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Cutting Back

Student Blogger: Johanna Doebling

In college you have many life lessons outside of the classroom; how to work with a group, sharing a space with someone you just met, getting used to being on your own, etc. If you are like myself, you also learned the hard way that the national bank of mom and dad are no longer available, and you’re on your own! Don't stress out! I'm here to help, and tell you a few tricks I've learned over the last four years.

Let's talk about ways to cut back on costs.


Did you know that if you buy a 20 oz. brewed coffee (by itself) it costs $4.45?

Now, let’s have some fun.

If you were to buy that coffee for 7 days in a row you would spend roughly $31.15.

If you were to buy that coffee every day for one month, you would spend roughly $133.50.

If you were to buy that coffee every day for 17 weeks (one semester), you would spend roughly $547.35!

That's just in one large coffee a day!

So instead of buying your coffee, use that money and invest in a coffee maker. If those are still too expensive, you can buy a mini french press for about $7. That's what I use and I love it!


There are a lot of ways that you can save on electric. For starters, when you leave a room, turn off the light. When I moved into my second apartment I saved up slowly and replaced all my light bulbs with energy efficient ones. Boy, did that make a difference! I also had candles and lit them if I wanted dim light at night, they also made the place smell nice. For appliances such as a toaster, coffee maker, blenders, curling irons, phone chargers etc., if you are not using them, unplug them. Even if they are turned off, they may still be pulling in electricity.

Washing some dishes by hand can also cut back on electric, and water. When it comes to washing clothes, use cold water.  You use less electricity then if you used hot or warm water. After washing them, instead of using a dryer, hang them up to dry either around the apartment, or invest in a cheap drying rack. In the winter, this also helps with humidity.

Now for heating and cooling your apartment in the warmer months.  When you are not home, set the air conditioner to about 75-78 and pull the curtains shut. Keeping the curtains closed helps slow the sun from warming your apartment. In the winter months, I set my heat to about 65-68 degrees. It's a bit chilly, but I also get to wrap up in warm socks, and a big blanket. During the day I sometimes open the curtains to let the sun heat up the place. Depending on your lease, you can put window insulation on all of your windows to keep cold air from coming in. In my first apartment, my landlord didn't take out my window A/C unit so I bought plastic wrap and tape, and stuffed it in the areas that I could feel cold air coming through and then I taped a few layers over the entire unit. Doing all of these things brought my electric bill to $75 or less a month.


An advantage of living in a college town is that you don't always need your car. With your WVU student ID, you can ride the bus and the PRT. That saves you from having to pay for gas, repairs on your car, parking etc. Personally, I walk a lot. With all of these hills, I get a small workout from it.


Planning your meals out will help you from going out to eat. Meal prepping takes time, but it saves money, and actually saves time throughout the week as well. With meal prepping, you have your meals packed and ready to go. Planning them in advance saves money since you know what you need to buy ahead of time.

Places That Will Help

A lot of students need a little extra help, but may not know how or where to ask. If you are one of those students, I have some places where you can get the help you need.

For help with food, there are many places around the community like local churches, food banks etc. You can also see if you are eligible for food stamps by visiting the DHHR website. Many students are eligible for food stamps and may not realize it. WVU also has a food pantry called 'The Rack' located in the Mountain Lair.

For help with clothing, Christian Help (located at 219 Walnut St, Morgantown, WV 26505) is available to anyone. You are given a bag and may fill it for free. They also help with many other things such as food and school supplies.

If you need assistance with women's health, the Mon. Co. Health Department is free for most visits.