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5 Tips for Saving Entertainment as a College Student

Catherine Landers, a graduate student at the University of Georgia, is watching something on Hulu on her laptop.

Source: Katie Creech

Personally, I’m not the type of girl who spends hundreds of dollars a month on perfumes, clothes and makeup. It is entertainment expenses that my money disappears. I love going to movies, baseball games and live theater events. I subscribe to gamers on Twitch, play video games during downtime, and read books every night before bedtime. I sometimes go to concerts with my friends, so when I don’t want to go out, I love watching something at Disney +.

All these costs will be added immediately. This is just one example. I have three roommates who have lived together for a month and noticed that they all pay for a Netflix subscription, even though they have only one TV. Not only that, there are 4 Prime accounts, 3 Hulu accounts, 2 HBO Max, and Disney +. In total, as an apartment, the streaming service alone pays over $ 1,500 a year!

And this contributes to the bigger problem: streaming fatigue. Following Standard 5 for Prime, Netflix, Hulu, HBO Max and Disney +, there are now numerous options such as Peacock, Paramount + and all other streaming services. With all these choices, choosing the one you intend to spend your money on is exhausted.

“When streaming first started, it was a great way for people to reduce their cable bills. It was a great option for those who didn’t see the cable,” said Element Financial’s young adult financial adviser and associate financial planner. Said Catie Hogan. group. “But slowly, but surely, I might have disconnected the cable, but I’ve replaced everything with a million subscriptions, so I can’t save money.”

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And as college students, we don’t have enough money! This only makes everything worse. On average, people under the age of 25 earn $ 2,500 a month, of which $ 1,730 is spent on housing, food, clothing and transportation, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Of the remaining $ 770, more than $ 100 is spent on entertainment. This is a significant amount of your monthly discretionary budget. Fortunately, there is a way to reduce the money we spend and still have all the fun!

Here are five tips to help you save money on entertainment as a college student.

1. Budget and maintain.

Budgeting is one of the most useful tools in the arsenal of financially responsible people. Budgeting and maintaining helps track expenses and, when done correctly, can be used for planning such as savings and debt repayment.

The first step in making a budget is to decide what will fit in your budget. Make a list of planned and required expenses such as rent payments, car payments, groceries, tuition fees, etc. Then list all the money that comes in from how money gets into your wallet, including jobs, scholarships, grants, parental assistance, and more.

From there, make a budget. From templates to descriptive articles, there are many useful tools online. Think about which one is best for you. My personal favorite is Google Sheets or Excel. By leveraging the tools built into spreadsheet software, I have been budgeting and maintaining for the past five years.

Catherine Landers, a graduate student studying marketing research at the University of Georgia, said: “Part of reducing spending is knowing how much you will spend.”

Landers recommends looking for bundled transactions to save money. The first service she subscribed to was Hulu with Spotify.

Source: Katie Creech

2. Identify all entertainment costs and what you pay for what you don’t use.

If you’re not ready to budget, that’s fine. Budgeting can be a daunting task, but as you approach adulthood, it’s necessary for financial security. A smaller version of this is to determine all entertainment costs and identify what you are paying for what you are not using. If you know exactly what your monthly payments are, it’s much easier to plan those costs and incorporate them into your monthly payments to reduce everything you don’t need.

“List everything you subscribe to, such as streaming, magazines, etc. After listing everything, organize your list from the ones you enjoy the most to the least important ones you may not remember. “Hogan said.

Identify everything that could be called entertainment, not just streaming services like Netflix and Hulu. Add music, games, reading, sporting events, whatever you think is entertainment or fun to this list.

“We’re not keeping our budget, but we’re tracking spending,” said Colin Toss, a graduate student studying marketing research at the University of Texas at Arlington. “I was attending a personal finance course. They emphasized tracking your spending and knowing the data.”

Colin Toth, a graduate student at the University of Georgia, says she has signed up for Amazon Prime Student. He likes to get free shipping in addition to Prime Video.

Source: Colin Toth

And suppose you’re paying these costs every month to make a budget. There may not be any concerts, live musicals or movies scheduled to go this month. Maybe the next video game you want to play or the book you want to read won’t come out until next month. But if you plan to spend that money every month, you don’t have to avoid it when it comes and be prepared for it.

I have a friend who didn’t realize he was paying for two different music subscriptions and a friend who was paying for the streaming service he used for one show. I have friends who just buy movie theater subscriptions or concert tickets and ask someone if they want to go because they didn’t have the time or didn’t want to go. In my freshman year, I had a season ticket for a soccer and basketball game at college and I didn’t want to go so I sold everything except four. It has spent too much unnecessary money!

