At Fizz, we know just how expensive college can be. You have to pay tuition, then you have to pay for books, then you have to pay for groceries, rent, transportation, your social life, and everything else you want and need to do. It’s not cheap, and every dollar counts. That’s why it’s so important to find ways to save money at every turn - from finding out how to save money at move in to using your Fizz card to earn cash back when you spend.
Whether you’re a first year or a senior, figuring out how to save money and budget when moving in for a new year of college is a great way to set the tone for the year. Let’s take a closer look at what you can do to survive the first couple of weeks with money still in your pocket.
Before you start shopping it’s important to build a budget. This involves knowing how much you are able to spend but also how much you want to spend. Just because you can afford something, doesn’t mean you should buy it. It’s always important to ask yourself what you really need. It can help to make a list of things you need before you spend a dollar.
Overspending is an issue that plagues many young adults and college students, and building a budget for yourself is a great way to avoid it. Fizz makes budgeting easier by helping you see how much you’re spending and how much you have left - unlike a credit card that can surprise you with a big bill at the end of the month. Plus, Fizz helps you build your credit score, which can save you money in the long run.
Saving at the source
Just because you need things that might typically be expensive doesn’t necessarily mean you need to spend lots of money to get them. For example, you can save a lot of money by bringing items from home that your family doesn’t use anymore. It’s always worth taking a look around your garage or attic to see what treasures you might be able to find. While it doesn’t have to be a rule, it’s usually best to avoid brand new decor if you’re trying to save a penny - new furniture can be particularly expensive.
There are other ways to save on the essentials before you ever need to hear to a store:
If you decide to live in an apartment with multiple roommates, you’ll probably end up sharing a lot. Why not split the cost with them too?
As each semester ends, students begin to throw out old furniture and living essentials that they didn’t end up having a use for. You might want to scrub things down, but free is free!
Buying in bulk
For items you know you will be using frequently (toilet paper, dish soap, etc.), make sure to buy them in bulk to save money in the long run.
If you have things sitting around your own house, chances are that friends and family members do to. See if they’re willing to part with any old essentials - you can even negotiate a fair price. If that doesn’t work, people tend to give things away or sell them for cheap on sites like Facebook Marketplace or craigslist. These platforms tend to provide an incredibly wide variety of different furniture options that are very affordable.
You’ll also want to explore college Facebook groups where students just like you sell things for really cheap throughout the year - especially at the end of the semester as people clear out their apartments and are willing to part with belongings for next to nothing. Sourcing from other students has the added benefit of drop off and pick up options that will usually be pretty near where you live.
Second hand stores and DIY
If you are struggling to find anything on Facebook marketplace, second hand stores like Goodwill or Salvation Army can make for great second options. These stores can have a lot to offer and usually at great prices. One drawback, however, is that these stores might be a little farther from campus.
DIY projects are another solid option, and you don’t have to be a carpenter to make something work. There are plenty of DIY furniture ideas you’ll be able to find on the internet, and usually all you need is some cheap materials like paint, wood, and nails. Wine crates as a bedside table? Turning a couple chairs into a bookshelf? Go crazy! You never know what you might be able to create.
When it comes to the less tangible elements of college move in, there are lots of freebies, discounts, and promos to take advantage of. From the Spotify student discount to free Amazon Prime, lots of companies offer free trials and discounts for students - you just have to search for them. Fizz is one such company, offering cash back at many of your favorite spots both online and around campus.
While saving a few dollars on a Spotify subscription might not sound like a whole lot, every little bit counts. Once you start tallying up everything you’ve saved, you’ll be glad you took the initiative.
How Fizz can help
If you’re not careful, moving into college can get expensive fast. It’s helpful to have something that allows you to take a step back and fully evaluate your spending situation - and Fizz is here to help.
With a Fizz card, your purchases are paid off daily and you won’t have to worry about overspending. This gives you a better handle on your finances and more of an ability to budget for your move-in costs.
Fizz also offers countless cash back opportunities so that you can save even more money. We partner with brands and merchants that you already know, use, and love so that you can earn rewards whether you’re shopping online or running out to grab a coffee.
Fizz is the perfect way to help you budget, earn rewards, and save money. And you’ll be building your credit and setting yourself up for your financial future as well. So what are you waiting for? Fizz cards are already out there, so download the app and get yours today!
Sam is a Kenyon College alum and is head of content at Fizz. He's been a go to personal finance resource among his peers since getting his first credit card during his sophomore year of college. He hails from Washington, DC, loves all things aviation, and currently lives in Los Angeles.