5 tips for saving money on entertainment expenses as a college student

Asia's Tech News Daily

Catherine Landers, a graduate student at the University of Georgia, watching something on Hulu on her laptop.Source: Katie Creech

Personally, I am not the type of girl to spend hundreds of dollars a month on perfume, clothes or makeup. Where my money disappears is entertainment costs. I love going to movies, baseball games and live theater events. I subscribe to gamers on Twitch, play video games in my downtime, and read a book every night before bed. I'll go to the occasional concert with my friends, and I love staying in to watch something on Disney+ when I don't feel like going out.

All these expenses add up quickly. Here's just one example: I have three roommates and a month into living together, we realized all four of us are paying for a Netflix subscription, when we only have one TV. Not only that, but we have four Prime accounts, three Hulu accounts, two HBO Max, and a Disney+. All added up, as an apartment, we're paying over $1,500 a year for streaming services alone!

And this is contributing to a greater problem — streaming fatigue. There are so many options now, what with Peacock and Paramount+ and all the other streaming services, after the standard 5 of Prime, Netflix, Hulu, HBO Max, and Disney+. With all these choices, choosing what you're going to spend your money on is exhausting.

“When streaming first started, it was a wonderful way for people to cut that cable bill. It was a great alternative for people who weren't watching cable,” said Catie Hogan, a young adult financial advisor and associate financial planner at Element Financial Group. “But slowly but surely, we may have cut cable, but we've replaced everything with a million subscriptions and we're not saving any money.”

More from College Voices:
TikTok resumes and Instagram portfolios: How college students are using social media to find jobs
How to be financially savvy and have fun in your 20s
Stress. Anxiety. Procrastination. Self-doubt. Don't fall into these traps in college

And as college students, we have little enough money as it is! Which just makes everything worse. On average, people under 25 years old earn $2,500 per month and spend $1,730 of that on housing, food, clothing and transportation, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Of the $770 that's left, more than $100 is spent on entertainment. That's a significant amount of the monthly discretionary budget. Fortunately, there are ways to cut down on the money we are spending, and still have all the fun!

Here are 5 tips to help you save money on entertainment as a college student:

1. Make and keep a budget.

Budgeting is one of the most useful tools in any fiscally responsible person's arsenal. Making and keeping a budget helps keep track of expenses, and when done correctly, can be used to plan for saving, paying down debt, and more.

The first step to making a budget is to determine what goes in it. Make lists of planned and necessary expenses, such as rent payments, car payments, groceries, tuition, etc. Then list out all incoming money, from jobs, scholarships, grants, parental assistance, any way money is ending up in your wallet.

From there, form the budget. There are many useful tools online, from templates to instruction articles. Figure out which one works best for you. My personal favorites are Google Sheets or Excel. Utilizing the built-in tools in spreadsheet software is how I've formed and kept a budget for the past 5 years.

“Make a note of everything you spend, keep it in a spreadsheet,” said Catherine Landers, a graduate student studying marketing research at the University of Georgia. “Part of spending less is being aware of how much you spend.”

Landers recommends looking for bundle deals to save money. The first service she subscribed to was Hulu with Spotify.Source: Katie Creech

2. Identify all entertainment expenses and what you pay for that you don't use.

If you're not ready to take the full step of making a budget, that's fine! Budgeting can be a daunting task, though a necessary one for financial security as one approaches adulthood. A smaller-scale version of this is to determine all entertainment expenses and identify what you're paying for that you don't use. If you know exactly how much you're paying every month, it's much easier to plan around those expenses and incorporate them into your monthly payments and to cut out anything unnecessary.

“List out everything that you subscribe to, whether it's streaming, magazines, whatever it is. List it all out, and then arrange that list from what you enjoy the most to the least important that maybe you don't even remember you had,” Hogan said.

Identify anything and everything that could be called entertainment, not just streaming services like Netflix or Hulu. Music, gaming, reading, sporting events — anything that you consider entertainment or fun — put it on this list.

