Small ways to save big money

(Photo Illustration by Taylor Alderman | The Collegian) One way for people to watch their bills is to monitor the use of their thermostat.

Small alterations in lifestyle can help the students that grasp for spare change hold on to some cash. By examining the way people spend money in their daily lives, these little cutbacks can ease the pain of a tight college budget.


The privilege fee should always be considered when looking for entertainment or help with classes. The $405.70 each full-time student pays is allocated to programs and services all over campus.

Always print from the library first. The $10 of free printing given at the beginning of each semester covers 100 pages of black and white printing. It can also be used in the Media Development Center in Hale 213, which costs 70 cents per page but prints in full color. Even students who live in Manhattan over the summer receive a $5 stipend for printing.

Connecting to K-State Wireless can reduce the usage of data on smartphones. Be sure to calibrate your phone and new devices for campus and public Wi-Fi signals.

Staying on campus during breaks between classes can reduce the amount of gasoline burned on commutes. This also trickles down to reduced costs in living expenses such as electricity when students choose to use the amenities of campus.

If students do choose to commute to campus in cars, refraining from purchasing a yearlong parking pass can save $170. Parking on residential side streets is free, and they are only a few more blocks from campus. Also, parking in any parking lot or metered stall on campus becomes free after 5 p.m.

Take advantage of the water bottle filling stations in the K-State Student Union by bringing your own reusable water bottle, instead of purchasing a drink every day. Water and cups are available from taps outside the food court, enabling those without water bottles to have a drink for free. Slice of Life in the Union food court lowers its pizza prices to $1 after 2 p.m.


Buying less is good, but selling more is a side of the equation that some overlook. College students are involved in many organizations that have specific insignia, from Blue Key sweaters to sorority Lilly Pulitzer prints. Brennen Menzie, senior in public relations and anthropology, sold some of her old K-State clothing online.

“Graduating students want something to wear, but not to pay a lot of money for it,” Menzie said. “I sold it for $25 … it was awesome.”

Food and groceries

At the end of the day, some grocery stores mark down certain food items, making for cheaper groceries. Wal-Mart and Dillon’s both have a day-old section in their bakeries that include cookies, cakes, donuts and other sweet things for those on a budget.

Jimmy John’s does something similar and sells its day-old bread.

“If we have bread left over from the night before, we sell it for 49 cents after tax,” said Mykel Schmiedeler, district manager of Jimmy John’s Manhattan and Lawrence locations.

Signing up for free rewards cards at each store in the community can help students save money on groceries. This can uncover new coupons and special sale prices, as well as gasoline discounts at stores like Hy-Vee and Dillon’s.


While some costs of living are fixed, like rent payments and cable charges, bills that change every month can sometimes be lowered with some planning. Charging a phone before bed can save hours of energy the charger would otherwise use to top off the battery, while its owner was asleep. The same thing applies to laptops and tablets. Charging these portable devices a few hours before bed and packing them away for the next morning saves time and money

Habitually changing or programming the thermostat to change the temperature while people are not in the residence can add up to cheaper electricity bills at the end of the month. Timing showers, using drying racks instead of dryers, and washing clothes on cold settings can also save more in utilities.

Small comforts like Netflix or Pandora probably won’t break the bank, but those on a budget will save more if they resist the urge to upgrade. Pandora One eliminates ads, but costs $60 a year.

Handling Cash

Sometimes it’s hard to associate a credit or debit card with the money stored on it. Taking out a cash stipend of a check each week can make money tangible and harder to surrender for small things.

Emptying wallets and pockets of change each day and saving it in a highly visible place like a jar or a tray near the door is a great way to keep savings at the top of the mind.

By using these cash saving tips, students can see drastic improvements in their wallets and bank accounts.