Maple Alps

10 Weird Things I Did to Save Money in University

MoneyAmanda Walter | Maple Alps16 Comments

Today, as I was going through the budget, I thought to myself, wow, I still have the mentality of a poor, starving student! This isn't the worst mentality to have, especially since I'm now officially paying student loans back. At least I'm not starving anymore. This got me to thinking about the things I did in my last year of University to save money. It was a pretty tight year because I couldn't find a job. I never did anything crazy like dumpster diving (I feel like I would have done that), but I did try to save as much as I could.

There are some things I did that I'm not proud of, but in case you're looking to save a few pennies, I thought I might contribute to your creativity. Working together and sharing is good, right?

10 Weird Things I Did to Save Money in University |


Bought 'old' food.

For most of the year, the grocery store I frequented offered 50% off almost expired food. Because of this, brown bananas were always on my list to buy. Some of them were closer to black and slimy, but I bought them anyway and stuck what I could in the freezer for breads and cookies. Besides the bananas, I would buy day old bread (which also freezes well) and wilty vegetables. Yummy.


Watered down my Almond/Soy Milk

Yup. I would bring my [also close to expiration] almond milk home and divide it. I would add water and no one was the wiser! Confession: this was so ingrained in me that I did it a few months into marriage :) My husband never noticed until I told him about it. Should have kept quiet....

Related: How Not to Go Broke From Buying Groceries 

Used public bathrooms as often as possible

If you know me well, you know that I absolutely despise public washrooms. However, desperate times call for desperate measures. In order to save on toilet paper and soap, I would be sure to use the washroom before coming home, and as soon as I got someplace. And just in case you were wondering: No, I did not steal the toilet paper.


Walked to school

School was only 2km away from my house. In winter, I would wear so many clothes to stay warm that I more or less waddled to class. It was a good time, and walks are always a good idea. So is fresh-ish air. This saved on gas and parking (and by the way, keeping my tank above half also saved some money).


I had a basic phone plan

As in my smartphone had 1000 minutes of calling and texting. It was only "smart" when I was connected to wifi (which was free for me). This did become a problem when I started to drive to places I had never been or got lost in the city (I didn't have a GPS). 


I didn't eat out

I can count on one hand the amount of times I ever ate out. I'm always asked about good restaurants in whatever area I've been in, and I never know. This greatly affected my social life, but I was okay with my [stale] bread and water. I did like to study every week in Starbucks, but I never paid for it. I usually ordered water, and I earned free gift cards through Swagbucks for drinks.


I wore clothing till hole-ridden

I have finally gotten rid of all of my hole-ridden clothing. The shoes were the worst. My husband and mother were appalled, but they also know me and laughed. I don't know that I did this to save money, because I had no money to buy anything, but I guess it counts. 


I didn't shower every day

Gasp! I also only washed my hair twice a week. Thankfully I have dry hair so that was possible (and preferred, really). I heard it wasn't healthy to shower every day anyway. Do I believe that? Maybe. 


I picked up coins in the laundromat

This one is most embarrassing but I decided to share anyway. There is a lot of money behind washing machines! I discovered this one day when I went to get coins. The change-making machine was placed on the wall above a washing machine. After inserting my bill and collecting my coins, I dropped a twoonie (a two dollar coin for those unfamiliar with Canadian currency) on the floor. It rolled behind the washing machine, and since I obviously needed those two dollars for a wash cycle, I heaved the machine out of the way. When I did, I found several quarters and loonies (one dollar coins) that the less desperate had abandoned. To make a long story short, that became my thing. Every time I needed some coins, I checked under the machines. I made at least ten dollars doing that. The worst part? It wasn't even the laundromat I did my laundry in!


Declined cleaning service when i moved in and out of my apartment

My landlords had arranged a cleaning service to take care of my apartment before and after I moved in. The only problem with that was that they were going to charge me $300 to cover it. I called them and told them that I loved cleaning and wouldn't require that service. They accepted that, and even waived the fee for my move-in clean, because they didn't want me to move in to a dirty apartment! Thanks to the help of my husband (then fiancé), it was even cleaner when I moved out.


Someone I know admitted to using his roommate's shampoo without him knowing. What's the weirdest thing you've ever done to save money? I'd love to hear about it. Let me know below in the comments!