A college student has a lot of expenses: tuition, room and board, books, supplies. All of these add up in the end. Saving money while in college can help a lot with graduating debt-free. It’s a wise decision to start saving now to have easier access to your finances as you progress through school.
This guide is for those just starting their college career and who have no idea what kind of expenses they will encounter during school.
Here are some general guidelines for savings
The main factor in saving money is to find out how much the average college student spends on various things. Now that the numbers are in front of you, here’s how much change you should save every month:
Many students are surprised to hear how much their food expenses add up. The average student spends $7,320 per year ($610 per month). This is the most significant amount that a college student spends on average.
For other expenses, the average student spends $2,400 each year ($200.00 per month). Try expensive alternatives, examine your expenses; you’ll save far more than $600 per month this way.
Get a roommate
By having a roommate, you’ll be able to split the rent and save even more money. Even just one friend who would be willing to share a dorm room or house so it can be cost-effective.
Saving money is vital for when you graduate from college. You may not be able to pay for all of your expenses with other people’s money, so you should save as much as possible.
Cook your meals
Cook your oatmeal in the microwave instead of paying for it on campus. You can also save by purchasing less expensive groceries than those available on campus.
Restaurants can be costly, and even if you find something cheap, it’s not as healthy as cooking for yourself. Plus, if you cook at home, you can control how much salt and unhealthy fats are in your food.
There are plenty of cheap, easy recipes that you can make in a dorm or apartment kitchen. Check out websites like Budget101 for ideas or ask your friends and family for their favorite recipes. Cooking will become second nature once you’ve mastered it, and you’ll save a lot of money in the process.
Use student discounts
Speaking of getting involved on campus, did you know that many stores offer student discounts? You need to show your ID card to get a percentage of your purchase. This can be anything from clothes to textbooks (which can get expensive if you buy them new).
Use coupons and buy in bulk to save money. Go on a shopping trip with your friends and see if you can find anything to help you save cash. You may want to start your coupon organization with all of your friends so that you can save even more.
Many students think they can survive without a bank account, but they get stuck paying check-cashing fees every month.
Coupons can be available in various locations, both on and off the internet. If you use coupons, you can buy more things you need with less money or buy cheaper items.
Don’t go to an out-of-state college
Saving money while in college is important, but going to an out-of-state university is not the way to do it. Even if they have lower tuition than your state schools, they cost more than twice as much when considering room and board.
On average, 31% of students graduate with their first choice school. Do your research and make sure that you are prepared for the total costs of any college.
It’s very easy to get tempted by how much better a school is than your local one but remember – price should be the main factor.
Sell your stuff
A great tip to make some extra cash as a student is to sell your stuff. This could be anything from clothes you no longer wear therefore you don’t need anymore. There are a lot of online marketplaces that are perfect for selling your belongings, like eBay, Craigslist, and Amazon.
You can also sell things in person by putting up ads at your school or in the local paper. Just be sure to price items fairly and ship them out quickly once they’ve been sold – otherwise, you might scare away potential buyers.
Rent your textbooks, not buy them
Buying new books can cost you an arm and a leg each semester (sometimes literally!), so don’t do that! Instead, rent ’em for way less money than buying outright. Websites like Chegg offer rentals of physical and digital textbooks at a fraction of the cost of other retailers or even used bookstores.
You usually have to wait until midterms start before you get access to the rented texts, but by then, you’ll be sick of reading them anyway, so it doesn’t matter too much. Plus, these sites pay over $110 billion over time in fees when they graduate college.
Take advantage of the library
Instead of paying full price for books, you need to visit the college library and check them out.
The college library will usually have the most up-to-date copies available, and if you take good care of them (by marking your page and remembering where you put things), they won’t even mind that you keep them overnight.
You can also check out DVDs and CDs from the library.
There are also discounts for movie tickets, travel, and cell phone plans. Just keep your eyes peeled; you might find a freebie that you weren’t expecting.
