1. Living Close to Campus: Trust me, I know that a 5 minute walk from all of your classes is nice and convenient but it’s also taking a toll on your income. Apartments close to campus cost considerably more than apartments off campus. When you are thinking about renting a new apartment, remember to do your research and weigh the advantages and disadvantages of each option. If you are worried about transportation, Cyride buses are running continuously to off campus apartments and there is free parking available in the commuter lot. Living off campus can be a great way to save money on your living expenses.

2. Your Pet: Fluffy might be better off staying at your parent’s house. On average, having a pet can cost you over $1,000 the first year and $500 each additional year. Between vet bills, pet food and boarding costs, the expenses can really rack up. There are multiple shelters around Ames that are always looking for volunteers to hang out with the animals but you should think twice about adopting and the effect it would have on your budget.

3. Going Out Every Weekend: Take my Newly 21-Year-Old word for it, the bars are expensive. Going out every weekend for 2 or 3 nights when drinks can cost up to $6 can make a huge dent in your income. FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out) can be rough but I promise your friends will still love you if you cut back on the partying. Check out things you can do around Ames for entertainment that are free of cost or volunteer as designated driver for the night to save some change.

4. Eating Out: Ramen noodles and PB&Js can get old but when the average American spends $232 a month eating out at restaurants, it’s a sacrifice you might want to make. There are great opportunities on campus to take advantage of, such as cooking classes and cheap lunch options during events like Homecoming. Consider shopping at discount grocery stores around Ames like Aldis that can help you cut back on your food expenses and learn a valuable skill.

5. New/Designer Clothing: I want to look as hip as anybody but honestly, nobody is going to notice if you don’t have the newest $140 Patagonia sweater or if you wear the same outfit a couple days in a row. Get your Macklemore on and start rummaging through those thrift stores, borrow from your friends, and don’t be afraid to rock a free t-shirt that you picked up on campus.


Written by student peer adviser – Serine Isenhart