“I don't keep a budget, but I do keep track of my spending,” said Colin Toth, a graduate student studying marketing research at the University of Texas Arlington. “I was in a personal finance course, and they emphasized tracking your spending and knowing the data.”

Colin Toth, a graduate student at the University of Georgia, says he signed up for Amazon Prime Student — he likes that in addition to Prime Video, he also gets free shipping.Source: Colin Toth

And for the purposes of budgeting, assume you're paying for these every month. Maybe there's no concert or live musical or movie that you're going to this month. Maybe the next video game you want to play or book you want to read doesn't come out until next month. But if you plan for spending that money every month, you're prepared for it, rather than having to work around it when one does come along.

I have friends who didn't realize they were paying for two different music subscriptions and friends who pay for streaming services they use for one show. I have friends who pay for movie theater subscriptions and concert tickets only to ask someone else if they want to go because they didn't have time or didn't want to go. My freshman year, I had season tickets to the football and basketball games at my university and sold all but 4 of them because I didn't feel like going. That's so much unnecessary money spent!

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

Once you've identified the entertainment you spend money on, it becomes easier to cut down on those costs. Pick one music service, whether that's Spotify, Amazon Music, Apple Music, whatever it may be. Consider buying individual tickets instead of a season pass if you aren't going to every game or every show. Do you use Netflix for “Seinfeld” or “The Office” and nothing else? Consider canceling the subscription and saving up for a box set or digital copy instead. “It's super easy to lose track of what we're spending money on,” said Hogan. “Take an inventory every six months to a year. Figure out what subscriptions you're using, and what you're really not.”

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

3.    Look for student-exclusives, discounts, and unconventional methods for saving.

Everyone knows college students tend to have, well, no money. So, often times corporate higher-ups take pity on us and don't make us pay the same arm and a leg they charge our adult counterparts. Personally, I know my university offers discounts on Hulu and HBO Max, and free Xfinity to those who live on campus.

My friends and I love going to the movies, and in the last month, we're been to 7 different movies at our favorite theater. If we'd paid for tickets each time, we'd have spent at least $125 apiece, before parking, popcorn and all the other expenses.

But we didn't spend that much. Why? We all signed up for the AMC A-List. For $25 a month, we can see as many as 12 movies, and IMAX, 3D, all the different kinds are included. Once we've seen 2 movies, it's paid for. SO worth it.

Look for these kinds of discounts, and especially education or student discounts, which can often save over half the cost of the service. Look for bundles, like the one for Hulu, Disney+, and ESPN+. “The first service that I got was Hulu with Spotify,” Landers said. “Take advantage of bundles and being a student and get these discounts.”

Consider using a service with ads instead of without to save a few dollars. Find subscriptions or season ticket packages that can save you money on things you do all the time. Phone plans that include streaming or music services are another way to save: If you're paying for a cell phone, chances are you can up your plan to one that includes Netflix, Disney+, Apple Music, or a whole host of other services for much less than what paying for each of these things individually would cost you.

Little things like this can save you a lot of money. Unconventional methods are your best friend, and discounts are everywhere if you're willing to look!

4.    Go to the library!

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

“I'll admit I have not used a library in a long time. There's definitely a stigma that it's something you do as a kid,” said Toth. “I guess I still think of it in that way. It's hard to see it as a resource for someone my age.”

Library cards don't expire for a long time, they're free to obtain, and they give you access to hundreds of books, games, movies, CDs, and more. I have often checked out a DVD copy of a movie instead of buying a digital or DVD copy of it. I'm an avid reader, and if I bought all the books I get from the library, the cost would be hundreds of dollars. Even video games for consoles can be found there!

Now, all libraries have limits on the number of items that can be checked out at once. But these limits are usually high and not as much of a barrier as they could be. And more and more libraries are doing away with late fees to encourage patrons to take advantage of the services they provide.

