Tag Archives: Save Money

Halloween on a Shoestring

4 Oct

Written by Catherine Bylak, Purdue Student

halloween on a shoestring leader.jpg

College students love Halloween. Whether it be from the joy of showing up together in the perfect squad costumes or maybe it’s the candy corn, regardless, college students scream for Halloween.

If you’re a college kid who screams for Halloween, while your bank account screams for savings, then we have a few tips to enjoy this Halloween on a shoestring!

DIY Costumes

Goodwill Stores are the perfect place to start if you’re only trying to spend a few bucks on a costume. Grab a cheap flannel and complement it with jeans and you can go as a lumberjack! There are endless possibilities. Think of your favorite TV character, generic job titles, or puns and find items that represent them.

By making your own costume you can show off your ingenuity and style, rather than spending $30-50 on a stock costume that you’ll wear maybe four times.

Plus a DIY costume is way more original.

There are three Goodwill locations near the Purdue campus and several other thrift stores nearby for all your thrifty Halloween costume needs.


You can even create identification cards in a word document to print, cut out, and wear so people will understand your costume. costume ID.jpg

DIY Decorations

There are tons of ideas for homemade decorations that can utilize anything including empty milk gallons, garbage bags, and a few permanent markers. For those who aren’t interested in Pinterest, here are some links for cheap decoration alternatives: Indoor & Outdoor by Money Crashers and Effortless Decorations by DIY Projects

Cheap Treats

We all know that fun costumes and decorations make Halloween great, but so does the candy. If you adore the treats over the tricks, here are some sites for cheap candy: Halloween Candy Warehouse and Bulk Candy Store.

Maybe your favorite aspect of Halloween is enjoying few unique, of-age drinks that ensues. In that case, check out these sites for cheap, Halloween themed cocktails: Jello shots, spooky cocktails, candy-inspired drinks, and cheap Halloween cocktails.

Now, you can scream and save this Halloween.

52 Week Money Saving Challenge

25 Feb

Raysha Duncan, Financial Aid Administrator & Purdue Alumna

I’d be surprised if you hadn’t heard of this “Money Saving Challenge” yet! It seems to be one of the more popular “Money Challenges” circulating the internet right now. The idea is that you print off a chart (example chart seen below) telling you how much you need to be saving each week (e.g., $1 the first week, $2 the second week, etc.), and then tape it to a jar that you then fill with the cash that you’ve been saving.

52 Week Money Savings Challenge

This is a great idea, right?! And it’s an especially great idea for those of us who need a little help saving money because the steps are laid out for you on a piece of paper with the money. You don’t even have to remember how much to put in, just look at the sheet! And who doesn’t like checking things off a list? I know it makes me feel accomplished.

As one blogger pointed out though… You might not gain the motivation you need if you follow this particular chart. When you’re a full one month into the challenge, you’ll only have saved $10… so she has a valid point. Her suggestion is to flip it around backwards: Week One save $52, Week Two save $51, and onward. That way, after just one month you will have $202 saved! That’s a much nicer start than $10. Plus, if you start this around the beginning of the year, you won’t have to put as much into your savings jar during the holiday season. This is a great idea…but might be kind of challenging as a college student because money is already pretty tight and starting at $52 is a lot of money. Flipping it is just a way to jumpstart your progressive savings. The point of either challenge though is to progressively save as much as possible over your set period of time and to notice how much you are able to save.

While, where you’re storing your saved money is completely up to you though, this blogger also suggests putting this money into a savings account instead of a jar so your money can accrue interested (and so you avoid the temptation of spending it!). Some people like watching the actual, physical paper money build up in a jar and others prefer watching their money grow digitally through their online banking (again, while accruing some nice interest). Both are completely valid ways of building your savings because either way, you are saving! Because saving early is important for a secure future, whichever will keep you more motivated is the way you should go.


Are you up for a savings challenge like this? Have you tried one before? Let us know in the comments! And be sure to follow #ASW2015 on Twitter for more savings tips this week!

Favorite Savings Tips

19 Feb

Raysha Duncan, Financial Aid Administrator & Purdue Alumna

girl rolling pant cuff; text overlay: Favorite Savings Tips

I love being thrifty and saving money. Who doesn’t?! I have a whole list of things, big and small, that I do to save money every day/week/month/year and I enjoy writing about those things and then sharing them with you! In honor of America Saves Week (on Twitter follow #ASW2015) starting next week, I’ve rounded up my favorite ways to save money so I can share them with you…and none of them include cutting out your coffee habit (even if everyone says you should!) or turning down your thermostat (because you already know you should do that).

