Thrifty vs. Stingy: The Balance Between Being Saving-Savvy and Saving-Scroogey in College

No one wants to be remembered as stingy, but limitless benevolence is often not a choice for college students. So here are some tips to make sure you won’t be remembered as the Scroogey one at college reunions.

The Problem: With the average bar drink priced at $10 and minimum wage around there, the cost of going out on weekends and evenings can add up scary fast…but you don’t want to miss out on the fun by staying home alone.

The Solution: Bring the fun home. Suggest taking turns hosting gatherings among your buddies. Have a potluck and BYOB so that you don’t end up footing the cost. This way you can enjoy the low grocery prices of drinks, (the price of grocery store booze has dropped 39% while at bars and restaurants it has increased by 79% since 1982[1]), while still hanging out with friends. Do you go bar-hopping to meet new people? Let everyone bring a plus-one so that you can still meet people outside your network without the bar tab.

college foodThe Problem: Eating out. All the time. Eating at restaurants daily will rack up your bill quickly (the average American spent $2,505 at restaurants in 2010[2]), but cooking and eating in takes up more time.

The Solution: band together with your roomies and do communal cooking on a regular basis every few days or just cook enough food for the whole week over the weekend. This way the act of cooking can be social and entertaining in and of itself, and you’ll have to cook much less because you can make more with all the combined ingredients.Now you’ll be thriftyenough to eat out at restaurants when it really matters—like with your hot date.

The Alternative solution: Americans waste $165 billion annually on wasted food.[3] Buy groceries together with your housemates to avoid throwing out spoiled food you forgot to eat; if everyone can eat everything in the fridge then less money will be wasted on spoiled food that roosted on the shelf. Making one grocery trip per week all together will save you time and gas as well.

The Problem: those pricey textbooks you read once(or less).I bet you can think of other things to spend that money on.

The Solution:the library! Remember? While finding your desired book at the campus libraries might be tricky, I’ve found more than half my books each semester in local county libraries. Total savings? In the hundreds of dollars.What happens when the book is due back? Order it from another library’s circulation in time or keep clicking the renew button as soon as you check out the book.

Another solution: your college or university’s online database. Most schools subscribe to huge databases like EBSCOhost that can contain anything from whole books to articles and reports in computer-friendly e-versions.

Save smart. You shouldn’t have to give up your fun college years, or reputation, for the sake of thriftiness.

By Katarina Bagherian at SaveUp. In partnership with SaveUp Select.




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  1. Great tips. Staying indoors and inviting your friends to come over is really a great way to save money than going outside and spending your money on over-priced items.

  2. Great post! These will be very useful to both old and new college students. Continue giving more useful tips.

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