Seriously, as a student, the public library is your best friend for eliminating so many entertainment-related expenses.

5.    Focus on value-based spending for entertainment.

“You're going to figure out what your fixed expenses are. You have to pay your rent, utilities, etc. But you can carve out a discretionary budget,” said Hogan. “With that discretionary money, evaluate what brings you joy, what you spend your money on that's enhancing your life.”

Instead of trying to set a fixed limit on what you can spend on certain things, try to focus more on why you're buying something. Will the experience of reading that book or playing that video game bring joy and excitement to your life?

Also, look for services that offer extra benefits.

“The Amazon Prime Video, which came with Prime student, I got because it's not just the single benefit of TV,” Toth said. “I also get the free shipping, and I kinda viewed that as more of a value offering from Amazon than like a Netflix or some other service.”

Truly focusing on why you're buying something can help you save money. Personally, when I think through the reasons for buying something, I can save money if I spend a little more time thinking about why I want to get something.

Hogan suggests asking yourself a few questions: “What is it that you are passionate about? What is it that you really love doing, that brings you joy, that brings you happiness?”

“Maximize your discretionary budget on the things that will bring you the most value, what will bring you the most joy,” Hogan said. “It doesn't matter how much your discretionary budget is. I want you to maximize the joy it's bringing you. Cut expenses that don't add anything to your life.” 

CNBC's “College Voices″ is a series written by CNBC interns from universities across the country about getting their college education, managing their own money and launching their careers during these extraordinary times. MJ Lock is a recent graduate from Indiana University-Bloomington and an intern with CNBC's primetime promos team, where she works on promos for “Shark Tank,” “Mad Money” and more. The series is edited by Cindy Perman.

Internet Explorer Channel Network
Asia's Tech News Daily
News Related


B1.4bn approved for programmes to reduce cost of living

People queue for noodle soup at a shop in Silom that displays increased prices. (Photo: Somchai Poomlard) The cabinet on Tuesday approved the allocation of 1.48 billion baht from the ... Read more »

Some Starbucks sites cut hours, limit seating as Burger King reports weaker sales due to Omicron

Starbucks and other restaurants have learned how to operate through the pandemic and have invested in the infrastructure to revert to delivery, drive-through, or takeout as needed. Starbucks Corp. and ... Read more »

Shimao's founder offers to sell two floors at The Center in Hong Kong as developer digs into his own pockets to pare company's debt

Shimao Group’s founder is putting two floors of the world’s priciest office tower on the market for sale, as even one of China’s more restrained real estate developers digs into ... Read more »

Credit Suisse's Antonio Horta Osario resigns as chairman after violating COVID-19 rules

Photo by: Credit Suisse Website Credit Suisse’s chairman, Antonio Horta-Osorio, has tendered his resignation this week after getting involved in a controversy. The executive was said to have violated COVID-19 ... Read more »

TikTok posts feedback form under ‘localization' law, says Russian regulator

Under the law, overseas Internet companies with a daily audience exceeding 500,000 users must open their authorized representative offices in Russia Read more »

Abu Dhabi-based start-up aims to launch world's first plastics trading exchange as global companies call on governments to act

A start-up based in Abu Dhabi plans to build a global platform for trading used plastics, as more than 70 leading businesses and financial institutions call for more international government ... Read more »

Starbucks UK launches vegan tuna sandwich

Photo by: Starbucks UK Press Release Starbucks UK has unveiled a new plant-based sandwich, and it is simply called the Tu'Nah Sandwich. The new vegan sandwich option has been added ... Read more »

Chip crisis pushes European car sales to new low

Car sales in Europe fell to their lowest point since statistics began in 1990 PARIS – EU car sales fell to a new low last year as the auto sector ... Read more »

Asia shares mostly lower as investors mull likely rate hike

The Associated PressA woman wearing a face mask walks past a bank’s electronic board showing the Hong Kong share index in Hong Kong, Tuesday, Jan. 18, 2022. Asian shares were ... Read more »

