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Monday, November 28, 2011

dot cuts back {college guide to saving money}

I'm excited for this guest post in our money saving tips series from Melissa of Simply, Melissa Ashley.  She's currently a college student and has some great ideas that translate to those of us event out of college ((as much as I hate to admit it)).  Feel free to add your own tips in the comments section or tell her how much you loved her ideas!

Hello Dot...In the City readers!  My name is Melissa and I blog over at Simply, Melissa Ashley.  I am so excited to be a part of the series that Beth is hosting about saving money because let's admit it, we all can't say no to tips about money ... the dirty, but helpful old thing. It doesn't make the world go round, but at times it does make it go more smoothly. I am currently studying Public Relations at Appalachian State, so being a college student, I've had a little glimpse about what it's like to live on a budget. A crazy one at that! Let's not even begin to talk about the loans I will have to pay back after six months of graduating (eek!).

I graduate in May (yes!) so over the course of my college career, I've had some opportunities to discover ways to save money, even on the a college budget! Hope these tips help those in college, those going into college and everyone in between!

Maybe some of you have already discovered this wonderful thing called consign, but I've recently discovered this! What's consign you ask?

This is the best way to still add things to your closet, while giving things away. First look through your closet and separate things you want to consign and donate. For consigning, pick items that are (a) name brand (b) in season (c) you think would be able to sell (d) don't have any stains/damage. Find a local consignment shop, for me it's Anna Banana's in Boone, NC, and either set-up an appointment for them to look through your clothes. Each consignment shop will vary with selling hours, etc.
How does it work? Depending on your consignment store, some will either give you the option to get cash right away for those clothes or consign, which means you will make a percentage of the sales if your item gets sold. Each consignment shop will have their own policies, but this is the best way to go. Anna Banana's gives you 40% of the sales if your item is sold within 30 days. I've had such a positive experience! This way you can rid of those clothes you never wear and buy things you know you'll wear.

2. Ignore those emails  Seriously. Nothing is worse than checking your inbox for assignments and then you run across Old Navy or J. Crew emails with their sales ...and cute sweaters. Just don't look because trust me, I am the QUEEN of justifying an online purchase! What's worse is you don't physically see the money you're spending. For some websites I have everything set-up where I just click a button...just ignore the store emails! Spam those suckers until you allow yourself some spending.

3. COOK  This may be common sense, but being in college it's almost impossible to find time for cooking, but it needs to be a priority and made into a commitment. In between classes, work, group assignments, commuting and lord knows how many other things a college student attempts to balance, we're more likely to justify fast food and the inevitable cafeteria. Try try try your best to cook! If you get a little group of friends to cook together, you can socialize and save money! Especially since most recipes have for 2-4 people, you can split the cost of ingredients and maybe only spend $3-$5. Plus, cooking is relaxing and when you're in college, you don't even know what that means. Lasagna is a great meal of choice for sharing - here's a peek into one recipe my friends and I tried that was a huge hit!

This is another recipe my friends and I tried together + loved it. Inexpensive too!

4. SWAP!  The best kinds of friends are those you can share your closet with. Haha, kidding. Kind of. My friends and I have been known to do a little thing called "retail therapy." Instead, shop in each other's closets! This way, no money is spent, you're spending time together and you've got new clothes! Voila!

Even the littliest changes in your lifestyle can change your wallet, especially in college. Just because you're not out in the "real world" making money, there are ways to build up your closet without hurting your wallet.


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