Buy a reusable water bottle and reusable plates/silverware
Stop buying those little water bottles at the school vending machine every day. You’re paying a dollar or more every time you quench your thirst. Instead, go to a thrift shop and pick yourself up a nice insulated water bottle that you can use throughout the day (and refill from the tap). If you need something to put it in, check out this stylish option from Target.
Those who opt for bottled water often throw away plastic cups and plates after eating lunch because they don’t have room in their backpacks for all of them. Settle down, friends. There are ways to avoid this ecological disaster.
Instead of using disposable plates and silverware, invest in a set of reusable items that you can take with you wherever you go.
This will not only conserve some trees, but it’ll also save you some money in the long run.
Cut back on partying
We all know that college is a time to let loose, but you need to cut back on your partying expenses. This means skipping out on those $10 and choosing instead to drink beer or liquor from your dorm mini-fridge (or best yet, BYOB to the party). It also means skipping out on those pricey club cover charges and drinks.
You don’t have to avoid socializing altogether to save money, be a little more mindful of where you’re spending your cash. And if you need to let loose, consider throwing a party at your place instead of going out.
Participate in campus activities
College is all about getting involved on your campus, believe it or not. Not only will this lead to some cool free experiences outside of the classroom, but participating in activities can save you quite a bit of cash too. Just by joining the group that goes on campus hikes or the one that volunteers at the local animal shelter, you’re opening yourself up to a bunch of discounts and freebies.
Check out your school website or student center for a list of campus activities. There’s probably something for everyone, so find something that you’re interested in and get involved.
When graduates think about how much money is owed on their student loans, the number can be staggering.
It’s vital to know that there are options and ways in which this debt may become more manageable with time as payments decrease over an extended period of repayment2 years or 30-year terms. After that, they usually take out more loans or get a job to pay off the debt.
When you graduate, you’ll have a good amount of money saved up in your bank account. It may not be as much as when you first started school, but it should be enough to cover your expenses and put a little extra away for when you’re ready to move on (if you’re still in school)
The average student has $50,004 in debt at the end of their schooling. It’s important to pay off your debt promptly so that you can enjoy your finances without being bogged down by student loans.
You may think paying back loans does not apply to you since you are just starting your schooling. However, loans are one of the most significant expenses of a college student. If you don’t want your school loans to be too expensive at the end of your school career, then you should start saving money now to pay off these debts.
The average student takes out $4390 in loans. And this number can only go higher each year when considering tuition rates increase annually at an alarming rate while unemployment remains high among recent graduates.
Ask for help when you need it
As a college student, it might be challenging to make ends meet; when you need assistance, don’t be afraid to ask for it.
Your parents, friends, or even the school financial aid office are all great resources when you need a little extra money. But don’t be pushy, and don’t pretend like things are worse than they are so that you can get more money from people.
Many students worry about not having enough money to cover their expenses after graduating. If you have taken the time to start saving while going to school, then you’ll be able to take care of all of the financials and not have any regrets when the time comes for you to get out of college.
Be honest about your financial situation, but also remember that everyone wants to help their friends out. So ask for what you need – just don’t overdo it.
To pay off your debts, you must make a budget. Knowing what expenses come up every month will help ensure that your savings are enough for the next month so that you don’t have any worries about owing anyone money (or hounding friends for cash).
Make a budget and stick to it
A budget is an essential tool for managing your finances. By creating one, you can learn to be more mindful about how much money goes out in monthly expenses like groceries and rent and transportation or entertainment which will hopefully leave some money at the end of each month.
There are ample of online budgeting tools that can help you get started, or you can create a spreadsheet on your computer or in a notebook.
The key is to be realistic about how much money you have and what you need each month.
Prepare to leave some room in your budget for unexpected expenses and make adjustments as needed.
Sticking to a budget is one of the smartest things that you can do while you’re in college – and it will help you save money.
Start saving as soon as you can so that you’re not broke when it’s time to finish school. Also, think about budgeting your income and expenses. Each month you should be putting aside a certain amount of money.
College students spend too much money and don’t have anything for savings. Try to avoid this by being responsible with your income and knowing yourself well enough to know what you need and how much. This will help you pay for necessary expenses without taking loans or getting grants and without worrying too much about making ends meet.
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