College Girls Guide: Going Out on a Budget

Going Out on a College Budget

We’ve all been there: you and your friends are fantasizing about how “great” the approaching weekend is gonna be, especially after a long week of hard work. There is a world of opportunities standing in front of you, and all the fun gets to start right after you get out of class or work Friday afternoon. Your friends start with the big ideas: one says, “Hey, why don’t we get all dressed up to hit up the club scene?” You begin to consider this idea, but then you realize that you are completely broke until your next check – and clubs cost $$$. After a few moments, your more artsy friend chimes in with, “Ohh wait! There’s supposed to be a few debuts going on this weekend! Why don’t we all go see a play or a show somewhere?” You slightly cringe at this idea, and begin to slowly reach down and let your hand rest on your pocket. Shows and plays cost even more money than getting into the club… and you are still as broke as you were a minute ago.

You all dwell quietly on that last idea for a few moments until your other friend that’s always on the newest diet craze adds, “OMG you guys we have to go try this new, fancy little Mediterranean restaurant that just opened up downtown! I’m literally starving and olives are supposed to be like a superfood or something.” At this point you have pulled out your wallet and are observing the cobwebs and dust that have surrounded the dollar bill and two nickels you’ve kept in there “for a rainy day”. What should you do? Well that’s where I come in.

First of all, don’t buy into the hype. Don’t compare what you’re spending to your friends. If you can’t ball out like everyone else, then ball out in your own way. It shouldn’t be a competition about who can spend the most money, it should be a competition about who can manage their money the best! (ok, that was really nerdy, but you know what I mean.) College is when you really learn how to manage your money on your own, like an adult. You do not need to go broke, or even spend a lot of money to have a fun Friday night with the crew. Here are some tips that will protect your wallet and still let you have some great Friday night fun!

  • BE EXACT. If you happen to be working with a little more than a dollar bill and two nickels, just make sure that you don’t bring any more cash than you can actually spend. If you do, you’re basically setting yourself up to fail! Put yourself on a budget, and only bring what you need.
  • STAY IN. If you know you can’t afford to go out, try to have a movie night instead or a sleepover. Those can be just as fun, without making you spend any money you don’t actually have – and those who are of age, bring some wine or champs ;).
  • SWIP IT. You can also take the subway (public transportation) wherever you’re going since it’s significantly cheaper than a cab. Or, on that same note, you can go places you can walk to so that you don’t have to spend travel money at all!
  • DINE IN. You and your friends can also plan to have a Potluck Dinner where everyone brings in their own little dish. Cooking is always cheaper than eating out. You guys can also try finding Opening Events for restaurants or clubs where they pass out free horderves and drinks.

In the end, just remember: You’re a student! It’s normal to have those weekends where you can’t really afford to ball out like that. As long as you apply these tips, and save and plan ahead with your finances, then you should never have a dull Friday night because of a lack of $$$!

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