1. If you have a meal plan, use it.
Groceries are expensive. So is going out to eat all the time. Unfortunately, your meal plan cost you quite a bit of money, too. At Mount Mary, if you are a resident, you have to have one. The school cares about your wellbeing and doesn’t want you to go hungry. With a buffet-style dining hall and meals pre-paid, it would be ridiculous not to use it when you can. Sometimes students get busy and have to miss a meal. If you can get the food you already paid for, it would be a wise decision.

2. Use your student ID to get discounts.
Some businesses, usually local ones, offer a student discount of around ten percent. I’ve used mine in local stores downtown, and it’s saved me money. I’ve even had cashiers smile at me and say that they attended Mount Mary as well! Carry your student ID with you at all times. You never know when it will give you the opportunity to save a dollar or two. Even if it only saves you a few cents, that’s a few more cents you have to spend elsewhere.

3. Carpool!
If you and your friend both need something from the store, go together. Why should the two of you spend double the gas money when you can share a car? Just remember that you should take turns driving throughout the semester so it’s fair.

4. Take advantage of the school’s gym.
It may not be everything you’ve wanted and more, but if your school has a free workout room (like Mount Mary does), you might want to use it instead of paying for a monthly membership elsewhere. It will save you a significant amount by the time you graduate.

5. Save your coupons.
Even if you have a meal plan, you probably want some kind of other food. If you have a coupon for something, don’t throw it away if you might use it. Also note that some stores now have online coupons that you can collect with your store rewards account. Mount Mary students can also save money on food by checking the bookstore for sales on food and drinks.

6. Participate in events with prizes.
If your school is hosting an event or contest with useful prizes, don’t miss out. At Mount Mary, students have the chance to earn good prizes by doing things such as participating in bingo, entering the poetry contest, hosting an incoming freshman and participating in other campus events. Sometimes it’s a good way to get free food, whether by gift card or by coming to the event.

7. Keep a bank in your dorm.
If you keep a bank in your dorm, your spare change will have a place to live. I put one in my dorm last semester and managed to save close to $10. You can save some kind of money with a bank. It might not be very much, but money is money. Over a period of time, you’ll have enough to buy something. If you’re still not sold on the idea, a bank can be a pretty dorm decoration.

8. Invest time in activities that you only have to spend money on once or not at all.
Going to the mall is fun. So is going out to eat, or mini golfing, or seeing a movie, or anything that involves spending your hard-earned money. Keep in mind that activities that you spend money on do exist. Buy a board game. Maybe get a deck of cards. Adult coloring books are fun as well. If you like to read, go to your local or school library and get free reading material. Your fun time doesn’t have to break the bank all the time. For me, just being around my friends is a good time.

9. Apply for scholarships.
There are many scholarships to be obtained, whether they are through the school or not. Mount Mary offers a helpful amount of money through academic scholarships, decided through your GPA and ACT score. Other aid is also available. If that’s not enough, there are websites that you can create accounts on to find scholarships, such as or