The Ultimate Guide to Being Thrifty in College - Geneva College, a Christian College in Pennsylvania (PA)

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March 23, 2016

The Ultimate Guide to Being Thrifty in College

Do not feel like in order to attend college, you must live off of instant ramen and Cheese Whiz! Those who make wise financial choices are typically able to live comfortably, though maybe not in the lap of luxury. Whether you need a financial overhaul or simply desire to cut back in a few places, the following ideas can help you achieve your financial goals – all on a college student's budget.


Everybody knows that they're supposed to create monthly budgets, but a 2013 Gallup report indicates that only one in three Americans actually do so. Budgeting is especially essential for non-traditional students, who, in addition to paying for tuition and textbooks, may also need to put food on the table for their children. While drawing up a monthly budget, it is important to set aside money for essentials –  tuition, rent, utilities, food, savings and so on – and a little for entertainment and discretionary spending, too. This dollar amount may be smaller than you'd like, but it is important to approach it from a place of gratitude, and recognize the blessing of having a place to live and food to eat.

Avoid materialism

For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that. 1 Timothy 6:7-8

Materialism is a definite danger zone, especially for college students. Those with a materialistic outlook tend to overlook the important things in life (faith, family and friendships) and focus on luxuries they don't really need. That nice pair of jeans or that new iPhone might seem like an immediate necessity, but is it really that important? Reducing that materialistic impulse could make all the difference between long-term savings and a lifetime of living paycheck to paycheck. What's more, avoiding materialistic temptations might actually make you happier, both right now and in the long run. A report from the Journal of Positive Psychology indicates that experiences ultimately make people far happier than material goods. 

Do things for yourself

After a long day of work, lectures, and studying, the last thing you feel like doing is whipping up a meal in the kitchen. Takeout seems so much easier, but it's certainly not easier on your budget. Cooking at home is just one simple step you can make to improve your financial standing. Other options include cleaning your own home, cutting your own hair and patching up damaged clothing instead of purchasing everything new.

Healthy habits

Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body. 1 Corinthians 6: 19-20

True frugality means being able to make snap decisions that benefit your bank account. However, when you make those quick decisions, your mind should be on the end goal. In maintaining a long-term outlook, you'll need to think about things that seem cheap now, but will result in huge costs in the future. For example, that fast food meal may seem inexpensive, but the poor health you suffer after a lifetime of bad eating could prove quite costly.

Ultimately, your spending and saving habits should set you up for a great future. With thought, focus and fortitude, some small steps can eventually turn into habits, making a difference in your pocketbook over time.

Let us help you set your eyes on the prize. Learn more about the financial aid opportunities offered at Geneva and how we can help make college more affordable. For more information on how Geneva College can help you pursue your career goals, contact us at 855-979-5563 or