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 UMD Students Save

Video Clip
Ellen Schneiderhan brings a water bottle to school.
Of the 136 students surveyed:
65% Ride the bus and car pool
73% Look for student discounts
87% Pack a lunch
70% Bring their own beverages with them
80% Cook nine or more meals at home per month
79% Buy used textbooks

UMD Home Page Survey:
Students Look for Ways to Save Money in Tough Times

It appears that UMD students won't have to crack into their nest egg just yet. Students at UMD are finding ways to save extra money in these tough economic times. From cooking their own meals, cutting coupons, reusing bags and containers, and joining friends for potlucks, students are saving money.

The Office of University Relations conducted a survey in February 2009 on student spending habits. Over an 18-day period, individuals could click on a "saving money survey" on the UMD homepage. The respondents included about 100 community members, alumni, and staff, in addition to 136 students. According to the data collected, UMD students are frugal.

Students have figured out that saving money in transportation costs can add up to thousands of dollars. The results indicate that 65% of students ride the bus and car pool. Others live on campus, walk, or bike. One of the comments gathered in the survey urged people to use free transportation, "Walk, bike, or take the bus places," the comment said. Two factors make it possible for students to live in Duluth without a car. The Duluth Transit Authority buses are free for UMD students and inexpensive coach buses connect the UMD campus to the Twin Cities daily.

Senior economics major Casey Gode agrees with 70% of the students surveyed who bring their own beverages with them to UMD. He suggests, "Drink water. I've noticed when I spend money on drinks at restaurants or from vending machines; I go through about ten dollars a week. Bringing a bottle to school and refilling it is a smart way to save some money."

Junior education major David Cummings wasn't surprised to find out that 87% of students surveyed pack a lunch. He said, "I bring leftover dinners for lunch everyday to school, which helps me save money."

"My roommates and I cook meals together to save money," said Corie Korin an art major. Along with 80% of the students surveyed, she cooks nine or more meals at home each month. She said, "It's fun to try different recipes and put a new twist on old ones."

UMD's Sustainability Coordinator, Mindy Granley, notes that many of the money-saving tips offered by UMD students are also sustainable choices. She said, "Sometimes, what we do to save money can also help the environment. Small everyday choices can have a global impact. Refilling your bottle with water from the tap saves energy and water; no petroleum is used to create a plastic bottle or ship it, and no water was wasted in production. Shopping in bulk means less packaging waste. Saving gas by riding the bus reduces your carbon footprint. Borrowing movies or books instead of purchasing them means less items are produced and consumed."

UMD students, like students across the country, are making the connection between saving money and creating a more sustainable world. "My roomates and our neighbors try to walk everywhere we can in order to save money," said Brianna Mellen, a junior international studies major. "That also helps the environment by not putting emissions into the air."

College students across the country are affected by the current economy and are looking for ways to save. NextPath, a newsletter published by NextStudent Inc., has identified 10 ways college students can save money. They are: buy books used, shop in bulk, save on gas, make your own coffee, skip the bottled water, use your student discounts, look for freebies, shop for second-hand items, bring a brown-bag lunch, and rent movies and games from the library.

UMD students report there are local ways to save money. They suggest taking advantage of free movies, concerts, lectures and special events through UMD's Kirby Program Board, using discounted software available through UTools, and using Bulldog Taxi, the $2 per person ride program. They also recommend the Kirby Game Room which offers chess, checkers, cribbage, backgammon, and cards.

In addition to answering survey questions, the respondants were invited to make comments. See their tips below for some great ways to save money and energy.



Make all meals from scratch.

Use 2 for 1 coupons for restaurants so you can go out more often

Buy “cook your own” pizzas.

Sign up for email coupons from local restaurants

Eat out less.

Carry an apple or a pack of gum so you aren’t tempted to buy food when you are on the go.

Don't buy bottled water - refill from the tap.

Plan/prepare meals ahead of time.

Split meals or buy two-for-one meals with friends at restaurants.

Bring own lunch and cook meals at home

Purchase bulk foods when possible (like flour, sugar, and pasta from the co-op).

Have a garden in the summer.


Making a comprehensive list prior to shopping to prevent 'impulse purchases'.

Look at cost per ounce at the grocery store

Buy fewer "toys." Pay cash.

Reuse bags, containers, paper, wrapping.

Shop ONLY when you need something. Stay home.

If you don't need an item and it's on SALE, don't purchase just because it's on sale

Buy things in bulk and split the cost with roommates (like paper products or produce).

Always wait to buy items on sale.

Shop the clearance rack.

Use coupons whenever possible.
Invite friends to a clothing swap.


As for dating, most girls don't mind it if you cook for them.

Exercise outdoors and at home rather than pay gym fee

Buy cheap beer, instead of buying at the bars.

Find cheap entertainment to do with friends instead of going out on weekends

Instead of going out on the town, go for a walk

Have a feast/potluck/community meal with friends. The food ends up being better, and everyone can share the expense

Check out books and movies from the library. Share books with friends.

Wait until films come out on DVD before seeing them. It's a fraction of the cost of going to the theater


Condense errand running to one day per week.

Unplug coffee pot, toaster, chargers, etc.

Turn thermostat down during the day

Keep the house cool and wear sweaters

Minimize the length and heat of hot showers

Turn off lights, TV, when not in the room.

Put plastic on windows.


Cut down on driving.

Never buy a new vehicle - this is recycling

Keep automobiles in good condition with frequent maintenance and upkeep, to prevent expensive major breakdowns.

When running errands - plan the course so you don’t backtrack - save gas and time

Walk, bike or take the bus places - all free.

Ride a Vespa (Get 100 miles/gallon!)


Pay off credit card balances immediately.

Always allocate part of your money each month of savings; even if it's only $20.

Repair broken items.

Recycle paper for printing. Avoid printing.

Get an Air Force Scholarship and save on tuition

Written by Donna O'Neill, Ann Lichtenberg and Cheryl Reitan

UMD home page editor, Cheryl Reitan,
NEW RELEASES, UMD media contact, Susan Latto,, 218-726-8830

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