This is a blog post from Mollie A., our Northern Michigan University Campus Ambassador! If you go to Northern Michigan University and want to blog for our site, then comment below!
With summer coming to a faster than expected close, something that is constantly on my mind is the question – Did I save enough money this summer to keep me afloat when school starts in the fall? – Schedules get tighter when the leaves start to fall and there is less time to make money and more opportunities to spend it. Whether you spent the summer at a paid internship, unpaid internship, or just plain working like I did, money becomes tight after that fall tuition bill is paid. With only a little bit of panic involved, here are a few things that I am doing NOW during the final days of my summer to make sure that all ends meet in September.
- Reel in an on campus job. – I’ve worked in my university’s bookstore for over a year now and I love it. Not only do I make some cash, but the people who work there understand that I am a student first and an employee second, which makes it easy for me to get time off for school functions like conferences, volunteer opportunities, and, of course, internships! But the time to get your on campus job is NOT the first week of classes when the rest of the multitudes realize they spent all their moolah on ice cream and tanning lotion this summer. Check your school’s job opportunities now and let them know you are interested right away. The less that your employer has to worry about during the crazy first few weeks of classes, the better!
- Ditch the weekend road trip plans and have fun close to home. – At home for the summer? Interning in a big city? Hanging out near your university? No matter where you are, you can take a mini vacation and avoid putting gas in that fancy little car of yours. In Marquette, Michigan (where I am this summer) we have beautiful beaches along Lake Superior that people from all over the country come to see – and I get to live here year-round! Make sure to take advantage of what you have right in your back yard. It will save you big $$$!
- Make dinner, don’t buy it. – I live in a house with four roommates. Needless to say, we like to have dinner together a lot. Instead of going out to eat or going out for a drink, we stay in and hang out. Making dinner together saves money and is actually a lot more fun! And for those of you who like to get your drink on, it can be expensive! Stay in and have margarita night with your friends – Most of the time it turns out to be a whole lot more memorable, anyway!
- Get rid of the shopping bug. – OK, if you need to save some money, then you might need to get off of your high horse. I will admit right here and now that some of my best clothes come from the thrift store! I know that some of you may think that shopping at the thrift store is below you, but if it’s really that big of a deal, then nobody has to know. I honestly get the most compliments on things that I’ve found at the thrift store. I take pride in telling people about the deals I score! I’ve found SO many stylish blazers for cheap that are even worthy of wearing to an interview or business meeting – some with brand name tags still attached!
- Mommy and Daddy to the rescue! – Let’s not forget parental hand outs. When you go home to visit the family before heading back to campus, make sure you offer to go to the grocery store or the mall with Mom. Whether it’s an entire stock room of groceries or some new dress clothes for your internship, parents are usually more than happy to help their kids out (especially if they know you have been working hard all summer). Here’s a rule that I live by – free stuff is worth paying for. Take what you can get!
There are bunches of other things that you can do to stash some cash away for the back-to-school season. Just don’t waste time – start saving this summer before it’s too late!