June 10, 2015

9 Tips for Saving Money In College

Money is often a concern for many full-time college students. Paychecks from part-time jobs aren't much. Luckily, if you play it smart you can make that money last and avoid becoming completely broke.

 1.) Don't live on campus.

After your freshman year, consider finding a place off-campus. Chances are, you can find an apartment or room for rent that is less expensive than on-campus housing. Additionally, you will no longer be required to have a meal plan.

2.) Eat at home.

Save money by cooking your own food instead of eating out or getting delivery. No time? Get a slow cooker and dinner will be ready when you get home from classes.

3.) Take the shuttle. 

Skip the expensive parking pass and save on gas. The shuttle fee is typically already included in your student fees, so you might as well use what you are paying for. Another perk of taking the shuttle: your commute becomes additional study/social media time.

4.) Avoid coffee shops. 

Instead, make coffee at home. I am super into espresso drinks, so I invested in an espresso machine for under $100 and an inexpensive coffee grinder. They paid for themselves quickly in terms of how much money I saved. Other coffee making options include drip coffee pots and french presses.

5.) Limit entertainment spending.

Look for options that won't cost you anything. See if there are any free events, such as festivals, plays or concerts, being put on by the city or your college. Instead of going to the movie theater, take advantage of any free movie nights offered at your college or rent a movie.

6.) Shop smart for textbooks. 

Buy books early, look around to find the best price, and look into economical options such as loose leaf bundles and old editions. Decide if renting really will save you money. Often times the rental price is within $10 of buying a used copy. If this is the case, buy the book and you will recover most of your money when you resell.

7.) Apply for scholarships.

If you didn't get a scholarship your freshman year, don't be discouraged. Continue to apply for scholarships throughout college. There are ton of scholarships that don't require you to be an incoming freshman. Also, don't take out any loans that are not absolutely necessary. If you do have to take out loans, stick to direct subsidized loans and avoid private loans.

8.) Take advantage of student discounts. 

Need a haircut?  Look around for a salon that offers a student discount. Same goes for tailors, movie theaters, museums, and more. Get the most out of your student ID!

9.) Cut back on impulse spending. 

Create a monthly budget and stick to it. There are a lot of apps available that can help you track your expenses and spending habits.

Of course there are plenty of other ways to save; what tips do you have?


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