Cheap Dates

Couple, Holding Hands, Walking, Love

Dating in college can be a hit or miss for most and the second it gets down to deciding on an actual plan, a plethora of stresses have arisen. Where do we go? What do we do? What is expected of me? Is it expensive? That last question probably should have been first considering money is a daily concern for many students.

Luckily, there are options to pursuing inexpensive dates that won’t break the bank. Don’t go breaking piggy banks until giving one of these five choices a chance!

Keeping it old school

Maybe it’s not that old school – but grabbing some ice cream and taking a walk with a partner can be more fun than it seems, for more than just one reason. Imagine being able to enjoy a sugary treat while engaging in – hopefully intriguing – conversation and getting those daily steps in! Sometimes, keeping it old school is keeping it fun.

Simple & easy

Picnic, Man, Basket, Meal, Food, Blanket, Park, Outdoor

The joys of a picnic can often be limited to the season and location of residence. Depending on where you live, just pick the months with bearable weather and the date is half ready to go! All that’s left to do is pack some snacks and sandwiches, grab a blanket, and pick a lovely spot.

Night in

Let’s be honest here. Some days contain more energy than others. On this kind of night it could be equally fun to just stay in with some take out – or cook if one is up to the challenge – and watch a movie, though binging a show is just as fun (no discriminating here). This could provide a fun opportunity to talk about the crazy events that took place in the cinematic adventure experienced together.

A Budgeted outing

Lovers, Bench, Lake, Trees, Love, People, Man, Couple

This one might entail some extra cash but a trip to the beach or a nearby lake is a day of relaxation and extravagation. (Okay, I made that word up. It’s kind of like extravagant. I digress.) Find a cooler and fill it with snacks before heading out and it’s got huge potential to be a beautiful memory. Sitting in the sun with no worries is a start to a delicious recipe. From this point on there are endless combinations of how this splendidly filled afternoon could be spent!

grub & hub

Just spending time with a person can be an amazing time. Add on board games or a mutual experience and a thirty minute conversation can turn into an entire afternoon of enjoying someone else’s company. Multiply that by coffee and it’s a beautifully crafted date of sophistication and fun. Don’t knock it before trying it!

The beauty within all of these plausible ideas is the commonality between them. One word, four syllables, makes my heart skip a beat: affordable. Give them a chance before writing them off as boring and the regrets will dissipate faster than your bank account has time to cry.

10 Ways to Sell Handmade Creations

Are you a crafting fiend with an obsession for DIY projects? Crafting is a hobby that many people enjoy because it is relaxing and a way to express yourself! If you have a passion for crafting and making your own creations, wouldn’t it be awesome if you could make some money at the same time? We have found some great websites and resources available to help you sell your works of art! If you have a love for creating and crafting, check out these platforms that help you get your handmade items out for the world to love and buy.

  1. Absolute Arts. This website is perfect for artists and sculptors! It is free to sign up, and you can list up to 20 pieces of art for free. They have a huge community of artists and even help with marketing your items.
  2. ArtFire. This is a pretty well-known website and community for artists and creators to sell their products! They have boutique accounts for more commercial products, and also handmade artisan shops with one-of-a-kind items. They offer free seller accounts with various upgrades that you can purchase as you become more experienced.
  3. Craft fairs or farmers markets. Most cities have multiple craft fairs or weekly farmers markets that are great opportunities for local crafters and artists to set up a booth and sell their creations. Do a google search for your area and you can easily find how to sign up to become a vendor!
  4. Cratejoy. This is a little different than the others because it turns your products into subscription boxes! Subscription boxes are becoming more and more popular, and this website helps you get your small business started by creating your own subscription boxes with your items and reaching a wide audience of customers.
  5. eCrater. Here, you can create your own online store for selling your items – for free! It’s very easy to set up and you can customize the website and add your own logo and photos.
  6. Etsy. If you haven’t heard of Etsy, you’re missing out! Etsy is probably the biggest online shop for handmade, one-of-a-kind products. You can find almost anything on there and it reaches a wide variety of needs and people. It is great for crafters who want to try to sell their work because you can set your own prices and sell as many items as you want. It is free to open up a shop, and while there are some listing fees, they are pretty small.
  7. Facebook Marketplace. Facebook is such a great way to reach a lot of people, and the Marketplace feature helps you sell items when you don’t really know where else to go yet and are just getting started. It also targets your specific location, making it easy to find people near you who want to buy your products!
  8. iCraft. For the crafters who make their own unique creations from scratch, this is the website for you! iCraft is only for original, handmade creations – they do not allow vintage items or commercial products. They offer resources and tools to get your small business going and give sales tips if needed. You can start selling on here for just $5 a month, with multiple business plans to choose from.
  9. Shopify. This is another great option for your creations! For just $9 a month, you can create your own online store and customize the theme. They offer many helpful resources and tips for how to start your own small business, such as creating a logo and building your online presence.
  10. You Can Make This. This website is also different from the others because instead of selling your items, you are creating tutorials on how to make different kinds of handmade items and then selling the tutorial! Your product/idea has to get approved, but then you can start creating your tutorial and including all of the details for this product. People can purchase your tutorial online and you make 50% of the sales.

