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5 Small Changes to Save Big

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It's easy to spend a couple of dollars here and there without realizing how they add up. Before you know it, finances can be pretty tight.

Use these tips to help you make small changes that can save big money over time.

1. Make your own coffee.

Day-to-day caffeine runs can add up quickly. Instead of $4 or $5 dollars for a large gourmet takeout coffee, spend less than a dollar per cup to make your own. Your favorite coffee chain might even have a brew-at-home version available at the grocery store.

2. Skip the fast food.

An average fast food meal costs $6 or more. Eating on your meal plan instead for four meals a month saves at least $24 a month and $288 a year outright. Even replacing four fast food meals a month by eating at home is cheaper, saving approximately $192 per year. If you tend to order a bacon cheeseburger and fries, your health may benefit from more nutritious meals as well.

3. Stay home on date night.

Renting or streaming an inexpensive movie instead of going to the theater can save approximately $7.50 per person for each movie. If you and your significant other see a movie every other week, that's a savings of about $200 a year for each of you.

4. Drop the Wi-Fi subscription.

If your campus and local gathering spots offer free Wi-Fi, you may not need to pay for a separate internet service. Even less expensive plans run around $40 a month. Drop it and save nearly $500 over a year.

5. Work part-time.

Working just 10 hours a week at minimum wage lets you bring in more than $2,400 a year. Plus, you gain valuable experience to improve your chances of landing a great job after college.

See more tips (PDF) on how to save money in college.

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