With student loans looming on every credit card statement and tuition costs rising rapidly, saving money while in college can feel like an impossible task.
But with some smart decisions made now and throughout your time at school, you can almost always find a way to save money without sacrificing your college experience. It is important to note that financial responsibility is a crucial part of college life, and learning to make sound financial decisions will prepare you for the future.
Students who do not learn the skills needed to control their finances will most likely continue this negative pattern throughout their lives. The following is a list of helpful steps to help you save money in college.
1. Have a Budget
Creating a realistic budget is the first step to saving money in college. Write down everything you pay for in a month, including living expenses and tuition fees.
Include your monthly bills, textbooks, gas money, and everything else you’d expect to spend. Go through the list to figure out ways that you can cut costs wherever possible. It will help you monitor your spending and adjust where necessary.
If you’re having trouble starting your budget, try keeping a basic journal of your spending for one week. Write down every expense you make during that time, and cut back wherever possible.
Then, look at the total amount you spent for the week and compare it to your total income for the time frame. Find at least one expense you can cut to save more money.
2. Cook at Home
Cooking at home instead of eating at cafes is a great way to save money in college. Not only does it cut down on dining out costs, but the money saved can be used for other bills or to pay down student loans. Plus, cooking at home is usually healthier for you and your friends than eating at a restaurant.
3. Shop Around
Most companies offer a discount through a low-interest rate or cash-back reward system. Additionally, many online retailers have promotions that can help lower prices on the things you need most.
When researching the prices of different products, there’s no greater tool than the Internet. It is easy to compare prices online and find the best deal possible. Keep an eye on your favorite websites’ newsletters, and coupon feeds to ensure you know about any promotions before they expire.
4. Buy Used Textbooks
Buying used textbooks instead of new ones is probably the best way to save money for readers. Since you won’t have to pay for the weight of a new book, you can also make sure you don’t waste money on printed material that you won’t be using.
Check out your school’s library before buying any old books or collections. If the book is outdated or a low-demand item, there’s no point in paying for it. When in doubt, though, go with what the library recommends.
5. Consider Student Dorms
Staying in on-campus housing can help you save money as you will be living with roommates. Living with a friend or two will also help keep your budget from going through the roof. If you find that other students are paying less per month, consider sharing the expenses to keep your costs down.
Student housing options like KU student dorms offer stylish dormitory rooms with all the amenities such as a kitchen, living room, and dining room. The dorms also have laundry facilities and spacious toilets, which are perfect for all students. Also, student dorms are equipped with air conditioning, free Wi-Fi, and flat-screen TVs. You will have a comfortable stay and be able to save money at the same time.
6. Get a Job
You can do this through your school’s student employment office or one of the many retail stores on campus. Working part-time often works well for students because it gives them extra spending money and helps them get used to having a job. It’s also a good experience that will serve you well in the future when you are looking for work upon graduation.
It’s easier to save money while in college if you do not continue to make poor financial decisions. Make these changes now and throughout your college years so that your financial burdens are future-proof. While this list is a good start, you must find the best way to save money in your unique situation. Cutting expenses is a crucial part of saving money while in college. It may take time to get used to the new ways of saving money, but it’s worth it in the long run.