A Penny Saved is a Penny Earned

Beat that broke feeling by following these simple fixes that can mean money in the bank for students.

A Penny Saved is a Penny Earned

As students, we tread a middle ground – while we are responsible for paying for much of our desires, we also have limited opportunities to make money. This situation, coupled with the fact that most of us have little experience in managing money well, can often lead to students lamenting the fact that they’re “broke.”

However, through simple changes, like taking advantage of discounts, packing your own food and drinks, finding low- or no-cost options, and intentionally reasoning through purchases, you can learn to be a better steward of your money.


The Early Bird Gets the Discount

It’s important to take notice of “early bird” -type discounts, such as those for registering for events. Going to church camps, school banquets and summer programs can be more affordable if you take advantage of early bird pricing, especially if you know for sure you will be attending the event well in advance.

When it comes to going to the movies, there are several ways to save including early bird pricing. Going to see a movie at its first showing of the day with a group of friends or early in the evening can save you a few dollars. Seeing a movie on Tuesdays, when theaters usually have a “discount day,” can also save cash. Additionally, if you’re looking to save big bucks, check out a local dollar theatre – such as Cinemark Movies 10 at Coit and Park. Though you might have to wait a few weeks after the general theatre stops showing the movie, you can see blockbusters for as little as $1.25.

Cinemark West Plano

Early bird show – $6.50

Other afternoon shows – $9.00

Weekday evening show $10.75

Weekend evening show – $11.25

Tuesdays all day – $5.50

Cinemark Movies 10

Early bird show – $1.50

Other early afternoon shows – $2.00

Weekday evening show – $2.50

Weekend evening show – $3.00

Tuesdays all day – $1.25


Student Savings

There is another extremely simple way for students to save money – carry your student ID. Many restaurants, theatres and stores offer discounts for high school and college students who show proof of their current educational status which, depending on how you use them, can save quite a lot of cash.

Usually, stores do not publicize their student discounts, so make sure to ask about them when you check out and show your ID. This can easily help you make your spending a little more guilt-free even if you are not very good at being frugal.

A quick Google search of student discounts shows retailers including FedEx, J.Crew, Amazon Prime, Forever 21, the Apple Store and Goodwill, but you should definitely confirm with a salesperson before check out.

Senior Emily Chastain said, “If I’m being honest, saving money is definitely not a strong suit of mine. However, I don’t think I realized how many places actually have student discounts. While at FPS State in San Marcos, I got 20 percent off at a Kate Spade Outlet Store just for showing my Student ID. Heading into college next year, I know starting to find ways to save even in high school can help create desired habits for when I’m out of college.”

Practicing being conscientious with money, especially by asking about discounts, is a valuable skill useful both now and in the future, as there are many discounts available to students in college.

Purchasing a $60 dress from J. Crew with a student discount of 15 percent – save $9


Bring Your Own _________.

Did you know that the average American student spends around $30 a week eating out? That adds up to over $1,500 a year. If a student buys a water bottle and snack every day from the vending machine, that alone adds up to $60 a month.

Many of these food and drink expenses can be reduced – all it takes is some planning and effort. Stuff some snacks in your backpack or fill up a reusable water bottle before leaving the house. This comes in handy especially at school, helping you save time waiting in lines and avoiding frustration when the vending machine malfunctions.

Buying your own snacks in bulk saves money, compared to individual packs bought when eating out or in vending machines, and if you have to work or be out at lunchtime this summer, packing a lunch can dramatically reduce your food costs, with proper planning. And, you can pick what you eat.

Freshman Ishawnia Christopher said, “I enjoy packing my lunch every day because I don’t have to buy lunch. I get to choose what I eat, so I’m not as wasteful.

As an added bonus, if you’re trying to better hydrate yourself, carrying a reusable water bottle helps you drink more water, because you can refill it and can’t throw it away, unlike a half-empty plastic bottle. Senior Susan Robison said, “I love bringing my hydro flask to school. I carry it everywhere to make sure I stay hydrated, and my water stays ice cold. I’m more motivated to drink lots of water because I carry around my bottle all the time.”

Schoolyear savings

Bring your own water – save $2 a day, $40 a month

Bring your own snack – save $1 a day, $20 a month


The Best Things in Life are Free

One of the most important things to remember when it comes to saving and spending is this: it doesn’t always take a lot of money to fulfill your needs and wants. Do some research and look for alternatives that are essentially free.

For example, if you need a test prep book or sources for a research paper, don’t spend a lot of money at a bookstore; take a trip to the public library and check out books, movies, magazines, and music for free. Instead of taking an extra 10 minutes to grab Starbucks, experiment on your own making different types of coffee at home. If you have a free afternoon, wash your own car instead of paying someone else (or a machine) to do it. Plan a picnic in the park rather than heading to a restaurant.

Check out a test prep book from the library – save $16

Wash your own car – save $6


Think Before You Spend

The best way to save money is to have the right mindset. When you pull out your wallet or drop something in your shopping cart, intentionally think about why you are spending money. Often, we tend to buy something just because it looks cool or seems interesting. Try to think of three reasons for making a purchase – forcing yourself to quantitatively think through buying something will keep you from recklessly spending.

Sophomore Rebekah Bynum said, “I have never been much of an impulsive buyer but when I am, it’s online when I’m looking at random cool things. To avoid doing that, I just ask myself if what I want to buy will matter in 10 years and furthermore, in eternity.”

It can also help you to have a person you are accountable to regarding spending. Knowing you have to answer to someone for your financial decisions may give you an incentive to spend wisely and help you use your money more efficiently.

Senior Elijah Dominguez said, “To avoid purchasing a non-necessity I usually have someone keep me accountable with my money. It’s always safer to have someone who can tell me ‘No’ or give advice when purchasing.”

By making intentional choices to save money means more money to spend later on. Elijah said, “Save, spend, save, there is no point to saving money if you don’t spend some every now and then. But do use cautious restraint, you still have a future to prepare for.”

Learning to save lays the foundation for a financially sound future, and it can start with simple things like carrying around your student ID.