Thrift Shop

While I was in college, half of my closet was purchased at the local Goodwill, and even after graduating a majority of it still is. Spending exorbitant amounts of money on clothes just isn’t reasonable all the time, especially if you’re trying to save money. One of my favorite ways to spend a Saturday is to make a mug of hot tea and hit the thrift shops in town. It takes all daybut very little money. And it’s fun! If you’re patient and willing not to pay too close attention to the size label on a piece of clothing, you can find really great outfits at these shops. I also buy a lot of my furniture from thrift shops too because of great deals and unique styles that fit me.

Have a Meal Plan & Actually Eat Those Meals

Making up a meal plan for the week may sound lame because it’s something that only moms do (or is that just mine?) but it’s incredibly helpful when putting together a grocery list. Plan out your meals for the coming week one night (this may take an hour the first time). Then go grocery shopping the next day and do any prep (i.e. wash your fruits and veggies) you need to do the same day so you don’t have to worry about it later. Keeping a menu on your fridge can help you stay consistent with this also. Plus having your meal plan stare you in the face will really guilt you out of ordering that pizza next Tuesday…

Track Your Spending

How are you supposed to know where you need to cut back on your spending if you don’t know where you’re spending? I use Mint, but there are a lot of other options out there for tracking your spending. There’s also the good old pen-and-paper method or spreadsheet on your computer; you’ll want to hang onto your receipts if you plan on going this route.

Always Put Money in Savings First

This is also commonly known as “paying yourself first.” That phrase never made sense to me though because I want to pay myself in shoes and burritos…but that doesn’t put money in savings. But if you think of it as paying your future first, that puts it in perspective. It can be hard to put away money every month if you don’t have something you’re saving for though. So instead of thinking about how many burritos or pairs of shoes I can buy with the money I need to save, I started to think about what I wanted to save towards in my future. Maybe you want to study abroad next year or in two years  complete a for your professional development (i.e. that dream internship of yours that happens to be unpaid); save towards that future first…and buy burritos later.

What are your favorite ways to save? Let us know in the comments below! And be sure to follow #ASW2015 on Twitter for more savings tips next week!

Ways to Save $$ on Utilities This Winter

15 Jan

Raysha Duncan, Financial Aid Administrator & Purdue Alumna

Yikes! Did your first winter energy bill come in higher than you expected? Turning off the heat to save money for the rest of the winter isn’t going to be an option when you live in Indiana, unfortunately, so we’ve rounded up some tips to help you save some cash until it’s warm outside again.

Turn down the heat

Both on your thermostat and your water heater (you should have access to this in a utility closet). Lowering the heat in your house to around 68 is enough to keep you warm (you may have to add a couple layers) and can help to reduce your heating bill. If you have a programmable thermostat take advantage of the settings and turn the heat down a couple more degrees (but ALWAYS stay at least at 50 unless your apartment requires otherwise to avoid your pipes freezing) so you’re not using extra energy while you’re gone. Also, making a minor adjustment on you hot water heater will save you money (less hot water = shorter showers).

Unplug electronics you aren’t using

This is a simple one that can be used all year. Even if you’re not using your laptop and it’s in hibernation mode, it’s still using electricity. Unplug it and save yourself a couple bucks (so you can have heat!). Also, avoid space heaters! They use a lot of electricity and tossing a blanket on your lap or pulling on a sweatshirt will keep you just as warm.

car in snow with text overlay: Save $$ on utilities this winter

Cover your windows

Plastic over leaky windows can save you tons of money. This is an especially good idea if you live in an older apartment or rental house. We had a window in a rental house that leaked so badly that we could literally watch the plastic sheet we taped around it billow and fill with cold air! Just covering that window saved us a lot in heating costs. wikiHow has a great article on how to properly cover your windows.

Turn your ceiling fans clockwise

Apparently there’s a setting on most ceiling fans that will allow you to switch the direction they spin. And turning clockwise will push the hot air back down to keep the heat in your rooms instead of pushing it up towards the ceiling (hot air does rise, after all).

Always wear layers

Add an extra blanket to your bed, keep your slippers handy, invest in some sweaters from the thrift store, keep extra blankets in the living room… Putting on layers keeps you warm and will keep you from turning up the heat, saving you money on electricity.

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