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If you think you’re the only one with a tight budget, think again! In a recent Student Health 101 survey, 50 percent of respondents said their approximate weekly budget for social activities is 20 dollars or less, and more than 20 percent set aside 10 dollars or less. Here are some tips to keep your weekends full but cheap.

Be Creative

According to the survey, nearly 50 percent of students feel social pressure to spend money. Benjamin S., a sophomore at Alaska Pacific University in Anchorage, says, “I end up spending more than I intended to.”

  • Carry only the amount of cash you wish to spend and leave debit and credit cards at home. You can’t spend what you don’t have!

Brielle M., a senior at University of Maryland in College Park, says, “I leave my money home. This way I don’t buy food or coffee between classes.”

  • Identify the difference between necessities and luxuries.

For Ishaan J., a sophomore at Utah State University in Logan, coffee every morning feels like a necessity, but getting one at an upscale café isn’t. “I bought a coffee maker. It’s not the best coffee in the world but it costs a lot less,” he explains.

  • Carpool, take public transit, or use your school’s shuttle service.
  • Get separate checks. Only pay for your own food when dining out, especially if you choose lower-cost options than your friends.

Find, or Make, the Fun

Here are some ideas for saving on entertainment and social activities:

  • Use your student ID. Many businesses offer deals for students. Ask if they’re not advertised.
  • Find group discounts. In addition to online coupons, many schools contract with theaters, travel companies, and other programs to offer reduced-price tickets. Check out offers through your school’s Web site and student center.
  • Join a club. Most student organizations plan free and low-cost events. If you participate, you might get special access to performers and other guests.
  • Look in the community for free movie screenings, book readings, and cultural events. There are even apps that locate them.
  • Attend school events. Nearly all schools offer art openings, plays, concerts, and talks-usually for free or just a few bucks.
  • Take charge. Plan low-cost activities with friends so the suggestions aren’t always for options you can’t afford.

Krista Lewis, a former financial aid officer at Brock University in Ontario, Canada, says, “Living on a budget can be rewarding and give you a sense of accomplishment.” Remember, not everything has a price tag, and often the most satisfying things don’t involve money at all.

More Tips for Having a Blast on a Budget

Bring a reusable bottle.
Fill it with your own drink, or take advantage of discounts for using one.

Pack your own snacks.
They’ll be cheaper and healthier than what’s available at concession stands.
Just check venue policies beforehand.

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