Eating Healthy on a Budget

Healthy food can be expensive, especially as a college student on a budget. It can be so tempting to drive through your favorite fast food place when you’re tired or need something quick. But I promise, there are plenty of tips and tricks to eat healthy while also being smart with your money! Here are some money saving ways to trade in that Big Mac for some nutrient-packed goodness.

Plan Out Your Meals Ahead of Time

Take an hour each week to plan all your meals, and make a grocery list based on that. This way, you only get exactly what you need instead of items you won’t use and waste money!

And stick to this plan when you get to the grocery store: don’t give in to an impulse buy or random junk food.

Cook Larger Meals

When you cook larger portions, you can save the leftovers. Invest in some plastic containers and keep your leftover food for lunches or dinners on days when you’re in a hurry. This will replace those frantic stops at a drive-thru!

Buy in Bulk

Many grocery stores are adding bulk food sections, where you can get large quantities of certain items at cheap prices.

Food like grains, rice, oats, nuts, and snack mixes are healthy options that can be used in many recipes and last a long time when stored in airtight containers!

Take Advantage of Frozen Produce

Fresh fruits and veggies are optimal, but can sometimes be expensive when it’s not in season. Canned produce is full of preservatives and often has less nutritional value.

When produce is out of season or more expensive, go check the frozen section! Frozen fruits and veggies can be used year-round, steamed with your meals, or thrown into a delicious smoothie.

Get Creative with Your Protein

Replacing meats with other proteins a couple times a week can save you money. Try opting for other healthy protein sources like eggs, beans, nuts, quinoa, or tofu a couple times a week.

When you do buy meat, aim for healthier types like turkey, fish, and chicken instead of red meat and cured items. Red meats and cured foods (like bacon and sausage) have more bad fats and preservatives than poultry, so try replacing these types of meat in your meals.

Switch to Whole Grains

They are full of fiber and help your digestive system! If you eat foods with white flour, switch to ones with whole grain: good places to start are bread and crackers. Opt for brown rice instead of white rice. These are easy switches to make that won’t change your grocery bill at all!

These are just a few tips to get started on your new healthy lifestyle, while not breaking the bank! There are many ways to save money and eat foods that are good for you and will build healthy habits through your college years!

Discounts With Your Student I.D.

College life has its ups and downs, but one major perk is all the discounts you can get with that small piece of plastic: your student ID! There are hundreds of places that offer discounts or freebies by verifying your student status. We have found 28 websites and stores that can help you save money!


Student Discounts at Retail Stores

  • Amazon: With your student email, you can get a 6 month free trial of prime, then pay 50% less than the full prime price after the trial ends.
  • Sam’s Club: Discounted membership and a $15 giftcard when you sign up.
  • J.Crew: Your student I.D. can get you 15% off full priced items online or in store.
  • Banana Republic: 15% off your full priced purchase when you show your ID in store.
  • Madewell: 15% off when you show your student I.D.
  • Kate Spade: 15% off your purchase when you sign up through UNiDAYS.
  • Levi’s: 15% off your purchase when you sign up through UNiDAYS.
  • Nike: 10% off online when you verify that you’re a student.

Student Discounts on Electronics

  • Apple: Apple offers “education pricing” for all students, even if you have just been accepted to a college. This discount can be up to 15% off Apple products.
  • Norton: Students can get 50% off protection software for your computer.
  • HP: Students can get up to 55% off select products and free shipping if you sign up through UNiDAYS.
  • Lenovo: Select your school and get up to 25% off certain brands, plus free shipping.
  • Sony: Up to 10% off products for students.
  • Adobe: Students can get up to 60% off “Creative Cloud” design software.

Student Discounts for Entertainment

  • AMC Theatres: They offer discounted student tickets on select nights when you show your I.D.
  • Spotify: With your student email address, get Spotify Premium for $5 a month (also includes Hulu and SHOWTIME).
  • Cinemark: At select Ciemark theatres, show your student ID to get discounted tickets.
  • Regal Cinemas: Certain locations offer student discounts when you show your ID. Check the list here to see if your location offers this discount.
  • Many museums or art galleries offer student discounts. Check out your local museums to see if they have any discounts for students!

