Frugal Student Tip #2: Don’t Drink Your Dollars

Be careful not to drink your money away. Buying drinks outside your meal plan, from coffee to sports drinks, can cost you hundreds of dollars over the year.Note: Today’s Frugal Student Tip does not necessarily refer to alcohol.

This frugal student tip is primarily about spending money for things like water and soft drinks. How many people don’t even think about a few dollars here and a few dollars there for drinks? During an entire school year, however, a couple of dollars a day can quickly add up.

Paying for coffee, bottled water, energy drinks, and sports drinks can cost you hundreds of dollars over the course of the academic year.

If you have a meal plan as part of your college’s room and board charges, you really could get by without paying for a single drink outside of what is already covered.

One little warning, though, about drinks on your meal plan: Note whether there are certain drinks that are charged differently on the plan. For example, a latte from the late-hour on-campus convenience store near the dorms may take more “points” or “dining dollars” than the serve-yourself coffee and soda machines in the dining halls. Smoothies, too, may cost extra. Be careful or you could swipe your card one too many times and be out of meal money before semester’s end.

But you get thirsty sometimes while you’re out? No problem! Just leave your place prepared. Bring a reusable water bottle, and find water fountains when you need to replenish. (Bonus: You’ll also save on calories.)

Beware the $5 coffee. There’s a reason financial counselors developed the term “latte factor.” Sure it’s fun to be out and about and get a delicious beverage, but many people drop more money on coffee these days than they realize.

Do you know that $5 per coffee per day for a nine-month academic year comes to more than $1,300?


Further reading:

Are your friends always spending money? Ten Frugal Activities, and Advice On How To Suggest Them from The Simple Dollar.

Read all of the Frugal Student Tips as they are posted. A new tip will be posted each week.

Follow our Frugal at College Pinterest board.

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