Seven ways to keep your wallet full (well, not empty)

Mary-Catherine Dolan

It’s that time in the semester when students’ cash flow might be nearing the red zone. With only a few more weeks left of school, it’s difficult for students to start making money. If this is case, why not try the next best thing? Save. Here are some easy, painless ways college students can avoid breaking the bank.

1. Make sure your bank account has free checking and savings. Many banks will nickel and dime you for ATM withdrawals, low funds or transfers and it can really add up over the months. Shop for a bank around your college town that doesn’t have fees for any of these banking features. Quinnipiac University has a TD Bank located right in the Student Center.

2. Chart your expenses. To avoid a low dip in your funds, track how much money you are going to need to hold you over until the end of the semester. Add up your anticipated cost of food, spending money and entertainment. Knowing your finances inside and out will lessen the chance of you going completely broke.

3. Set aside a jar or a container in your dorm room for all your spare change. Throughout the day, you accumulate change that you probably just lose or discard. After a month, count the change and roll it yourself (“Coinstar” charges you a fee). Chances are your change will add up to more than you think and you might have enough for a nice dinner or night at the movies on your hands.

4. Drink cheap. According to, college students spend about 5.5 billion dollars a year on alcohol. You’re in college–get used to drinking the cheap stuff. Don’t take a credit card when you go out and open a bar tab. Only bring a specific amount of cash when you go out. Oh, and having a spending limit will also avoid severe drunkenness.

5. Buy your own coffee. A skinny venti latte from Starbucks costs $4.20. Have five a week and you’re spending $21. 52 weeks in the year equals almost two thousand dollars spent on daily cups of coffee from a barista. Buy your own coffee pot, filters and coffee. Dunkin Donuts now supplies their bags of coffee in grocery stores between six and seven dollars.

6. Be smart about your books. Get your college textbook list early, and buy your books on Amazon or The hardcover, used books are almost always the cheapest kind if you don’t mind carrying around a little extra weight. Also, check to see if the textbook has an international edition. These copies are almost always cheaper.

7. Stay connected at little cost. Skype, Vonage, Google Talk, Facebook, Twitter and MySpace are all either free or cheap means of communication. After you purchase a web cam (though most laptops now come with one built-in), you can Skype with other people for free.