COLUMN: Tips to making TigerCard money last

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As wonderful as the money on your TigerCard can be, it's all too common to hear Auburn students complain about being out of money halfway through the semester. Where did it all go? How can you spread it out to last the entire semester, ideally?

When students begin the semester they start out with either $300 or $900 on their TigerCards, depending on whether they live off or on-campus, respectively. With the average on-campus meal costing about $10 and there being 72 class days each semester, it's important to budget your money.

If you eat one meal every class day (not including weekends), you'll spend $300 in just 30 days, which means that off-campus students can't afford to eat a full meal on-campus every day using just their TigerCards.

Depending on your lifestyle and eating habits, there are a number of ways to go about saving your TigerCard money.

Get a part-time job

Whether you find a job on-campus or off, the extra income can go along way towards making sure you never starve and don't have to rely on your small amount of TigerCard money.

Human society has buildings called "grocery stores" where pieces of green paper can be exchanged for large quantities of food that are far cheaper than what you'd find on-campus. Use a job to acquire as much green paper as you can so that you can get as much food as possible.

Don't buy meals all the time

As an alternative to eating a full meal every day, consider buying food in smaller portions just to sate your appetite and keep you going throughout the day.

Whether it's a cup of coffee in the morning, an apple in the day or just an order of fries from Chick-fil-A, try to limit your spending by buying only what you need at a given time.

Never buy bottled water

Every single building in Auburn University has implemented the revolutionary invention that is running water, and it's free for everyone to drink.

There is absolutely no need for anyone to pay money for a bottle of liquid that one could get in abundance for free just 20 yards away.

Consider substituting sodas and other drinks for water, too. The only liquid college students absolutely need besides water is coffee; everything else is replaceable.

Limit your splurging

Some students might think that the Chick-fil-A deluxe chicken sandwich meal is the best thing in the world and that they are entitled to eat it whenever they want. When their card gets declined after waiting for 20 minutes in the Chick-fil-A line, they'll realize this isn't the case.

Whether it's a breakfast plate in the morning, a big burrito and chips or a bowl piled with Chinese food, save your favorite meals for special occasions like after a big test or finishing an important paper.

None of these options are mutually exclusive, and it's up to each student whether or not he or she has the willingness to follow them. Although, when finals week comes around and all you want to take the edge off is a chicken sandwich or a fancy Starbucks latte, you'll be happy that there's just enough money left on your account.

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