The more you identify as a “college student,” the more this post is for you.
I’m going to come right out with it, as it’s just one tip and it’s one of those that anybody can do but not everybody wants to do it.
Shop for all your household basics at Dollar Tree. That’s it.
It seems overly simple, but let’s break it down a bit. First, in order to make this work, you have to be willing to use basic stuff that is not of the highest quality. But how high quality do you really need your dish soap and toilet bowl cleaner? Second, you might have to sacrifice the convenience of buying everything from one place like Hyvee or Walmart. This will be the hardest part, but if you’re willing to make a second trip to Dollar Tree very once in awhile, you will save money on basics.
Now for a bit of math:
Let’s imagine you usually buy your household basics at Walmart. This includes toothbrushes, toothpaste, toilet paper, paper towels, trash bags, cleaning supplies, etc. Now let’s estimate that all of your items average about $3 each. If you were to buy 15 of these items at that price, your total without tax would amount to around $45. But at the grand old Dollar Tree, you’d be spending less than half that amount at $15 total.
Honestly, no more math, you know it’s the cheaper option. The problem isn’t knowing it’s cheaper but actually following through on it.
So my best advice is just to try it out one month for just your household basics. Don’t buy food from Dollar Tree unless you’re real strapped for cash (in which case, if this is you, I am sorry.) See if there’s a noticeable difference in your budget for essentials that month. And at the end, if you find that you can’t stand the cheap stuff and would rather pay a few dollars extra for the nice stuff, you do you.