If you’re heading off to college or returning for another year, you know what that means: more studying, more tests, less money, more ramen – but what if you could save money in college without settling for less? It’s more challenging to keep up the same standard of living as living at home with your parents, but it doesn’t mean you have to change your way of life completely.

How to Calculate Your Monthly Income

Many students struggle with budgeting because of their inconsistent income and equally unpredictable expenses. This makes it difficult to plan ahead and know how much money will be available to spend on things like food and groceries – the most important part of our days!

There are different ways how to approach it:

  • Budget apps: There is a wide variety of budgeting apps available, but few students are aware of the ones that would be most helpful to them, such as:
    • Simplifi – Helps you stay on top of your finances by uncovering ways to save and reach your financial goals while giving you an opportunity to manage your spending and stay on top of the bills.
      The downside: It costs $5.99/month or $2.99/month for the annual plan, though it offers a 30-day FREE trial.
    • Wally – a FREE manual budgeting app for the students to keep track of your spending.
      The downside: Everything is manual as it doesn’t hook up to your bank account, which means you really have to be on top of things.
  • Website budget calculators: We recommend the FREE online budget calculator available at org or bankrate.com for its simplicity and ease of use, as well as its exportability to other formats (like Excel) for further analysis.
  • Excel sheets: Many students don’t know about them, but Excel itself has personal budgets as a template, where you can enter all your expenses and even get an analysis of your spending – completely for FREE!
    The downside: 
    You need to track everything by hand and be on top of the game, which can be time-consuming.
Hello Mobile how to save money on groceries deals
To save money on groceries, consider buying individual ingredients instead of processed foods, growing your own food, utilizing dining hall leftovers, checking out school pantries, and bulk meal prepping and couponing.

Want to save some money in college without settling for less? Read this!

How to Save Money on Groceries

Among the many big historical events and shortages, the cost of food has been one of the most difficult to bear for many students – yeah, we get it.

Here’s a list of tips that may just make your life a little bit better:

#1 Ingredients Only

Buying ramen, snacks, & Co is one of the most common mistakes students make.

Here’s why: while buying that box of Ramen for a couple of dollars appears to be cheap, you’re not actually getting much out of it. You likely won’t get full, and if you do, it’s only temporary, which means you ate empty calories that didn’t even make you full, so you end up eating more. Instead: Stick to purchasing individual ingredients if you want the health advantages and the satisfaction of a full stomach for longer.

Think of whole foods such as:

  • Beans
  • Rice
  • Potatoes
  • Flour tortillas
  • Bananas
  • Oats
  • Lettuce

#2 Grow Your Own Food

Before you come after us saying it’s ridiculous, just give us a moment. Think of microgreens and how easy they are to grow. They’re super-duper nutritious, with a ton of potassium, iron, zinc, magnesium, copper, and even antioxidants – a no-brainer!

Here’s where you can get it:

Amazon has a large variety of sets, though our favorite way to grow them is in a large draining jar that you water twice a day and have ready within 4-5 days (instructions on the specifics can be found on the microgreen bags themselves.)

Growing microgreens is probably the easiest way to grow your own food; however, it doesn’t stop there. If you have a window with some sunlight, take advantage of it and start growing:

  • Onions
  • Herbs
  • Potatoes
  • Tomatoes
  • Radishes
  • Chives
  • Lemons
  • And so many more!

Tip: You may start regrowing veggies from leftovers by adding the scraps to containers and soaking the bottom with water while providing enough light.

This works especially well with green onions, lettuce, and celery.

Grow your own garden save on groceries budget student deal
Growing your own food can be as simple as starting with micro greens, which are super nutritious and easy to grow in a large draining jar, while also taking advantage of sunlight by growing other vegetables like onions, herbs, potatoes, tomatoes, radishes, chives, lemons, and even regrowing veggies from leftovers in water containers with enough light.

#3 Make Use of The Dining Hall

As former students, we know the struggle – so here’s one of our little hacks: Bring Tupperware to the dining halls to pack up your leftovers and unused napkins that you already took. You’ve already paid for it, so make use of it – this goes for literally every place you go to, take everything you’ve not used with you.

Tip: Never go out into the world while you’re hungry because you’ll wind up spending more money than you have. If you do go out, consider getting the largest portion, usually only a few $ more, but you will get to keep the leftovers for at least one, if not, two more meals.

You know what would really sweeten the deal? If you could be looking all this up on an UNLIMITED Data, Talk & Text line for just $25/month…… such a coincidence that we have this offer, isn’t it?

#4 School Pantries

Many students have never even heard about their school’s pantry, yet they’re set up specifically for struggling students. Make sure to find out where yours is and make use of them! Some colleges even have mobile pantries where students may get FREE fruit and vegetable baskets every so often.

#5 Bulking Meal Prep and Couponing

Do it yourself – You could do some bulk meal preparation, where you purchase all your food in bulk from somewhere like Costco, and then freeze what you won’t need in the following few days. This way, you can reduce your takeout and delivery habits while ensuring that you always have something to eat in the freezer or fridge.

Tip: Consider getting the Costco Gold membership for $60 per year – if you have a roommate, you can give them one card for FREE and also share the costs. This way, you can use Costco’s coupons whenever you buy in bulk.

If you have an account with UniDays, they’re regularly running deals for Costco and other types of brands, so make sure to sign up and check it out before signing up!

Here’s another hack before we move on: Make oat or almond milk yourself instead of buying the overpriced stuff at stores. It’s actually really easy peasy, lemon squeezy.

You like doing things your way, huh? We do too! That’s why we’re offering a special UNLIMITED Data, Talk & Text for only $25 per month! If you’re unsure about what you need, check either our handy-dandy savings quiz or read this guide on how to choose your cell phone plan!

Maximize your Savings with Hello Mobile

Let’s be honest, college time is tough. The financial and economic stress that college students face is unmatched by the curriculum pressures, the unfamiliar setting, the rigorous professors, or the heavy workload.

Many college students do not even consider decreasing their phone bill to lower their bills for a variety of reasons, including:

  • The hassle of switching – Having to switch your phone or number after you’ve gotten used to it for so long. Who has time for that, right?
  • Activation fees, taxes, and other hidden fees when switching – These fees quickly add up, and you find yourself paying just as much as you did before the switch.
  • Change of price – It’s wonderful to take advantage of deals, but for how long can one expect them to last? Very soon, you’ll be charged twice as much, and the trouble of switching from one service provider to another will make the initial savings irrelevant.

We get your concerns at Hello Mobile, seriously. We know what it’s like, and that’s why we found a way to offer our customers the best of the best.

Hello Mobile money saving techniques cheap cell phone plans
Hello Mobile offers a way to maximize savings on phone bills for college students who may be hesitant to switch due to the hassle, hidden fees, and potential change in price – what are you waiting for?

With us, you get:

  • $25/month UNLIMITED Data, Talk & Text – yup, no catch.
  • NO Contracts, ever – no strings attached, and you can leave if you don’t like it
  • Taxes included & Activation is FREE – yes, we’re serious.

 

No Nonsense, Just Premium Service.

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