Often times, college is the first place that many people have to manage their money on their own. When I got to college I thought $150 was a lot. Until I realized that $50 went to groceries. Eating on campus for the week was another $40. All the fun things my friends wanted to do took away $30 more, and God forbid I had to buy something for school or had a doctor’s appointment that week, that usually cost me another $20. After that, I was left with $10 and a lot of questions as to where all my money went. It didn’t take long for me to realize that I needed to develop healthy spending habits. I did some research, and made a lot of phone calls to my mom, and discovered some easy ways to save money in Gainesville.
One of the first things I discovered was all the Facebook groups for UF students. There was a group for almost every class and for people buying and selling things. I realized that these pages were huge gold mines. Checking these pages once a week will give you tons of buying options for anything from appliances to clothing. There also a great place to buy old textbooks and discounted Smokin’ Notes, which we all need for a healthy semester. Instead of spending around $100 on that professional outfit for Career Showcase, there are several students who sell their business professional outfits that no longer fit them or they just don’t want anymore. Subscribing to these pages will give you first dibs on items you’ll get notifications as soon as someone posts something.
A huge money saver that most students ignore is the Gator Greenbacks coupon book. This is literally free money people! It gets sent out to everyone in the area so even if you don’t live on campus or just graduated and are no longer a student, you won’t miss out on this great opportunity. The pamphlet has coupons for almost every restaurant in Gainesville, on and off campus. They also last for months, as most of them don’t expire until the end of the semester which is when the new pamphlets are sent out. Holding on to one of these will save you hundreds on eating out, so going out with friends or eating on campus during the week won’t be as expensive as you think it would.
Gator Bucks is a great website that also offers coupons. Unlike Gator Greenbacks, Gator Bucks offers coupons for things other than just food. They offer specials on haircuts, gym memberships, tutoring services and even scooters. You can find great deals for food on the site as well. It’s a great site to check out if you’re looking to do something a little out of your budget without going way over it. Things like haircuts and tutoring fees are often overlooked when planning out your spending, so finding a way to save money while getting them done is always great.
Gainesville isn’t the cheapest place to live, and if this is your first time managing money on your own it can all feel very overwhelming. These are just a few ways to save money on a day to day basis. Coupons can go a long way, and there is no shame in getting second-hand dorm necessities or clothes you’ll only wear once or twice every semester. In the end, every dollar counts, so save them where you can!