Manhappenin' magazine

The Student News Site of Kansas State University

Manhappenin' magazine

Manhappenin' magazine

Galentines Day
Galentine's Day
April 8, 2024
Budget 'Til You Drop
April 8, 2024
Birthday Themes
April 8, 2024
Designed by Laura Armbruster
Slow Living
March 19, 2024

Budget ‘Til You Drop


Almost every college student understands the struggle of an overwhelmingly tight budget–and for those of you who don’t know the struggle, I am jealous. Many of us, though, spend our free time at jobs where we are underpaid and under-appreciated, and when we have time to see friends, our wallets are screaming. Do we go out to eat, or do we save money for Thirsty Thursday? Can I afford to take my partner out for a date this weekend, or will it be another night spent in our small apartment, watching movies?


I understand the struggle firsthand, and I want to give college students all the tools possible to thrive in a life where their income determines what activities they can, or cannot, do. Below are some tips that I follow every month to keep my money right.


Create a Budget

Honestly, this is the scariest part of the entire list. Some people prefer fancy excel sheets, where their calculations can be made for them. Others–ahem, me–prefer the notes app on our phone.

The most important part of a budget is not overestimating the amount of income you have. When your paycheck goes through, put the amount of money you have in your bank account at the top of the budget, and work from there. I use a zero-based budget, where I input where every penny of my hard-earned money will go.

My sections include rent, groceries, gas, prescriptions/appointments, subscriptions, and miscellaneous. Some people prefer to get more specific, dividing their money among restaurants, bars, shopping, etc. The important thing is to not forget any spending that will take place!

Update the budget bi-weekly or monthly, and adjust. If you notice you are spending a lot of money at restaurants and don’t have enough left for groceries, then maybe ask your friends to do something besides go out to eat the next week. Your budget is meant to give you knowledge and power of where your money is going, so create one that works for you!


Grocery Shopping

Ah, grocery shopping. My least favorite part of the week. I look at all the snack foods my parents would buy me, and cry as I walk past them.

As a college student, you likely will have to survive on the bare minimum. This means opting for off-brand foods instead of those name-brand cereals or dairy products. My best advice is to get the most bang for your buck–2/$3, please!

Even though the food quality will not be as tasty, frozen meat is a much cheaper option than the delicious, fresh salmon or thick-cut steak. Opt for frozen meats and veggies to save money.

Another important tip is to always make a list! This means you will only buy what you need, and avoid overspending. Look for sales, too, and choose produce that doesn’t go bad as quickly as others–think apples, sweet potatoes, and carrots.


Cats Cupboard

Cats Cupboard is a K-State run program, which provides free food and toiletries to K-State students and faculty experiencing food insecurity. All they require is that you check-in with your student I.D., and you are free to shop!

Although they might not have as many options as a regular grocery store, they provide fruits, vegetables, and even some protein for students in a bind. They also have shower products and items like deodorant, and are more than willing to help newbies around the place!

I highly recommend Cats Cupboard, which is open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Mondays-Thursdays, and 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.on Fridays. They are located on Denison Avenue, right across from the engineering building.



This is definitely my biggest weakness. After a few wells, my budget goes out the window. My only real tip for bar hopping is to bring cash, and leave your cards at home. If you are a waitress or work in a job where you receive cash tips, great! If not, try to go to the bank or the ATM–which has a fee, unfortunately–and grab cash before your night out. This way, you are limited and cannot use a credit card and claim that you’ll save more money on your next paycheck to make up for your night out.


A cash limit can help you avoid a real nasty hangover, too.


Date Nights

Possibly the most difficult part of budgeting is finding room for dating. As a perpetually single girl, this is not an issue for me, but I’ve seen too many of my friends struggle to find money to enjoy an outing with their boo.

One way to spare date-night money is to say no to other activities. This is a sacrifice, and I don’t recommend saying no to small treats every single day, but if you and your significant other are really wanting to enjoy an amusement park or movie, then the trade might just be worth it!

My other tip is to get creative. Hikes, picnics in the park, and long walks can be just as romantic as fancy dinners, if not more. Showing your partner that you care enough to make time for them in your busy schedule, and figuring out ways to get out of the house without spending money will speak volumes about how much you care!


Hopefully these tips aren’t entirely useless to you. Hopefully, you don’t need these tips because you are that well off! But, if you are like most of us, the budget haunts you at every step, so I suggest following these tips to take a little weight off your shoulders.

Leave a Comment
Donate to Manhappenin' magazine

Your donation will support the student journalists of Kansas State University. Your contribution will allow us to purchase equipment and cover our annual website hosting costs.

More to Discover
About the Contributor
Peyton Froome, Copy Editor
Donate to Manhappenin' magazine

Comments (0)

All Manhappenin' magazine Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *