10 More Ways to Waste Money In College 11

A few month ago I published a very popular post called “12 Ways To Waste Money In College“.  Because of that post’s popularity, I have decided to write a continuation of it.  Today, I explain ten more ways that college students often waste money.  Avoid these dangerous money drains!

DVD Rental

DVD Stack

Many people spend more money than they realize “occasionally” renting a DVD from their local movie store.  The seemingly small costs add up quickly over time, and many people would be surprised by how much it really costs.  If you want to rent DVDs, find some service with a small monthly fee, such as Netflix, or, better yet, get them for free from your local library.

Cable TV

Flat Screen TV

You really don’t want me to get started on the worthlessness, even dangerousness, of television.  Besides the hazard of the mind-numbing, morals-destroying stuff that comprises the average TV show, the exorbitant cost should be prohibitive.  Do you really want to spend hundreds of of dollars every year to buy something that will keep you from studying?  If, however, you do still watch TV, at least don’t pay for cable TV.  With the advent of the internet, you can get virtually every TV show you want online.

Buy a New Car

New Car Show

Getting a new car will continue to waste your money for years after the purchase.  Unlike most other purchases which take money you have, this purchase takes money you do not even have yet.  If you are ever tempted to buy a new car, simply find a few friends who are still paying off expensive car loans and ask them what they think about buying new cars.  The almost unanimous regret of most new car “owners” (really the loan companies are the owners) should be enough to deter you.

Cigarettes

No Smoking

Not only is smoking an unhealthy and time-stealing habit, but it also is an enormous money sink.  When comparing purchasing cigarettes to buying a new car, a new car is actually the better option!  With a new car, the loan is eventually payed off, but smokers are forced to pay for the cigarettes plus cigarette-induced health problems.

Bottled Water

Bottled Water

Many people drink bottled water because the tap water in their area tastes too disgusting.  Although strangely-flavored tap water can be a problem, there are less expensive ways to solve the difficulty.  If your water does not taste too bad, you can try to get used to it.  If, however, the water does taste too bad (as is often the case), you can install a water filter or use a pitcher filter.  Compare the costs in money and time and decide which option will be best for you.

Postage

Stamps

With the cost of stamps rising slowly but surely, postage is becoming more expensive than many realize.  If you only send three regular sized envelopes each week, you are paying $68.64 cents every year.  Try to move most of you communication to email and only send physical messages occasionally.

Bounced Checks

Checks

Simply not realizing how much money is in your bank account can cost a lot of hard earned money.  Bounced checks are especially hard to avoid for college students, because students rarely have a large buffer in their bank accounts.  To avoid bounced checks, maintain a strictly accurate record and verify the amount of money in your checking account at least once a week.

Throwing Away Leftovers

Refrigerator

Amazingly, many students (and other people) actually through away their leftover food after a meal!  By saving this food, you can often get two meals out of one, or at least have some food handy for snacks.

Energy Drinks

Energy Drinks

The newest fad in the sports field, energy drinks are worst than a waste of money.  If you do not really need all that extra energy, where do you think it will go?  That’s right, it will be used to help build a “spare tire”.  Think about it, you would be actually paying to become fat – not the best choice.  If you really do need the energy, but you also need your money, try out some alternative ways to boost your energy.

Disposable Razors

Razor

Instead of paying for expensive razor blades, only to soon throw them away, you would be better off investing in a high-quality electrical razor that will last probably last more than a decade.  Although the up-front cost will be higher, the long-term benefits in finances and the immediate benefit in a more comfortable shave will be worth it.

Hopefully, avoiding these ten money drains will help improve the health of your pocketbook.  What is the biggest money waste you have noticed?

Note: Don’t forget to enter in the HP Back To School Computer Giveaway!  It ends on Friday, September 4th.

Pictures by Wade Griffith Designs, Amazon, MilwaukeeAutoShow,

11 thoughts on “10 More Ways to Waste Money In College

  1. Reply Sudeep Sep 2,2009 8:11 AM

    Hello ,
    Nice article and yes all hold true to save money .I have some more ideas which I have tried here is the list .
    1] DVD : the local library in Canada do have some good collection too .Please check it out that, no need renting any movies too .
    2] Meals : Planning atleast 6 days meal in advance ,can solve a lot of problem … left over always can be considered to be used in some way or other in the next day meal .
    3] Cable TV: If you have computers and internet who needs cable tv .. personally enjoy lots of stuff on computer rather than actually paying for the tv . Good matches can be watched at the local bar .. just with our regular meals and stuff ..

    Regards

  2. Reply Stephanie PTY Sep 2,2009 8:17 AM

    While I agree with you on nearly all of these, I’m not so sure about DVD rentals. Maybe it’s just my experience, but I knew very few people who used DVD rentals in college. There seemed to be three types of people at my school:

    80%: Downloaded their movies illegally. Yeah, it was a tech school.
    15%: Wasted a ton of money buying DVDs and building up a huge collection. A collection which had to be moved every year when summer came along, and which is now becoming outdated because of Blu-ray discs.
    4%: Used the free video “rentals” available at our school library. They didn’t have the newest stuff, but between the library’s collection and the Residence Hall Associations collection, there were quite a few free and legal movies to be borrowed on campus.

