Coming into college I knew I had saved up some money from working summer jobs and was looking forward to using that money at as many places I possible could. Coming to college I realized I had to change that mindset, or rather learn how to budget better. I never realized just how expensive textbooks could be! Something I really liked about ISU was their Course Reserve which is where you can check out a textbook for two hours and read the chapter in the library so you don’t have to pay or a textbook you only read about 3 chapters from. Sadly, there are still textbook prices you can’t get away from like online-only math labs or certain textbooks that are older and may not be on course reserve. So, I immediately tried my best to find books that I could rent off of Chegg or search the Facebook Marketplace in search of a cheaper copy. These textbooks automatically made a dent in my finances, but I still had enough to do fun activities on the weekends and hang out with friends! One tip I would give to incoming freshmen is that you are probably going to spend more money than you think you will and that’s ok! The key, however, is making sure you know how to budget that money. From going out to eat with friends on the weekend to local trips to the grocery store, there will constantly be something for you to spend your money on. A new development I discovered was DoorDash. When you’re at home you never really have to worry about not liking the food at home because you can always drive and get something different. Not having a car on campus and the food in the dining hall not having anything I like equals DoorDash. All of these purchases can be managed however to fit any budget! My favorite thing about campus is that our University Programing Board does a great job of planning free events like stuffing your own stuffed animal or socially distanced movies which have been amazing. To manage money on food I like to budget a specific amount for the weekend and make small replacements like ordering water instead of soda. You’ll also find that a lot of stores/restaurants on college campuses have student deals that they like to offer which is definitely a perk! A pizza place here has a $5 student pizza buffet which is amazing on the weekends. Avanti’s has a lunch special for $6 where you get chips, a sub, and soda. A lot of retailers also offer students discounts like Nike, Spotify, and a couple of thrift stores also offer an extra 10-15% off discount for students which is super helpful. You can really make your money last if you budget it right and either way, you’ll still be having fun with your friends!

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