Last May, I was awarded $2000 by my college to participate in a summer internship in New York City. While I was grateful to be able to pursue this amazing professional opportunity, I knew that this was going to be less money than I would have made if I had a full-time job all summer. I was going to need this money to purchase books, pay my standardized testing and graduate school application fees.
I secured free housing, and began the internship with the goal of saving 75% of this award for the upcoming school year. I started making very tight budgets, slowly figuring out which grocery stores had which sales and when. I became a member of several stores in order to benefit from additional offers. I also applied for my first credit card. I planned my subway rides very carefully, in order to minimize costs. I formed shopping groups with people I lived with to buy groceries and other necessities in bulk. I scanned student websites to find discounts and free events. Slowly but surely, I began buying more while spending less money, and my credit score began to climb.
In September, I had $1300 left. That was less than my goal, but still a very reasonable amount of money. In November, my credit score was more than 700.
This was my first time living on my own, and learning how to be frugal yet comfortable was an additional challenge. However, I managed to save more money than I ever thought possible, and now know many tricks and tips to save even more. I now do not fear managing my student loans or my graduate school applications.