Are you looking for ways to save money in college?
If you’re a student and you’re struggling to afford college, you’re certainly not alone. In fact, the average college student has over $35,000 in debt after graduation.
Fortunately, there are plenty of simple yet effective means of saving money in college. If you’re struggling to afford college life, you’re going to want to read this. We’re sharing nine essential tips for how to save money in college and minimize your financial burden.
1. Create a Budget
First and foremost, you’re going to want to start by creating a budget.
After all, how are you supposed to know if you’re overspending or saving when you have virtually no grasp on your finances? Sure, it’s not exactly a fun job. But it’s absolutely essential if you want to get serious about saving.
Start by outlining how much you can afford to spend each month. This must include all of the essentials such as rent, bills and groceries. Next, you can outline the non-essentials such as entertainment, restaurants and any extras.
As the month progresses, be sure to keep track of any money that you spend. This will help to keep you accountable and to better understand what you can afford to spend that month.
2. Consider a Part-Time Job
The most straightforward way to save money as a college student is to find a part-time job.
Of course, there’s no denying that your years at college are sure to be incredibly busy. After all, you have early morning class followed by tutorials in the afternoon and an after-school mixer. On top of this, you have class projects, presentations and examinations to account for.
However, even with a busy schedule, the majority of college students are bound to have some free time. Even a spare ten hours per week could well-served at a part-time job.
Nowadays, there are incredible opportunities to make money online. The best part about these online opportunities is they don’t even require you to leave the house. This could be anything from freelance writing and online tutoring to blogging and completing surveys.
3. Use Your Student Discount
Whatever you do, don’t ever leave the house without your student identification!
There’s a world out there that is more than happy to give you a student discount. This is especially true in towns that have one or more local colleges.
Wherever you find yourself, don’t be shy to ask if they offer any student discounts. In fact, you’d be surprised at the variety of places and services that provide discounts for students.
4. Buy and Sell Used Textbooks
Every college student knows just how expensive buying your textbooks for the year can be.
In fact, some course textbooks can be so expensive that students refuse to buy them all together. One study found that 65 percent of college students have skipped buying an essential textbook due to a lack of affordability. When this happens, it’s safe to say that finding success in that course is nearly impossible.
When it comes to essential readings, the best thing to do is buy and sell your used textbooks. With used textbooks, you can look forward to purchasing that same textbook at a fraction of the price. Once you’re done with that textbook, you can opt to sell it and earn some cash.
5. Apply for Scholarships and Grants
Today, there are a number of scholarships and grants that are available to college students.
Far too often, students are of the belief that these opportunities are strictly for top-earning students. However, there are a variety of financial opportunities available to many students.
This could be anything from grants awarded to students in a writing competition to grants awarded to students in low-income families. There are also grants available to students that suffer from a disability or physical or mental setback.
6. Ditch the Car
Unfortunately, it just might be time to officially ditch the car.
Let’s be honest, driving can be incredibly expensive. Not only are you paying for the car itself and insurance, but you’re also paying for maintenance, gas money and parking. In fact, one study found that the average cost of ownership is approximately $8500 per year.
Do yourself a favor and ditch the car during your college years. Instead, you can embrace the student lifestyle and opt for the bus, train and car-share programs.
It’s time to do as the students do!
7. Make Use of Campus Services and Amenities
If you’re spending the majority of your time on campus, why not make use of all of the amenities?
Each and every college offers a variety of services and amenities to their students. Remember, your student fees each year account for the various services and amenities that are being offered to students. Even if you’re not choosing to utilize these services, it’s likely you’re paying for them.
This could be anything from gymnasiums and sporting facilities to movie nights and campus events.
8. Hunt for Freebies
At any given time, you can rest assured that your campus is giving away something, anything entirely for free.
The people and services present on campus are aware that students are on a budget. So, in order to promote certain organizations or simply to help students, people are willing to give things away for free.
There are also lots of clubs and services that offer free, lightly-used items to students. This could be anything from textbooks and housing items to clothing and merchandise.
Be sure to join online groups and forums that are specific to your college. This is the best way to get acquainted with the freebies that are available throughout campus.
9. Limit Meals Out
Packing your own snacks and lunch is one of the most simple and effective means of saving on campus.
Even though the campus is aimed at students, the prices of food and drink don’t always reflect this. In purchasing lunch, a snack and a beverage each and every day, you’ll be shocked at what this amounts to on a monthly basis.
Instead, make a point in packing your lunch, snacks and carrying a reusable water bottle. Not only this is better for your health and the environment, but you’re also going to save plenty of money in the long-run.
The Best Ways to Save Money in College
Keeping up with classes and making new friends at college is stressful enough. But, when you also have to account for a deteriorating bank account and neverending college bills, this stress can really begin to take a toll.
Fortunately, there are ways to save money in college that are simple and still effective. This could be anything from ditching the car and limiting meals out to buying used textbooks and taking advantage of freebies on campus. While these changes are minimal, you’ll be surprised at just how much they will benefit your wallet.
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