Saving money can help you reach your goals, become financially independent and help to prepare you for the unexpected. Get in the habit of saving by putting money into a savings account every month. Even if it is just $5, it can help prepare you for emergencies.

After you graduate and have a larger income, experts suggest that you save 10 percent of your monthly gross income (amount of money before tax deductions) to put into your savings account.

College can be expensive, and there are additional costs associated with living away from home. That doesn't mean you can't enjoy your life outside the classroom while attending CMU.

Here are a few tips for enjoying the Mount Pleasant and CMU community while still being frugal.

Mount Pleasant is a great place for affordable entertainment. Check out Mt. Pleasant Wow for a variety of art, music and sporting events; restaurants; and educational entertainment going on around town. There’s also plenty going on during the summer if you stay in Mount Pleasant.

There also are several events on campus that are often free for students to attend. These events include concerts, movies, guest speakers and more. Visit for a list of campus events.

As a CMU student, you already have free access to the Student Activity Center on campus and free admission to sporting events. Students also receive discounted movie tickets at the local theater. Catch a matinee and save even more money.

Check out OrgSync to find more ways to get involved around campus.

While Mount Pleasant has many great restaurants, you can control your expenses by limiting the number of times you dine out. If you have a meal plan for one of the residential restaurants, make sure you use your meals.

When you go grocery shopping, be sure to make a list before you go and avoid impulse purchases. Shop smart. Use coupons. Check sale items. Consider purchasing generic brands versus name brands.

Hard times can fall on anyone, even college students. If you find yourself struggling to purchase groceries after you pay your monthly bills, you may be eligible for assistance through the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) program.

As a student, you’ll need books. You also may need computer software for your academic work.

Books and software can be expensive. CMU knows this and can help lower the cost.

The CMU Bookstore sells new and used books. Find the books you need for your courses and hunt for a used copy. Remember to take care of your textbooks because the bookstore may buy them back at the end of the semester.

For some CMU courses, students are able to take advantage of the CMU Bookstore’s All-Inclusive program, which provides course materials electronically on the first day of class. This can reduce the cost of eligible books by up to 50 percent.

The bookstore also rents books, which can save you money.

If you are able to plan ahead, you can reduce your textbook costs by buying and selling them online.

As a student at CMU, you are able to download Microsoft Office 365 which includes Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote, and more, at no charge for up to five devices. To find out more information, visit this Knowledge Base article.