12 Money-Saving Tips for College Students
Let’s face it: College life usually doesn’t look the way it does in TV shows. You probably won’t live in a huge, immaculately decorated luxury apartment, you won’t be wearing Prada to class, and you won’t enjoy an endless stream of cash for parties and spring break trips. In real life, most of us are restricted by a budget, and that budget is often fairly small for college students.
Hopefully, you will have time for a part-time job, so that you can earn some money for basic necessities and a few extras. You can stretch your dollars even further by employing these money-saving tips.
- Forget new textbooks. Buy used ones or rent, and ask each professor whether the latest edition is absolutely necessary. In many cases, you can order a slightly older edition on websites like Amazon for a small fraction of the cost of the new one.
- If you go out with friends, take only the amount of cash you can afford to spend. Sometimes, in a fun party atmosphere, we can make impulsive spending decisions.
- Keep track of your bills. Each time you pay the internet or electric bill late, you could be charged an additional fee.
- Avoid credit cards. If you want to build credit, only charge the amount that you can pay off by the end of the month. Often credit card companies will offer very high credit lines to college students, assuming your parents will bail you out. In many cases, they are wrong! Credit cards are a terrific way to dig yourself into a financial hole as a student.
- Take advantage of public transportation, walk, or get a bike. Cars are a huge expense and often unnecessary in a college environment.
- Evaluate your eating plan. If your college offers a variety of eating plans, evaluate what you really need. If you rarely eat breakfast, for example, don’t go for the three-meals-per-day plan.
- Reconsider school supplies. If you can type notes on your laptop, you probably don’t need to lug around a stack of notebooks.
- Investigate spring break options. Instead of taking an expensive trip, look into volunteer opportunities. These jobs will look great on your resume one day, too.
- Invest in a coffee maker. Your morning caffeine jolt is costing you several dollars per day, if you’re frequenting coffee shops.
- Consider a resident advisor position. You could earn free room and board in an on-campus dorm.
- Don’t buy music. Try free streaming services like Pandora and Spotify.
- Purchase a reusable water bottle. If you’re stopping for soft drinks on a regular basis, carrying your own water is healthier for both your body and your wallet.
Finally, a bonus tip: Listen to your parents. You might not take their fashion advice, agree with them on political issues, or like the same music, but the principles of money management and budgeting haven’t really changed all that much through the decades. They probably made some money mistakes of their own when they were young, and you can benefit from those life lessons.
If you’ve got questions, we’re here to help! Give us a call and set up an appointment.