Louis Vuitton closing its outlets in duty-free shops in S. Korea

Photo by: Llibert Losada/Unsplash Louis Vuitton is pulling out its stores in downtown duty-free shops in South Korea. It was revealed that the French luxury brand is closing its shops ... Read more »

Yandex, KT Corporation to launch robotic couriers in Seoul

South Korea is the first East Asian market where Yandex autonomous delivery robots will start operating Read more »

Budget 2022 | General government deficit to ease to 9.3% of GDP in FY23

Representative image The COVID-19 pandemic took a huge toll on government finances in FY2021. While a modest correction was attempted in FY2022, ICRA expects the Government of India’s (GoI’s) fiscal ... Read more »

Paytm's first investor expresses confidence in startup even as others feel party's over for the super app

Two months after Paytm sank on its first trading day following India’s biggest initial public offering, co-head of an early investor remains confident in the digital payments startup expressing zero ... Read more »

Toyota needs to build 1 million cars in March to reach annual target

Toyota Motor Corp will build 700,000 vehicles globally in February, up 10% on the year, but will still need to make a million more in March in order to reach ... Read more »

Priyanka Gandhi Vadra slams Yogi govt, urges youth to stick to agenda of employment, education in polls

Priyanka Gandhi Vadra Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi Vadra on Tuesday attacked the Yogi Adityanath government in Uttar Pradesh over the issues of employment and education, and urged the youth to ... Read more »

Asahi Super Dry is changing its beer recipe for the first time in over three decades

Photo by: Bob Jansen/Unsplash Asahi Super Dry Beer is Japan’s no. 1 and best-selling beer, and now the brewery is reformulating its recipe for the first time in 35 years. ... Read more »

Indonesia removes ban on foreign arrivals for recovery boost

FILE PHOTO: Travellers wearing protective suits are seen at the Soekarno Hatta International airport, as the country bans the arrival of travellers who have been in eight African countries to ... Read more »

Bank of Japan lifts inflation forecast, no policy change

Japan’s central bank has revised up its inflation forecast TOKYO – Japan's central bank revised its inflation forecast on Tuesday and adjusted its view of price risks, while leaving its ... Read more »

Tesla in India | States inviting Tesla to set up EV manufacturing plants

A number of Indian states have rolled out the red carpet for Elon Musk’s American electric vehicle company, Tesla, after he told a netizen that Tesla is facing challenges in ... Read more »

Buy GNA Axles: target of Rs 720: Sharekhan

Sharekhan’s research report on GNA Axles Q3FY2022 results were below expectations, marred by weak class-8 truck sales and muted growth in domestic tractors. While remaining positive on the company’s growth ... Read more »

Ducati Streetfighter V4 Review: Firing on all cylinders

There aren’t too many petrol cars in India that produce 200 hp. One of the cars that does is the Mahindra XUV700, which weighs two tonnes and still accelerates at a ... Read more »

Toyota to produce 700,000 vehicles in February

Toyota Motor Corp will build 700,000 cars globally in February, up 10% on the year, but leaving a million vehicles to be made in March if the world’s biggest carmaker ... Read more »

Renting in the free sector is rising again

“The increase is not surprising,” says Jasper de Groot, director of Pararius. “The demand is very high, and the supply is low. Then the prices rise.” The demand for rental ... Read more »

Pandemic severely dented consumer confidence in India: RBI Bulletin

Representative image. The pandemic severely dented consumer confidence in India, with sentiments of households across strata influenced by the spread of infections and fatalities, according to the January Reserve Bank ... Read more »

Hero MotoCorp stake in Ather energy to go up by 1-3% post its Rs 420 crore investment

Representative Image Hero MotoCorp’s stake in electric two-wheeler maker, Ather Energy is likely to go up by 1-3 % as a result of the company’s further investment in the EV ... Read more »

Renting in the free sector is rapidly becoming more expensive, according to Pararius

Photo: ANP In at least eleven years it has not been as expensive to rent a home in the free sector as it has been in recent months. This is ... Read more »

Nesco promoter buys a bungalow in Mumbai for Rs 93 crore

Representative image The promoter of diversified firm Nesco, who is also a director of Chandler & Price (India) Pvt Ltd, has bought a bungalow for Rs 93 crore in the ... Read more »

Is Ola Electric halting production of the S1 scooter?

