester Taco Bell and Subway.
  5. Buying your books at the campus store is an option, but you may find them for cheaper online or at used-book stores! Buying them at the campus store is fine and a lot simpler than looking online, but they often don’t have used copies in stock and are required to charge a certain price, so buying them online can really help save money.
  6. The days of backpacks full of school supplies may be coming to an end soon. If you have a laptop or tablet, consider taking notes on that, if the professor is okay with it. That way, you won’t have to buy as many notebooks, pens, and pencils.
  7. Take advantage of all the free resources at MU! The PERC, Health Services, the Success Center, and the Library offer just some of the free services on campus.
  8. Buying reusable water bottles, plates, cups, silverware, etc. is also a good idea. If you’re living in a dorm you won’t need too many of those items, so just a couple will suffice. We have free water bottle filling stations around campus, and washing a couple of dishes here and there will help you cut down on unnecessary spending, while also eliminating waste!
  9. Keep your grades up. If your GPA goes too low, you will lose financial aid, sadly, and we don’t want that to happen!
  10. Finally, check out Spartan Jobs for available on-campus positions. Right now is a good time to start applying, and as someone who has 2 (maybe 3) jobs through the university, I promise it’s totally doable and worth it. We don’t make much, but any income helps out a lot, and it will most likely be an enjoyable experience.

Hopefully none of this sounds overwhelming, but we have to start somewhere. Some investments are even more beneficial, like a nice pair of walking shoes. But, on that note, don’t let the fear of spending money stop you from having some fun. If your friends invite you to eat out at El Mezquite, go for it. If you want to go see a movie with friends, do it. I promise that the memories will be worth more than the price you pay. 


Ciara Knisely ’18 is an English-Creative Writing major and Journalism minor, and hopes to continue her writing career in the future. She spends her time working at the Writing Center on campus and is a Co-Editor of the Oak Leaves newspaper.

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