“As a student, think about the shows you watch most often and the platforms that have them,” Landers said. “Evaluate what you use most and spend your money on them.”

Identifying the entertainment that spends money makes it easier to reduce those costs. Choose one music service such as Spotify, Amazon Music, Apple Music, etc. If you don’t go to every game or show, consider buying a separate ticket instead of a Season Pass. Are you using Netflix for “Seinfeld” or “Office”? Consider canceling your subscription and saving it for a box set or digital copy instead. “It’s very easy to lose track of what we’re spending money on,” Hogan said. “We inventory every 6 months to 1 year. Know which subscriptions you are using and which ones you are not actually using.”

Knowledge is power, and if you know what to use, you can limit what you use.

3. Find student-only, discounted, and unconventional ways to save money.

Everyone knows that college students tend to have no money. As a result, corporate officials often have mercy on us and do not force us to pay the same arms and legs that we charge adult counterparties. Personally, I know that my university offers discounts on Hulu and HBO Max, and offers Xfinity to people on campus for free.

My friends and I love going to movies, and last month we went to 7 different movies in our favorite theater. If I had paid for the ticket every time, I would have spent at least $ 125 per ticket before parking, popcorn and all the other costs.

But we didn’t spend much. Why? We have all signed up for the AMCA-List. For $ 25 a month, you can watch as many as 12 movies, including IMAX, 3D, and all the different varieties. If you watch two movies, it’s paid. It’s worth it.

Look for these types of discounts, especially education and student discounts. This often saves more than half the cost of the service. Look for bundles such as Hulu, Disney +, ESPN +, etc. “The first service I received was Hulu with Spotify,” Landers said. “Take advantage of the bundle and being a student to get these discounts.”

Consider using a service with ads instead of without ads to save a few dollars. Find a subscription or season ticket package that will save you money on what you’re always doing. Phone plans that include streaming and music services are another way to save money. If you’re paying for your mobile phone, you can upgrade to a plan that includes Netflix, Disney +, Apple Music, or a variety of other services. It costs much less than you would pay for each of these individually.

Such a small thing can save you a lot of money. The unconventional way is your best friend and discounts are everywhere if you’re happy to see!

4. Go to the library!

This is my favorite and may be the most important list tip. The best discount in the world is 100% off. Go to the library — it’s free! As a broken college student, nothing is better than not having to pay for something.

“I admit that I haven’t used the library for a long time. There’s definitely a stigma that it’s what I did when I was a kid,” Toss said. “I think I’m still thinking that way. It’s hard to see it as a resource for someone of my age.”

Library cards have a long term, never expire, are available for free, and have access to hundreds of books, games, movies, CDs, and more. Instead of buying a digital or DVD copy of a movie, you often check out a DVD copy of the movie. I’m an avid reader, and if I buy every book I get from the library, it costs hundreds of dollars. Even video games for consoles are there!

Currently, all libraries have a limit on the number of items you can check out at one time. However, these limits are usually high and are not the barriers possible. And more and more libraries are abolishing late fees and encouraging them to use the services offered by patrons.

Seriously, as a student, the public library is your best friend to eliminate so many entertainment-related costs.

5. Focus on value-based spending for entertainment.

“You’re going to understand what your fixed costs are. You have to pay your rent, utilities, etc. But you can open up a discretionary budget,” Hogan said. Told. “Evaluate what your discretionary money brings you joy, and what you spend your money on to improve your life.”

Instead of trying to set a fixed limit on what you can spend on a particular thing, try to focus more on why you are buying something. Does the experience of reading the book or playing the video game bring joy and excitement to your life?

Also, look for services that offer additional benefits.

“I got the Amazon Prime Video that came with Prime students because it’s not the only benefit of TV,” Toss said. “There is also free shipping. I thought it was more valuable to Amazon than Netflix and other services.”

A true focus on why you buy something can help you save money. Personally, when thinking about why you should buy something, you can save money by thinking a little more about why you want to get something.

Hogan suggests asking himself some questions. “What are you passionate about? What do you really like, bring joy, bring happiness?”

“Maximize your discretionary budget for what brings you the greatest value and what brings you the greatest joy,” Hogan said. “It doesn’t matter what your discretionary budget is. I want you to maximize the joy it brings to you. Reduce the cost of adding nothing to your life.”

CNBC’s “University voiceIs a series of articles about CNBC internships at universities across the country getting a college education, managing their money, and starting their careers at these extraordinary times. MJ lock A recent graduate of Indiana University Bloomington, he has been an intern on CNBC’s Golden Time promotion team, working on promotions such as “Shark Tank” and “Mad Money.”Series is edited by Cindy Perman..

5 Tips for Saving Entertainment as a College Student

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