For those who simply want to purchase the lighter and cheaper S1 without the option of upgrading its features, you’re going to have to wait a lot longer till the ... Read more »

China must put even more electric cars on the roads at a faster rate to meet nation's 2060 carbon neutral target, Greenpeace says

Manufacturers and policymakers in China must work together to put even more zero-emission vehicles on the roads of the world’s largest vehicle market to meet the nation’s carbon neutrality target ... Read more »

Margins will come under control in the next 2-3 quarters: HCL Tech CEO C Vijayakumar

Read more »

20% fall in January bookings due to COVID-19 forces railways to cancel several train services

[Representative image: AP] Indian Railways has begun to cancel several train operations due to low occupancy, with a 20 percent fall in passenger bookings in January and rising cases of ... Read more »

G.O.A.T Brand Labs acquires The Label Life, a westernwear brand

G.O.A.T Brand Labs has taken a majority stake in The Label Life, a women’s fashion and lifestyle brand.  Founded by Preeta Sukhtankar, along with Yashika Punjabee and Sonam Shah, six ... Read more »

RBI imposes monetary penalty on The Co-operative Bank of Rajkot

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) on January 17 imposed a monetary penalty of Rs 4 lakh on The Co-operative Bank of Rajkot, Gujarat for violation of certain norms. This action ... Read more »

Maruti Suzuki share price falls after global brokerage retains 'sell', expects 25% downside

Maruti Suzuki India share price fell over 2 percent in the morning session on January 18 after CLSA retained sell call on the stock. The scrip was trading at Rs ... Read more »

Race to cut carbon emissions splits U.S. states on nuclear

The Associated PressChris Levesque, president and CEO of TerraPower, a company developing and building small nuclear reactors, poses for a photo in the company’s lobby, Thursday, Jan. 13, 2022, in ... Read more »

Norway's Telenor to sell stake in Myanmar's Wave Money

The Associated PressFILE – In this Oct. 26, 2014, file photo, customers including Buddhist monk line up outside a showroom to buy SIM card at Telenor, Norwegian telecommunication company, in ... Read more »

Job instability, medical costs key concerns in COVID times: SBI Life study

(Image: ANI) Even as the third COVID-19 wave takes root in India, many are still reeling under the impact of the first two waves in 2020 and 2021, though there ... Read more »

Sudarshan Chemicals Q3 PAT seen up 6.5% YoY to Rs 36 cr: Sharekhan

Sudarshan Chemical Industries | Company reported profit at Rs 30.33 crore in Q2FY21 against Rs 46.2 crore, revenue rose to Rs 428.9 crore from Rs 424.85 crore YoY. (Image: Moneycontrol) ... Read more »

Banks urge Centre to extend emergency credit guarantee for small businesses till March next year

With rising commodity prices, FISME wants the abolition of import duties on steel, copper, aluminum and polymers. (Representational Image; Source: ShutterStock) The Indian Banks’ Association (IBA) has urged the government ... Read more »

NOCIL Q3 PAT seen up 17.6% YoY to Rs 26 cr: Sharekhan

Sharekhan has come out with its third quarter (October-December’ 21) earnings estimates for the Speciality Chemicals sector. The brokerage house expects NOCIL to report net profit at Rs 26 crore ... Read more »
On free-english-test.com you will find lots of free English exam practice materials to help you improve your English skills: grammar, listening, reading, writing, ielts, toeic