Going away to college can bring a sense of liberation, exhilaration, and a shock about how far money goes. Suddenly, clothing, meals, entertainment, and club-hopping can become real drains on the pocketbook. Also, it seems as if the education system raises tuition, housing, and study expenses across the board every year, which makes it even more difficult for students to stick to a limited budget. Instead of becoming one of the many students that need to write home for more money every month, here are some ways you can save some cash while attending a higher educational system.
1. Carry Your Identification
Your school identification can help you earn discounts on a large variety of items in-store and on campus, so don’t leave home without it. Stores can offer student discounts of more than 10 percent on computers, clothing, and meals – with valid student identification.
2. Buy Used Textbooks
New textbooks can be expensive, so why not check out ways to save a bundle before you visit the bookstore. Saving money on textbooks can be as easy as knowing where to look and who to contact. With some textbook services, there is even free shipping for orders over a certain amount.
3. Choose Appropriate Housing
Living on campus can cost much less than living off. If your housing costs are limited, check out the dorms or see if someone can split housing costs with you. Roommates can also help with utilities and cleaning expenses.
4. Leave Your Car
Cars are often unnecessary when you live in a college town. Why pay for insurance, parking, or gas for a vehicle that will be parked 95 percent of the time? Check out of the local public buses, community trains, or ask a friend to join you and split the cost of a hired car for a special event away from home.
5. Limit Eating Out
Students love to eat, and that is why you will find so many fast food outlets and restaurants around any given campus. The problem with eating out is that costs can quickly soar – even with student discounts. Whether it is a favorite morning donut, a special cup of coffee, or a nightly burger, why not switch it up and choose to make eating out a celebration for a good test score or well-written paper?
6. Check Campus Freebies
Most colleges offer amenities each week for students through the campus student union. From free lectures to movie nights to costume parties, you can find it all if you look through the weekly schedule.
7. Restrict Credit Usage
Having a credit card can offer almost too much freedom for those living on a limited budget. When you just have to have the newest game or the latest boots, credit can seem like a simple answer. The problem is that you need to pay the cards off each month or pay an interest fee.
There is no “one size fits all” secret to how you can save money while attending college. You are the only one that knows your monthly budget and expenses – so learn to save a little each month, and you can begin your financial future on a positive note.