Get a credit card. Yes I do recommend having one, but just one.
Only use it when you have the cash to cover the charge. You get home, write the check to cover the charge immediately. Internet orders, same thing. That way the payment hits about the same time the product arrives. You are establishing your credit history without incurring interest. Do not slack on the payments, do not put them off, make them immediately.
$5 preps. Focus on the little things you can do with only the pocket change you have. Canned goods, 1#bags of rice, beans, items that are not only easy to fix, but that can be eaten without cooking.
Forget your car if you can. Convenient, yes but saving on insurance, gas and maintenance will add up. Most campuses have a decent public transportation system. Put it in storage, get it out to go home if you keep it.
Figure your escape plans ahead of time. Not just shtf, but weather, traffic (football game snarls) and the like.
For the entire time I lived in a college town, 12 years,, I could load everything I wasn’t abandoning in an Aries K car. You don’t have to own junk, but be prepared to leave much behind.
Get involved with or form a medieval group. Learn the lifestyle, methods and tools of the middle ages. Yes this includes swords, bows/arrows, axes, cast iron pots, tents one actually live in and the like.
Don’t be afraid to take unusual classes/activities. I took several years of capoeira with a bunch of granola chewing hippie wanna-be’s. It was non contact, and advertised as a dance method/style. What it is, is a highly effective combat method disguised as a dance.
The hippies and I both learned something from each other. And not to underestimate the other.
Don’t put anything in a storage unit you are not prepared to lose. Accidents happen, theft occurs regularly, I used to investigate these thefts on a regular basis.
School loans? Make payments on the principal as often as possible, even when its not due. You make a couple hundred extra in side work, apply it to the principal of the loan. And mark the payments as such.
Camp and fish as much as you can, they’re cheap entertainment and keeps you out of the places that will cost you massive amounts of money. Volunteer with your local Boy Scout troop, you will learn stuff and get a lot of knowledge quickly.
I’m not going into weapons, at least at school, too many campuses have varied rules. I won’t advocate doing anything illegal or that may cost anyone jail time or get them kicked out. I will say that while in college I was armed, legal or not, but I made that decision and was willing to live with the consequenses.
Were I to have firearms for emergencies, hunting and such, my choices would be cheap, rugged and simple.
Glock 19 or S&W M&P 9mm compact
.22 rifle for small game and fun (keep it simple, no tacticool)
SKS or AK for defense and hunting.
None are ideal, but reasonably priced, fairly inexpensive but not cheap and serve more than one duty or purpose. They’ll get you by.
Some places a shotgun makes more sense than the rifle, but experience has shown that more meat can be gained with the rifle.