    Oh, and the extra 1%? I had two friends who figured out how to, between them and their roommates, keep signing up for Blockbuster Online free trials. They got those free trials for about a year without ever paying a cent for rentals. Other than that, they mostly just borrowed DVDs from that 15% that built up huge collections.

  3. Reply Nate Desmond Sep 2,2009 9:02 AM

    Good point Stephanie! I guess the point on DVDs applies more to those who buy DVDs than to those who rent them.
    I don’t watch movies much myself, so I am out of the loop on that. 😉

  4. Reply Ibrahim | ZenCollegeLife.com Sep 2,2009 4:23 PM

    As far as DVDs and Cable TV go, I use redbox and hulu.com. Redbox is where you can rent a dvd for a dollar a day, and it’s like a vending machine, so you don’t need memberships or anything like that. And I think we all know about Hulu.

    As a grown adult I still wouldn’t buy a new car.

    cigarettes and bottled water are for noobs.

    Postage? You mean for snail mail? I didn’t know people still used that. Same with checks.

    Throwing away leftovers? You might as well throw away gold.

    Energy drinks? What ever happened to the good ole days when college students just took caffeine pills? They were only 3 dollars for like 50 200mg pills!

    Finally, disposable razers? I thought college kids were supposed to be bums, that’s why I just don’t shave.

    Great post Nate, great tips, very insightful!

  5. Reply Stefan | StudySuccessful.com Sep 4,2009 1:45 AM

    I never rent DVDs, I can download them. I think it isn’t illegal in the Netherlands.
    I am against smoking and even more against bottled water. Not only the prize is high, the effects on the environment are also high. Imagine, you live in the Netherlands, you have the best tapped water in the world but you buy water which comes from springs in Switzerland. So the water needs to be shipped to the Netherlands, be packaged, be shipped to your store and you are going to buy it. This means a lot of extra trucks on the road, so a lot of extra oil spilled. Drink tapped water, it is fantastic!

    I throw away leftovers too much, I don’t keep good enough track of what is going to expire when. I will look at that!

    Nice tips Nate.

  6. Reply Tom Oct 3,2009 10:16 PM

    Decent list, but neither one listed Coffee shop type drinks…like Starbucks and all of it’s competitors…I mean $4 for coffee with whipped cream…or just some ice and sugar thrown in???? A coffeemaker is one of the best cheap purchases you can buy…

  7. Reply Nate Desmond Oct 5,2009 5:38 AM

    @ Tom

    Good point! Pre-made coffee is another great way to waste money!

  8. Reply Jon Oct 11,2009 6:18 PM

    I don’t know anyone who rents DVDs at uni – it’s just too much hassle when there are online services.

    How about takeaways? I’ve spent as much on 4 takeaways this year (2 weeks into term) as I have on the rest of my food budget. £15 on 2 pizzas? That’s quite a large sum.

  9. Reply someonelse Nov 4,2009 7:24 PM

    What about going to college is the first place, lets see you get a job after graduation. Quit now or better yet don’t go at all. I know why too many College graduates including myself(Computer Science). who are unemployed.

  10. Reply quail Nov 8,2009 9:30 PM

    Good points about the shaving. The business model for modern disposable razors is to get you to spend an astronomical amount of money on razors and for you to upgrade to the newest, most expensive thing out there.

    But I must disagree that the only way to go is with an electric razor. For me, the electric razor never did that good of a job. Even after using one in college for several years, I found that a blade worked better and faster in the end. Search out the world of double edge razors on the net. There’s hordes of people who can show you how to shave cheaply with a DE razor, and the proper shave cream. $3.00 for 10 blades that last me 4 to 6 months, and $6.00 for a tube of Proraso shave cream that lasts over a year…

  11. Reply Andrew Dec 18,2011 10:23 PM

    Another option for free TV is over-the-air antenna. I bought a decent indoor antenna that picks up 17 channels in my area (it would probably pick up even more channels in a big city). Not only is it free, but the picture quality is better than cable or satellite, because it is not compressed because there is unlimited bandwidth available. Plus, my laptop came with a built-in TV tuner, so that saves me from buying a separate TV, also.

    I totally agree with the bottled water. It is expensive and is bad for the environment.

    I don’t ever use postage. I almost always use e-mail. Or, if I need to send something across town, I just hand-deliver it.

    Regarding a new car, don’t even have a used car. I am right now going to the local community college, and my parents always have an unused car available for me to drive. When I transfer to a university, they have a deal with the public transit in which students can ride the bus for free with a Student ID. I am also planning to get a good-quality used bike, and also carpool with other students for groceries, church, etc.

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