Budgeting and Saving Money

Clothing/Household Items

  • Check classified ads regularly for moving sales and garage sales.
  • Shop in thrift stores.  South Bend has many thrift store options. Goodwill, Salvation Army and St. Vincent de Paul are among the largest.
  • Go to end of season sales at major department stores.
  • Big Lots, Family Dollar and the Dollar Store have inexpensive alternatives.


  • Keep an eye out for sales, and stock up on things you use often.
  • Cook your own food from basic ingredients.  This is not only cheaper, but much healthier, if you watch what you cook.
  • Don’t eat out!
  • Buy generic brands instead of name brands.
  • Use coupons from the Sunday newspaper, or other publications.  Coupons are doubled at some stores, such as Kroger.  For example, if you have a coupon for 25 cents off, it will be worth 50 cents off.
  • Cook larger quantities of food and then freeze some for later.
  • Carry a lunch with you from home if you live off campus.
  • Share with friends.  Food is cheaper when you buy in bulk and then cook together.


  • Drink, cook, and enjoy recreation at home with friends.
  • Go to the cinema before 4pm for the matinee rate.
  • Watch movies for free from Titan Productions.
  • Check out books, magazines, videos and CDs from the St. Joseph County Public Library.  There is one branch just down the street from IU South Bend and many others throughout the community.
  • Use the internet.
  • Attend the free musical concerts presented by the School of the Arts.
  • Visit museums, many are free.
  • Hiking is free!  Try Potato Creek State Park or exploring the woods near Notre Dame.


  • Share an apartment off-campus to lower living expenses.
  • Try to sign a nine-month lease so you will not waste money if you leave town for a summer internship.
  • Residence Hall Assistantships are open to international students and provide free room and board and a small stipend.
  • Living with roommates not only reduces cost of rent, but also monthly utility and phone charges.
  • Keep your apartment heated or cooled moderately.  Put on a sweater if it is too cold, instead of turning up the heat.  Turn off the heat or air-conditioning when no one is home.
  • Don’t get cable TV, or if you do get it, only get the basic package.
  • Don’t break your housing contract!
  • Start your search for off-campus housing early (January, February, March) to get cheaper places.


  • Borrow books from the library that are recommended but not required for your classes.
  • Buy or borrow used books directly from other students.
  • Buy used books online.


  • Buy generic cold/flu medicine.
  • Bring all of your medical documents to receive waivers on immunizations and mandatory health insurance.
  • Emergency medical care is expensive.  Don’t use it for routine problems like colds and flu.


  • Drive older cars to minimize Indiana’s out-of-state excise tax.
  • Live within walking or biking distance to school.
  • Check bulletin boards around campus or the Avenue Bicycle Shop for second-hand bikes for sale.
  • Don’t buy a used car unless you are knowledgeable about mechanical stuff or take the car to be approved by a mechanic before you buy it.  Car repairs can be very expensive.
  • Take a public transportation bus (Transpo).  If you can live without a car, do so.

Other Tips

  • Beware of extra fees and charges, for delivery, etc.
  • Go to your bank’s ATM, so you don’t get charged extra money.  Keep the appropriate minimum balance in your account, so you don’t have to pay a monthly fee.