This is a guest post by Rachael Everly. Read more about her at the end of the post. Write for us.
More often than not, college students are constantly facing shortage of money even if they have managed to acquire a student loan. While the funding may appear to be enough when you get it at the beginning of the term, it is not long before you realize that you will need to seriously budget to last it throughout. This is the hard part; budgeting, to make sure that you do not run out of money before you receive your next funding. However, it is not so difficult that you would term it impossible. I would like to list down a couple of saving tips for you college students.
1. Save Money on Food
You do not have to live on scraps of food. No, this is definitely not what I am trying to say. But you can definitely save a lot by planning out your meals rather than getting a takeaway on your way back home. You can buy the ingredients and cook up your meal at home. It would be cheaper along with being more hygienic, healthy and tasty. If you are living with roommates you all can together buy your food in bulk, further saving on food expenses. Another possibility is growing your vegetables and fruits yourself. Again, this would lead to tremendous savings. Both your wallet and your body would be better off this way. Of course, gardening requires time and I would advise you to go for it only if you can afford to. There is definitely no point in saving money this way if it costs you your studies.
Of course you would want to dine out sometimes. Everyone likes that and a treat once, or max, twice a month should not hurt, provided you do not go overboard. Opt for happy hours or deals available.
2. Save Money on Textbooks
You have the option of renting out or buying used textbooks for your courses. Buying new textbooks costs a lot and there is no point in doing that because you would probably not need them after your course. There are textbook rentals that you can go for, or look for websites who deal in used books. Another option is to exchange your old books, or even sell them off to, at least partially, recover the costs.
3. Save Money on Transportation
If your campus is near your place it would be a good idea to walk or bike to it. Besides saving you fuel costs it would also be a good exercise for you, keeping you fit and building your stamina. If your campus is not at a walking distance from your residence you can opt for public transportation. Again, get a student discount pass if your college offers one. If you own a ride you can get your fellow classmates to carpool with you. It would be economical for all of you and you would not have to burden the fuel costs on your own. If you do not have a car, do not even think of getting one at this point!
4. Avail Student Discounts
There are loads and loads of student discounts available out there. All you need to do is look. From restaurants to libraries, accessory shops, transport and cinemas – you name it. Even if a particular outlet has not mentioned out loud about the student discounts they have, it would not hurt to ask. Chances are that they probably do have deals for students. If you keep a track of the savings you get through such offers over a period of time, you will realize how beneficial it turned out to be.
5. Avoid Credit Cards
Try not to use your credit card until and unless there is an emergency. And definitely never use it for anything that you do not really need. While you may particularly need them when you are extremely tight on money, make sure that you are not careless with it. One way to ensure that is by keeping a low credit limit. Pay off the balance every month and pay on time to avoid extra costs. Just do not let the debt manage you!
Learn the difference between needs and wants and draw out a clear line between the two. Avoid buying anything expensive that you do not actually need. I am sure you will be able to find cheaper substitutes. For example, you may have your eyes on that super pretty costume you want for the college Halloween party. Or a gaming mouse you have been after since a long time. Try to get a cheaper, non-branded version instead. The important thing to remember is to stay debt free during college and to develop a habit of properly managing your finances. These habits would go a long way in ensuring that you do not accumulate debt later on as well.
How do you or did you save money as a student?
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About the Author:
Rachael Everly is an undergraduate student of finance who loves to write on the topics related to Money Management and Loan Forgiveness. Follow @Rachael Everly for further updates.