With student debts being at all-time high, every single dollar you save while in college means a dollar less to pay back later. The amount one can save in college may not seem like much, but it does add up and can come in very handy later on. Unfortunately, for most students, college becomes the first time in their lives when they have the money of their own and get to manage and budget it. Here are some tips that can help you in this endeavor.
Get a Budgeting Tool
Before you even start managing your money, you will need a universal tool to keep track of all your assets. You may have but a single bank account at the moment, but this will change in time, so it is best to choose something with room to grow. One of the best choices is Mint – a free tool that allows you not just to budget your money, but also connect it to all your accounts and have it updated in real time in one place. It allows you to define your budget, divide spending into categories, and set goals.
Get a Free Checking Account
You cannot live without a bank account these days, but you should not pay for it. Some banks waive their checking account fees for students, but not all of them.
Get a Job
Getting a job is a must for every college student. Firstly, it brings in some extra cash you can use for unexpected expenses, e.g., to buy assignment online when you cannot do it yourself. In addition, it teaches you valuable real-life skills: communication, problem-solving, decision-making, time management, and so on.
Apply for Scholarships
It is popularly believed that it only makes sense to apply for scholarships while you are in high school, but nothing can be further from the truth. You have the full right to apply for as many scholarships and grants throughout your time in college. If you believe you have no chance of getting one, think again – many scholarships go unclaimed or have so few entrants that you have a very good chance of getting them if you only try.
Get the Most out of the College Library
Your college library is probably the most obvious yet least used the money-saving tool at your disposal. A typical campus library has everything you need to study, not just books: computers, software, study materials, Internet access, etc. All this can be quite costly to buy. However, you may need to plan your visits ahead – which is another good reason to learn time management.
Save on Textbooks
Textbooks are god-awfully expensive, and after you finish your course, you are rather unlikely to need them ever again. Whenever possible, avoid buying them new. Either look for used copies or rent them.
Use Student Discounts
Students are eligible for discounts on all kinds of things: from software and technology to clothes and food. Find out where you can save and keep track of all these opportunities – if you do it consistently, it can add up to a very neat sum.
Drink in Moderation
Although alcohol is an integral part of the college experience for most students, it isn’t a good idea to let it eat up a big chunk of your budget. Stick to buying alcohol on sales, split costs with others and, in general, drink in moderation.
Attend Free On-Campus Events
College offers plenty of opportunities to have a good time without paying anything for it. Music events, lectures, shows, sports – all this can be quite interesting and completely free. So why pay for entertainment at all?
And what do you believe to be the best money-saving practices while in college? Share them in comments!