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A College Student’s Summer Survival Guide (On a Budget)

“Summer has officially begun; now, there is time for some fun!” That tends to be my thought process every year when I check off my last final, pack my dorm, and reclaim my

New Jersey residency. However, most of the time, I find myself at home or my job, glancing toward the window at the blazing sun while watching everyone else have the best Summer of their lives on social media. When a job consumes your time and your free time is limited by your need to save money, Summer can be a challenging season to get through. It is easy to compare yourself to your peers who are Instagramming their backpacking trip through Europe or hosting frequent gatherings in their backyards.

Every Summer, I am overcome by envy as I wish I had the time and money to go on trips, friends with work schedules that align with mine, and the space to host. My Google search engine annually generates “fun Summer bucket list ideas” and “things to do near me.” Often, the results claim to be inexpensive but list costly and out-of-reach activities leaving me bored and disappointed. That is why I decided to set realistic expectations this Summer to maximize my resources. I created a bucket list curated to my lifestyle and have found myself entertained and satisfied with my Summer and bank account so far. In this College Student’s Summer Survival Guide (on a budget), I will share some ways you can occupy your time while still being financially responsible this Summer.

Maintain Your Self Care

While it can be easy to want to stay in bed wearing pajamas all day, it is not suitable for your health or hygiene. That is why preparing for each day is a good idea. Even if you plan on staying home all day, getting ready and maintaining personal hygiene and care is good for your mental and physical health and may lead you to seize the day as you experience boosted productivity and confidence!

To maintain your self-care on a budget, try the following:

  • Getting Dressed Every Day. Studies show those who stay in pajamas all day experience decreased productivity and self-esteem while ultimately disrupting your internal biological clock leading to poor sleep.

  • Getting Your Hair Done at a Local Cosmetology School. Going to the nail salon is not cheap either, especially if you have to go frequently. Try scheduling an appointment at a local cosmetology school the next time you need your hair done. The services can be up to 50% cheaper!

  • Drinking Water. Despite water being the most basic human necessity, nearly 47% of Americans do not drink enough water. Drinking abundant water daily has many benefits, including improved mental performance, boosted mood, clearer skin, and overall bodily health. Begin your water-drinking journey using a hydration calculator to determine how much water you should drink daily.


Finding fun things to do over the Summer can be overwhelming. I usually do not want to spend money or do things alone which leads to me staying home and scrolling on my phone for countless hours. Instead of doing that this Summer I am deciding to embrace solitude, be comfortable in my own company, and go out and do things at no or low costs.

If you are interested in no or low-cost entertainment with or without company try:

  • Visiting your local library and opening a library card.

  • Joining the AMC A-list for $25 a month to see up to 12 movies a month. (watch 2 movies and you already made your money's worth).

  • Getting out in nature and going on a walk or hike.

  • Acting as a tourist in your own town and discover things you may have overlooked.


Nobody expects one of the most annoying parts of adulting to be feeding yourself, but it is. Groceries and eating out are costly but there are ways to decrease the price tag . I am always willing to take the preparatory time to look for deals, coupons, or student discounts; it is always worth it!

Next time you are going grocery shopping or out to eat try:

  • Downloading restaurant apps and utilizing deals and point rewards.

  • Check if you are eligible to participate in the supplemental nutrition assistance program (SNAP).

  • Download student discount apps such as Student Beans.

  • Search for coupon codes and discounts prior to any purchase through websites such as RetailMeNot.

  • Downloading or clipping grocery coupons.

In the House

Sometimes it feels like the minute you step outside, money starts to grow wings and fly from your wallet. So some days the only option is to stay in the house. On days when I am stuck in the house, I feel so limited with what I can do that I fail to see the variety of activities that will pass the time besides my phone.

Next time you are in the house all day try:

  • Getting crafty by coloring or drawing. YouTube tutorials are very helpful.

  • Reading books from your local library or sign up for Libby, the app that lets you borrow digital copies of books using your local library card. use the app goodreads to keep a rating log of the books you read.

  • Binging movies or a tv series and keep a rating log using the app letterboxd. Also, be sure you are subscribed to streaming services such as Hulu and Amazon Prime using the student discount.

  • Making music playlists using either the spotify or apple music student discount.


Resting while on break is a top priority; however, Summer can be the time to catch up on the tasks you have been meaning to get to or get ahead for next semester. Continuing to apply yourself to your professional career over breaks actively can make you feel more prepared and less stressed in the upcoming semester. Be sure to reach out to mentors or campus departments that may be open over the Summer to help you.

If you want to spend some of your time on career development try:

  • Applying for scholarships.

  • Updating your resume.

  • Decluttering your emails and photos.

  • Creating free virtual business cards using the app HiHello.

  • Establishing your linkedin profile.

  • Making a list of goals you hope to accomplish in the upcoming school year.

  • Organizing your passwords.

At BTD Inc., we recognize the hard work students dedicate to Summer jobs and internships and we applaud our employed readers. Remember to show yourself gratitude for the time you are committing to your future whether it is by working or maintaining a budget. Every student deserves to relax and enjoy the Summer and with these tips I hope you can implement structure, entertainment, and productivity into your days.


Abramson, A. (n.d.). 6 Ways Just Writing Down Your Routines Will Make You More Productive—And then Some. Apartment Therapy. Retrieved June 13, 2023, from

Champion, L. & 2020. (2020, June 1). What Happens When You Wear PJs All Day, According to a Psychologist. PureWow.

College of Cosmotology, P. (2017, September 12). The Pros and Cons of a Beauty School Hair Appointment.

Mattaa, P. (2022, April 5). Morning Routine Statistics (2022). DreamMaker.

May, E. (n.d.). Why Is It Important to Set Realistic Goals? Retrieved June 13, 2023, from

Mcintosh, J. (2018, July 16). 15 benefits of drinking water and other water facts.

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