It is a well-known trope that college students’ pockets are usually strapped for cash. Whether it be spending money on rent, textbooks, or groceries for your dorm, there is always an outflow of cash.
As such, it can be enormously beneficial to learn how to shop on a budget and take that knowledge into the future. Not to mention that budget shopping will lead to more savings for things you want to spend money on. Not spending money is much tougher than it sounds. Therefore, here are some tips to help students save a little bit of pocket money next time they go shopping.
The Dollar Tree can be the holy grail of shopping if you go about it the right way. For those unfamiliar with the amazing ways of Dollar Tree, everything in store for sale is priced at a dollar, or sometimes even less. While you may think that quality must be compromised for items at such a low price, in reality, most of the items are the same ones you can find at any other grocery store, especially if you know what you are looking for.
A general rule of thumb for Dollar Tree is to avoid purchasing any perishables such as meats or chicken. Instead buy items where the quality standard is generally the same across brands. For instance, buying cleaning items like paper towels at Dollar Tree is significantly cheaper than most grocery stores, or toilet paper that comes in multipacks and is debatably softer than many popular brands.
One of the best parts of Dollar Tree is the cookware section. The majority of the stores sell items ranging from ceramic dishware to wooden spoons. Practically anything you need to have a fully functioning kitchen can be found at the Dollar Tree, besides for pots and pans.
Dollar Tree is perfect if you need to fill up your new apartment or dorm, so do not be discouraged just because of the stigma. There are two Dollar Trees within ten minutes of campus, but if you fail to find one elsewhere, give stores like Dollar General and Family Dollar a chance even if they may be inferior value stores.
If you are trying to stay on budget, then sticking to shopping for only essentials is the way to go, however, that does not negate the urge to buy those materialistic wants, it is only natural. If you cannot avoid it altogether then keep an eye out for coupons released by your favorite companies. Numerous companies will post coupons on social media for customers to use for a limited time, so if you really need that new shirt, first check if the store has a coupon somewhere on their socials.
In addition, there are plenty of online resources that compile coupons for customers to use. Websites like Retail Me Not allow customers to search for compiled lists coupons for in-person or online stores. Groupon does the same but also features discounts for activities and entertainment. If you are a chronic online shopper, then the chrome extension Honey will automatically search for coupons at checkout of most websites and compiles points for every purchase with Honey for further discounts.
While I would not suggest shopping at NSU as budget-friendly, do not let your declining balance on your shark card go to waste. Being forced into a meal plan is not ideal but put some planning into spending the funds on your account so nothing goes to waste and spread your spending throughout the semester.
Shopping on a budget is difficult but achievable, and if you stick with it then soon enough you may save up enough to spend the money on more things you do not really need.