Whether you're spending a little extra on takeout during these cold winter months or finding yourself indulging in online shopping a little too often because you're snowed in from a blizzard, make sure you're taking steps to keep the reins on your spending. Fortunately you have the ability to control your budget -unlike the weather! Here are some budget-friendly ways to kick those winter blues to the curb.
Cook at home more frequently. Even though it's convenient to order Jimmy Johns for the millionth time this month or go out to eat at the local restaurants on a chilly day, your food budget will take a giant hit. Plan on cooking at home more frequently to save on the cost of food, and consider doubling a few recipes to freeze and store for future meals. These winter months are a great time to master the art of meal prepping! This will help you save some money on last-minute food runs.
Check out free events on campus. If you're feeling a little stir crazy and want to get out and do something fun over the weekend, take a look at the Iowa State events calendar for free events such as craft workshops, winter seminars and live music or dance performances on campus. This can be a great way to meet new people and enjoy some cultural or community events at little or no cost. Staying social is a great way to beat those winter blues!
Log in a good workout. Exercising regularly is good for your health and has the added benefit of boosting your mood. Whether you enjoy running, swimming, or indoor sports, hit up State Gym or Lied Recreation Center a few times a week to give your mood a boost on a dreary day. Regular exercise can also help you sleep better which in turn will help you look forward to a more positive day. Also, your access to these gyms are FREE with your student ID card!
Host a movie night with friends. Maintaining a social life when the weather calls for many nights in can be challenging, but consider taking the lead and hosting a movie night for your friends. Prepare some snacks for the group, or have everyone pitch in with a snack or dinner item to turn the event into a potluck. This can be a fun way to reconnect with friends without spending a lot of money on dining out and entertainment. If planning a movie night with friends isn't your thing, don't forget to take advantage of Cyclone Cinema! They're sponsored by the Student Union Board and host showings of all the latest movies in Carver 101.
Recycle and re-purpose items for your apartment or dorm. If you want to spruce up your place on a budget, think of ways to recycle and re-purpose items you already have. From furnishings to home decor, think out of the box to work on a few creative projects this season. Paint existing furniture in a new hue, make new cushion covers or wall hangings out of material from the craft store or simply rearrange the furniture and decor to create a new look. Okay, you may not be able to re-purpose your dorm furniture, but you can follow these tips to make your dorm look like "a home" on a budget!