Student Discounts on Food

  • These fast food restaurants offer 10% off meals at participating store locations when you show your student I.D:
    • Arby’s
    • Dairy Queen
    • Dunkin’ Donuts
    • Firehouse Subs
    • McDonald’s
  • Buffalo Wild Wings: If the university you attend is on this list, you can get a free appetizer with any $5 purchase.
  • Chick-Fil-A: You can get a free drink when you show student ID.
  • Wingstop: They run a promotional where you can get 15% off all combos Monday-Friday from 2-6pm with your student I.D.
  • Hello Fresh: 15% off every box plus free shipping when you sign up with UNiDAYS.

There are so many more student discounts out there to take advantage of! Another tip is to check out UNiDAYS, an app exclusively for college students that has TONS of discounts for restaurants, clothing stores, electronics, and more! Comment and tell us about other student discounts you’ve found!

Creating Your Own Budget

If you are starting college or moving away from home, one major change is that you have to be responsible for your money. It’s very easy to get caught up in the excitement of a new place and lose track of your spending habits! Whether you have recently left home or been on your own for a while, it is never too late to start budgeting. We want to show you how budgeting can be easy and effortless! Creating a budget and keeping track of it may take some groundwork at first, but it is all about building good habits. Here are some tips for how to lay that groundwork and get your budget started!

Discuss your budget and expenses with anyone involved, such as your parents or guardians. If anyone is giving you money each month or semester, you want to communicate with them your needs and set a solid game plan. This is also a good time to figure out the expectations: do they want you to get a job to earn some income, apply for loans for tuition, or put a certain percentage into savings? Establishing the expectations on both ends will lead to a smoother transition and all of you will feel more confident and comfortable!

List all of your income. This is great to do with your family, if they are providing you with monthly income. Take into account all ways you may be getting money: allowance from family, part-time jobs, side gigs, financial aid, savings, and any other place you have income coming from to help you live during college.

Now, list your expenses. Another topic of discussion is how the expenses will be paid for. This is an important step in communicating with family because you can figure out what money is being used for each expense. If you are unsure what all of your expenses are, track them for a month or two and start categorizing them so you can see how much you’re spending on each per month. Some common expenses for college students are:

  • School related: tuition, textbooks, school supplies
  • Living: rent, utilities, internet, insurance, cell phone, basic home and health supplies
  • Food: eating out and groceries
  • Transportation: car expenses, gas, bus system
  • Entertainment and clothing

Make sure your expenses aren’t more than your income! Add up all your monthly income and monthly expenses, and see what the difference is. You’re aiming for either breaking even or having some money left over. If your expenses are more than what money is coming in every, you need to start budgeting and cutting back! An easy way to start this is by monitoring your spending by checking your bank accounts, credit card statements, or apps like LearnVest or Mint. Apps like this are linked to your bank accounts and automatically put purchases in various folders so you can see exactly how much you’re spending on each category. (See the end of the post for a list of great apps for budgeting!) This can help you figure out areas you can cut back on, such as eating out less per month or finding cheaper solutions to your groceries and supplies.

It’s never too early to think about the future! If you are able, it’s always a good idea to start putting money into your savings. This can be an emergency fund, a travel fund, or saving for your future and a family. Even if it’s small, every little bit helps!

Now that you have clear expectations and goals for where your money needs to go, your foundation is set! Building good spending habits and remembering to keep track of when you’re swiping that card are important for maintaining your budget going forward. Here are a few great apps to help with this and keep you accountable, since it is sometimes hard to keep track of it all!

5 Great Budgeting Apps for College Students

  1. LearnVest: This app links to your bank account and categorizes your purchases into various folders like Groceries, Entertainment, Living, or ones you create yourself.
  2. Mint: This app also connects to your bank account automatically updates your spending and allows you to create whatever budgets you want. It also makes sure that you never charge more than what you have on a credit card.
  3. Pocket Budget: This app shows your main budget in a pie chart and also lists your transactions. It is very straightforward and let’s you easily see what percentage of your money is going to each category of expenses.
  4. You Need a Budget: This app does all the work for you! It is based off of your personal income and “assigns” your money to specific categories, like rent, groceries, entertainment, and savings. It doesn’t leave any dollar unaccounted for, so you can make sure you’re being as effective as possible.  
  5. Wally: This app helps you track your income and expenses and shows your remaining budget so you don’t overspend.