Lacking monetary funds in college is rough. I know firsthand how the deficiency can add monumental stress to your already academics-induced anxiety. Yes, my parents support me, and no, I don't go hungry (all thanks to a wonderful and kind sister who lives roughly ten minutes away), but not having money is brutal. Without it, I can’t go out to eat with friends, attend special exhibits (such as the Harry Potter Exhibit presently in Times Square), go thrift shopping, or even, buy coffee! With that said, I give you a suffering freshman's advice on how to save those paper bills.
First off, get a job immediately. Don't wait and don't procrastinate. Immerse yourself in the city, walk around, find places that are hiring and apply. Finding a job isn’t difficult once you get past the initial fear of the Big Apple and its inhabitants. In order to make it here, you need to learn to put yourself out there. The old saying, “when life gives you lemons,” is false. New York does not hand out any lemons.
Secondly, form a budget. There are numerous budget apps available for smartphones like Mint.com, Smart Budget, and Easy Envelope (all free). If you don’t have a smartphone, you can always create your own budget sheet by using Microsoft Excel. The idea behind the budget is that it helps you organize and control the money you presently have. A good friend of mine uses a budget, and the kid knows what he can and cannot spend money on. What it comes down to is staying dedicated to the system.
Thirdly, eat cheap. If you are anything like me, you like food. You also like large quantities of food. In a city like New York, it’s hard to find cheap and good food. You can find, however, plenty of expensive, good food. But that’s not helpful when it comes to saving money. Be not disappointed, for I bring you good news! There are also plenty of places that give you a chance to tap into that inner "Scrooge". From small food stands all around Manhattan to Dollar Pizza to Pork and Chive Dumplings (like at Prosperity where you can get 10 for $2), food is abundant in the city. In addition to the cheap food, there are also numerous "deal" apps that give fantastic discounts at small, popular restaurants (a personal favorite is Scoutmob). And if all seems lost, there are always fast food chains.
Saving money depends on how good of a planner and organizer you are. If you know your limitations and are capable of controlling yourself, you will survive the city. If you haven’t the faintest clue as to where the money goes, and you don't have a flow of cash coming from your parents, prayer is always an option.
Keep on keeping on.