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Attending post-secondary education such as college or university can be very expensive and often time’s students are left with large sums of debt after they’ve graduated.
To avoid going into debt after your done your post-secondary education, I’ve created a short list of 9 handy tips to help you save money while in university or college.
1. Rent Your Textbooks (Or Buy Used)
Textbooks have become very expensive nowadays. Buying new ones will cost you a lot of money.
You can rent books from the bookstore in your campus or other sources like Chegg.
Another option is buying your books used from sources such as BookFinder.com. Otherwise, you can also buy digital versions of the books. Digital versions are usually much cheaper and are also environment friendly.
2. Look for the Best Student Loan Rates
Student loans have become hugely expensive nowadays. You should approach different banks and find out the rates that they are offering. Before making a final decision, you should carefully analyze all of them.
It is advisable to take the help of online loan calculator in order to find out the exact long term cost of a loan.
Generally, students opt for the bank that is ready to provide the maximum amount of loan. But remember that it is borrowed money, and you have to return it along with interest. Many colleges and schools also have a loan advisory committee and will guide you through the entire process.
3. Start a Meal Plan
Meal plans can be very expensive. In some colleges, meal plans are compulsory. In that case, go through all the plans and select the most affordable one.
If meal plans are not compulsory, then it will be best to cook your own food. Purchase the groceries and cook simple, easy to make meals. This way you will end up saving a lot of money and you are also eating as per your liking.
Also avoid going out to eat whenever possible, and if you do, don’t pay for expensive drinks. Stick with water.
4. Use Credit Cards Wisely (Or Not at All)
Student life is usually the time when everyone gets their first credit card.
The temptation to spend will be there, but you have to make sure that you are not overspending. Also, if you fail to clear off your dues at the end of the month, the interest will gradually go up and you have to also pay late fees.
Your debt will gradually increase. Hence, your first priority should always be to spend in cash.
Avoid using a credit card all together, if possible.
5. Find a Part-Time Job or Internship
While in college, you should also look for opportunities to earn some extra cash.
Take up part time jobs which have flexible timings. Also, make sure that you intern in as many companies as possible. You will earn some extra money and you will also pick up some important skills.
Having a part-time job while in school might be the most effective way to avoid having debt after your finished school.
6. Avoid Peer Pressure
This is really important. In college you will always have people asking you to do various activities that cost money, such as going out to eat or going out to see a movie.
You don’t always have to say “no.” However knowing how to say no sometimes, can save you a lot of money.
7. Make a Budget
Before the beginning of the year or semester, you should make a budget and follow that religiously.
Fix the amount of money which you are willing to spend on books, meals and other expenses.
Make sure that you always stick to the budget.
If for some reason you overspend on books, then you should try to make it up in some other area.
8. Avoid Cable Costs
Having a cable connection is very expensive and will cost you a lot of money. During your college years, you should avoid watching TV and spend time in doing more productive things. In case you have to watch some shows, try Netflix or other on demand services.
(*hint* you might have a friend or family member who you can “borrow” their Netflix login)
9. Take Financial Classes
Most colleges generally conduct these kinds of classes. Make sure you attend them.
You will learn some useful tips regarding how you can save money. If you can’t find one at the college, there are plenty of online options, and many are free!
10. Follow Money Saving Blogs
There are many great blogs and free resources online that can help you save money in your everyday life.
Find a money saving blog that interests you, and keep up to date!
Other than MoneyMiniBlog, there are thousands of awesome blogs. You can see MoneyMiniBlog’s top 25 list here.