Do you have champagne tastes on a beer budget? That seems to be the case for most college students as they strive to get their education. Unless you’ve got an indispensible bank account you can access funds from whenever you need, you’ll want to start being wise with your spending. Aside from tuition costs, there are a plethora of things you’ll need to afford as a college student. Below are a few ways you can do this:
- Purchase used textbooks. In most instances you can purchase used textbooks online to save money. If you have to purchase new books, be sure to sell them once you’re done for extra money in your pocket.
- Maintain a budget. The best way to monitor your spending is to have a budget. Even if you don’t have many bills to pay, having an allotted amount of cash set aside for expenses can ensure you don’t spend more than you have.
- Eat out less. You might get tempted to eat at the school cafeteria or even check out local restaurants, delis, and cafes in the neighborhood. While it can be great to get out and mingle from time to time, eating out can really “eat” at your budget. Try to keep eating out to a minimum, about once or twice a month, to save cash.
- Drop bad habits. If you drink or smoke, this is going to really dig into your overall budget for school. It may be time to ditch those expensive habits for good or at the very least cut back.
- Only use credit cards in emergency situations. If you have a credit card, it should only be used in emergency situations to avoid jacking up your credit scores or racking up a lot of debt. When you use the card, don’t forget to make a timely payment to eliminate late fees.
- Consider a roommate. If you’re having a hard time coming up with the rent and utilities each month you might consider taking in a roommate. A fellow college student would be ideal in that you’ll have similar schedules and lifestyles.
- Try satellite. Instead of investing in cable subscription services that could run an upwards of $100 a month, it may be a good idea to consider satellite subscription services. There are service providers, such as DIRECTV in Long Beach, CA and other qualifying areas, that can provide you with packages including Internet for a low monthly fee.
- Walk when you can. Don’t use a car to get back and forth to campus unless you absolutely have to. Walking or utilizing public transportation is often a more affordable option. If you must drive, try carpooling with other students in the area to offset the costs.
- Share a cell phone plan. You and your roommate could really save money on your cell phone bills by sharing a plan. Most cell phone providers offer family or group plans that allow you to share minutes, texting, and data.
- Purchase generic brands. When going to the grocery store it is a good idea to compare the cost of store brands verses name brands. You may find that you can save a decent amount on your grocery bill by simply switching to store-brand products.
- Ask about student discounts. Businesses located near college campuses tend to offer discounts to attending students. Remember to keep your college ID with you at all times and ask about a discount before making a purchase.
With the average college tuition costing about $25,000 a year, finding ways to save is imperative to affording your education. The above eleven ideas are sure to give you a head start in staying on budget. If you find that you still don’t have enough to cover all expense, it may be necessary for you to obtain part-time employment to cover the costs. Of course, thanks to modern technology, there are plenty of ideas for college students to earn money as they get an education.