College is expensive — there's no doubt about that. However, there are also plenty of ways to save when in college because manufacturers and local businesses give so many discounts to college students. The trick is to not overbuy. Even if something is discounted, it's not a bargain if you don't really need it.
However, college students still want to socialize and have fun with friends. Here are some great ways to hang out with friends without busting your limited college budget:
1. Find Cheap Restaurants
Eat at restaurants that offer discounts. Of course, you probably shouldn't go out to eat a lot if you're budget-conscious, but sometimes you don't have time to cook or go grocery shopping. In that case, make sure you get a discount. Many colleges have plastic cards to distribute that offer you discounts on many local restaurants. Most of the offers are for buy-one-get-one-free or for a free drink.
Likewise, you can also buy coupon books that will save you money on dining out. You'll pay $20 or $30 upfront, but you'll easily recoup that cost after going out just a few times.
Don't forget to also time your trips out. Many restaurants offer happy hour discounts where you can get drinks and appetizers half off within a limited time frame.
2. Get Discounted Entertainment
Take advantage of discounted entertainment. As a college student, you're eligible to watch college productions at a discounted rate, but be prepared because you'll likely have to buy way in advance for popular shows. Many college campuses also offer free events like free poetry or book readings and free art shows. Take advantage of these to get your culture fix on a budget.
3. Go to College Sporting Events
Enjoy discounted sporting events. Some colleges have nationally-ranked sports teams. As a student, you can get discounted prices for football and basketball season passes. Enjoy them now because once you graduate you'll never get sports passes so low again.
Likewise, bigger colleges have free sporting events you can watch such as gymnastics. Keep in mind many of these gymnasts may well be competing in the Olympics in a few years, especially if you attend a high-ranking college.
There is no doubt that college is very expensive. Luckily, there are plenty of ways that college students can keep their social life full with free and discounted entertainment. Who says the only thing college students like to do is party and drink beer? There are plenty of other opportunities that are available and won't ruin your budget.
How did you save money in college?