As a student-athlete, nearly every moment of your day is busy. From early morning workouts, to classes throughout the day, perhaps another practice later on, AND setting time aside to study. It’s all work towards a very rewarding goal, but it requires a commitment and sacrifice greater than that of the average student. With a schedule like this, many athletes struggle to meet their living needs while in college. Who has time to add a job on top of all this?
Some may have the benefit of a stipend to help with their living expenses, or they might come from a family where they don’t have to worry about money. But, the reality is that many athletes do not have this luxury. So naturally, student athletes have developed a plethora of tips and tricks to budget their money while managing their hectic schedules. We went straight to the athletes themselves to hear their strategies and compiled the most helpful down below:
Take advantage of free food
“Free” speaks the language of every college student: if there is an on-campus event, a club meeting, maybe a local restaurant offering free food, go to it. As a college student, you’re on a tight budget, so anything free is worth taking.
There is a narrative that athletes in college have all of their meals made and paid for, but this isn’t true. Of course some athletes at large colleges enjoy these amenities, but most student-athletes have to feed themselves without any assistance. So, something like a free meal for attending a club meeting is a no-brainer for a student-athlete trying to save some dining dollars. One athlete goes to a school that offers a discounted breakfast for athletes and said that it is a daily ritual for athletes across all programs on their campus.
Another option is reward programs through food spots you frequent. As a college student, you’re probably going to be eating out more often that you normally would, so it’s worth having a rewards membership so you can at least get free Chick-fil-A nuggets or a Chipotle bowl every few times you go.
Another nugget of advice is to take advantage of the snacks you’re given on team trips. On these trips, you are given Gatorades, granola bars, and fruit snacks at every step to make sure you are fueled up come game time. However, most of these snacks go to waste because schools overbuy. One football player admitted that he takes multiples of these snacks to save for back home, that way he doesn’t have to buy snacks for his dorm.
Take advantage of subscriptions
Nearly everything that we consume comes from some sort of subscription: the television and movies we watch (Netflix, Hulu, etc.), our music (Spotify, Apple music), even our study materials (Chegg). The opportunities for student athletes to save money in this area are far and wide.
At a base level, there are many trial subscriptions for platforms that give you more than enough product without having to pay a dime. There are many college students who function off of trial subscriptions, finding ways to renew their trial and keep using the service. For a more stable, but affordable way to get service, platforms like Hulu, Spotify, Adobe, even Amazon Prime, all offer student accounts that give you full access to the content for a fraction of the price.
If even that is too much for your budget, it’s worth sharing with teammates. A collegiate athletics team has a large number of people on the roster. One of your teammates probably already has the subscription you’re interested in. Reaching out to your teammates and asking if they could share their account with you is not a tall order to ask: in the same way you rely on each other in the sport, you can rely on each other outside as well. Splitting subscriptions is a great way to do so.
Get a work study
Adding a job on top of classes and practice sounds impossible, but it can be done. If done right, it should earn you enough spending cash to survive the semester.
Off-campus jobs are often not flexible with student-athletes’ crazy schedules. This is where the blessing of an on-campus work study comes in. Most students qualify, the employers understand and work with the schedule of a college student, and it’s a great way for a student-athlete to get work experience without being overwhelmed. On-campus jobs range from the campus rec centers to IT support staff. All athletes working on-campus jobs said their needs were met as student-athletes.