Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

At all costs: Three ways students are saving money in college


While you are at college, you no longer have access to those home cooked or purchased meals your parents provided you with all those years living at home. Your parents also may no longer pay for your water or electricity usage. And, perhaps even more prevalently so, Wi-Fi and cable are expenses that can pile up, much to the chagrin of students everywhere. Many students pay their own bills and many students continually have to watch their money usage in their daily lives. College is a time when you have to take a hard, grown-up look at your finances, in order to stay fed and happy.

However, college kids continually create ways to save money while still keeping up with their college lifestyles. Here are a few students’ careful approaches to spending and saving money in college. 

Financial Planning

Brooke Patton, a senior majoring in elementary and special education in the MAP program, discussed ways she has learned to spend less money on a daily basis. Patton said she saves money on food by taking advantage of the university-provided Dining Dollars, and using her own money to cover any expenses that may come up.

“I eat peanut butter and jelly sandwiches basically every day for lunch,” Patton said. “I am reliant on dining dollars, and my parents give me gift cards to restaurants to use for food.”

Money Laundry-ing

Andrew Coggin, a junior majoring in management and information systems, has a unique way of saving up for certain purchases. Coggin’s way of raising money to pay for groceries and other expenses involves laundry and being vigilant.

“I pay for whatever I can pay with loose change,” Coggin said. “I have been able to buy groceries with just coins before, but I have been turned down for it too. I just always look for loose change when I find it, and just save it up. I just put the saved up coins into a sock and it really adds up.”

Coggin said loose change just seems to pop up, and whenever it does, he tries to pocket it. Whether or not he is in his own apartment or over at a friend’s house, if he sees coins laying around he grabs them. The more the change adds up, the more he hopes grocery stores will accept the loose coins.

Stockpiling the Necessities

Nicole Rodriguez and Samantha Rudelich both have a knack for seizing opportunities and saving money on small items and everyday expenses. There are daily, weekly and monthly expenses that many college students don’t realize exist, due to the transition from living at home to on their own.

Rodriguez, a senior majoring in communicative disorders, admitted to having stolen toilet paper in the past, in order to save money. By not having to worry about toilet paper, Rodriguez was able to use that money on other necessities.

Rudelich, a senior majoring in management, takes a different route to save money on necessary toiletries by doing what many college students have debated over the years. Whenever she goes on trips where she stays at a hotel, she grabs a few extra hotel shampoos and conditioners that she can use at home. Even though they come in small sizes, they do pile up over time and can help save on necessity spending.

Both Rodriguez and Rudelich said another way they save money from month to month is to rely on trips back home. When they go home, they typically take a load of laundry that can be done there. That saves a load or two of laundry each month and can take a small dent out of the monthly utility bill. For students who live close to home or travel home frequently, taking your laundry back home is a way to save a few extra bucks.

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