Everyday Savings

Food

  • Planning meals with friends or roommates can make trips to the grocery store cheaper. Meal prepping in the beginning of the week can also prevent additional spending on convenient foods during the week.
  • Buying a $5 coffee every day amounts to spending $140 a month. Save that cash by making your own coffee.
  • Avoid buying name brand items when possible. Generic items are often just as good as the name brands, but at a highly reduced price. Compare the ingredients to be sure.
  • For students who live off campus, packing a lunch each day will save gas and restaurant prices.
  • Making a list before grocery shopping will help prevent buying unneeded items.
  • Avoid grocery shopping while hungry. Doing so will stop the urge to buy excess food.
  • Buy non-perishable in bulk whenever there’s a sale. This will save from having to buy an item for full price in the future.
  • Purchasing healthy snacks could save additional calories and cash if you make frequent trips to the vending machine or the drive-thru.
  • Drinking water is a healthier and cheaper alternative to soft drinks.

Transportation

  • Walk, use the MSU Transit bus, or ride a bike instead of having a car.
  • If you have a car, keep it as long as possible.  Repair costs are almost never as high as a monthly car payment over time. 
  • Conducting regularly scheduled maintenance can significantly lengthen the life of a car.
  • A new car depreciates significantly the moment you drive it out of the dealership. Is the new car smell really worth thousands of dollars?  Pre-owned cars that are only a few years old with low mileage are the best bargains. Regardless of the purchase price, learn to negotiate with car dealers.
  • Maintaining a healthy GPA might get an additional discount on car insurance.
  • Some car insurance carriers offer a discount for students who do their online driver’s education training. Check with your insurance provider to see if this is an option for you.

Housing

  • Consider becoming a resident advisor for the Department of Housing and Residence Life. RAs receive a full room scholarship, a meal plan, and a stipend.
  • Compare residence hall prices and consider living in a less expensive traditional style residence hall.
  • If you live off campus, having roommates can decrease your cost of living by splitting rent and utilities with others. 
  • Opting out on cable packages or cable all together for a subscription to a web service such as Netflix or Hulu, which streams movies and television shows is a much cheaper alternative.

Cell Phone

  • Some cheaper phone plans still include unlimited texting with free incoming calls.  Check your options.
  • Shop around and ask about student discounts.  Getting or staying on your family’s plan might be the best deal.

Entertainment

  • Take advantage of free entertainment provided by the university rather than spending money on going out. MSU has an array of museums, movie nights, sporting events, and other social gatherings for free.
  • Using free music services like Spotify or Pandora can also save more money over time.   

Miscellaneous

  • There are many restaurants and stores that offer discounts to students with a MSU ID, so be sure to ask!
  • Rather than looking into a gym in town, remember the Sanderson is free for students.
  • Avoid making additional expenses by planning vacations wisely. If planning a summer, spring, or fall break trip, consider the location and if travel to this location is during a peak season. Also consider the length of the trip and the cheapest modes of transportation there and during the trip. Other areas to save include packing some additional food and choosing free entertainment as often as possible. For a cheaper alternative, plan a “staycation,” get a job earning extra money, or volunteer instead.
  • Limiting or stopping habits such as smoking and binge drinking can save a significant amount of money.
  • Sell what you no longer use or need. Thrift stores and web sites like Craigslist, E-bay, or Vinted allow people to sell used clothing, furniture, and tech items.
  • Save money now by waiting to get a pet until after college. A pet can become very expensive when food and veterinary bills are taken into account. Volunteering at the local shelter is a free alternative to spending time with animals.
  • Keep track of your spending with mobile apps like Mint or Level Money. Knowing where money is being used can help prevent frivolous spending.
  • Need a computer or software? Check for student discounts or free shipping with your ID or university e-mail address.  MSU negotiates with vendors to make software available to MSU students for discounted rates or for no charge. If you have any questions, please e-mail the MSU Help Desk at helpdesk@msstate.edu.
  • Avoid unnecessary, impulse purchases. Instead, save money over time to make a major purchase one day.
  • For on-campus dining, opting out of the most expensive meal plans can save money. Compare options and determine which plan most fits your lifestyle.
  • Surround yourself with friends who spend money wisely. Doing so could help you live within your means.