7 Money Saving Tips For College Students
Saving money has never been more important – particularly for a college student. During the time that you are in college, you are learning about money, credit and balancing your wants vs. your needs. It is the perfect time to establish good habits, or get yourself into financial trouble for years to come. Here are some ideas for helping college students to save money while accomplishing everything they need to.
Find the College Discounts
Going to school full-time can have great benefits. Full- time undergraduate students who are are enrolled in 12 credit hours are typically considered full-time, and graduate students are typically considered full-time students who are enrolled in 6 credits. Many businesses have student discounts, and this can really help you save money. Common retail businesses that have student discounts are restaurants, hair salons, movie theaters, and cell phone stores. In order to see if a business has a discount, just ask! The store may require a student ID in order to process your discount, but you’ll never know unless you go hunting.
Cut your Travel Expenses
Commuting to college can be expensive whether you live on campus or off. To reduce trips back and forth, bring your textbooks with you and study in your college’s library, computer lab, or study hall. Pack a snack or lunch and plan to spend the day – particularly if you’ll be coming back later for another class. Don’t forget your phone charger! We all need a little downtime and this will allow you to entertain yourself with shows, videos and social media in between studying.
Reap The Rewards
Gas and reward credit cards are a great way to pay for gas (as long as you pay them off quickly). Many times these cards offer an incentive of cash back or points that will allow you to cash out for credit down the road. If you are an Amazon shopper, they offer cards with credit back towards your Amazon purchases, gas purchases and at many more restaurants and stores. Every little bit counts! Bottom line – don’t use a credit card that is not giving you some kind of earning incentive. That would be money that you are just leaving on the shelf.
Watch your Food
Eating out can add up very quickly, so limit the number of times you eat out per week. Universities and community colleges normally have microwaves available to all, so think about packing some instant soups, microwaveable meals or possibly frozen dinners that you can get on sale at the grocery store. Read more about easy college meals that you can get on a budget to make your money stretch even further.
Find that Job
Part-time jobs on campus can really help out financially – and some colleges will even offer a discount on classes when you are employed. This should go for both full-time and part-time employees, so be sure to look into the specifics at your school. Look for jobs that will work with your schedule, either on campus or off. Jobs like dog walker, babysitter, restaurant server and bartender are great places to start, but you can also check at your school. The theatre department may need an employee in the scene shop, the cafeterias may have be looking for help, and there may be lots of other opportunities available that you’ve never even thought of. It’s worth taking a look!
Save on Books
There are a number of ways to save on books – and you can utilize as many as possible. First, never buy the brand new versions of your books. Look for a Kindle option, rent them or purchase them used. Your school may provide these options for you, but Amazon also has a program that is just as easy to use. If you want to own your textbooks, check your school bookstore for used copies, take a look on Amazon or eBay, or stop by a local half-priced book store to see what’s available. Lastly, investigate whether your school has a book scholarship program. Some of these are school specific while others are available nationally and/or for specific subjects. Do a Google search in reference to what kind of scholarship you are looking for and you’ll see a number of them pop up.
Don’t Give in to the Loans
Borrowing money during college is very tempting because it’s easy, but staying away from student loans as much as possible will ultimately save you money. Even loans that are provided by the government have interest that can add up, and the average student graduates with a substantial amount of debt. If you absolutely have to borrow money, research what type of loan you will qualify for. Educate yourself by having a consultation with a financial aid advisor on campus so that you are aware of the options and the consequences. If you do borrow, make sure that you pay off more than the minimum balance each month so that you can pay off the loan quickly.
Being a college student is temporary, but the costs you incur can haunt you for years to come. Do what you can to help yourself in the present so that you can have a future free from debt. Going to college can be stressful in and of itself, but hopefully these tips can get you set on a path to help you reduce some of the financial stress.