Most students join the college in their late teens. College life seems very exciting because of all the indulgences on the campus and the freedom of being almost an adult. However, the money that one has in one’s pocket often becomes a cause for worry. When you have to spend everything from your own pocket, the money doesn’t seem to last long. In fact, most students learn the money-management the hard way.
Saving money in college might seem like a misnomer but it is about making your money go far. For most college students, budgeting and managing personal money are not their strong points. This article will help you learn some smart moves in that area.
Money management comes from personal experience. All the hacks one learns come from all the mistakes that one makes. A wise person learns from others’ mistakes.
Yes, many banks do offer such accounts to students, where they waive all their fees. Do not take an overdraft on your saving account. Banks always charge a fee when you spend money that you don’t have.
Student Credit Card
Buy all your needs on a student credit card, which does not ask for a fee. This will help you build your credit, early in your life. Use credit responsibly. Pay off your monthly credit in time. This is called using your credit card like a debit card. Make sure to not be careless or reckless with your credit card. Never be late on a payment, lest you accrue heavy interest.
Student Identity Card
Your student identity card often acts like a discount coupon, as most services offer student discounts. Always carry your student identity card with you, along with your credit card. You do not know when you may need them.
Owning your own vehicle always proves to be more expensive. It is better to pool in with friends or use public transport. You can even rent a car when needed. If you already own a car, perhaps you can rent it out and earn some money.
Most textbooks are frightfully expensive. You can buy used textbooks, rent textbooks or get them photocopied. You can also buy e-books or download files. Sell your old textbooks as soon as you are done with them.
Use the college library. You may even get to take care of your printing or photocopying needs.
Renting A Space
If your college does not provide boarding facilities, you may have to go for rented housing. Choose that wisely. A smaller place or a shared accommodation, at a distance from your college may be a cheaper option for you. Or else, live at home and hang out on the campus.
Another major expenditure lies in eating your meals out. Cooking your own meals or eating with someone will save you big bucks. Remember that cooking gets easier with practice. If your college has a meal plan, understand it well and use it to the fullest. Eat everything that you pay for.
If you must eat out, look for promos and happy hours. Attend college events that offer free food. You can find a lot of free or discounted food this way.
College students tend to spend a lot of money on alcohol and cigarettes. Don’t get into this habit. Don’t spend night outs with your friends, where you may be forced into compliance.
Look for entertainment online, instead of subscribing to cable TV. Indulge in free hobbies such as running, reading, hiking, or trekking.
Volunteering is a very good social activity that not only keeps you entertained but also earns you goodwill.
Earning While Studying
The best way to save money is to earn more than you spend. Taking up some part-time employment works well for all college students. Employment, besides getting you extra money, also teaches life skills. The sooner you start earning, the better.
Taking a gap year before you begin college is also a good option. That way, you begin college with your own savings.
Buying gift cards for yourself, for the time you are not earning, makes immense sense.
Optimizing your classes
It goes without saying that you are in college to study and earn a degree. This is not the time to indulge in self-discovery. That is an expensive hobby that you must avoid. Stay fully focused on your goal. Make sure that you take the right classes and clear them at right time. Earning your degree in the stipulated time will help you save money. Paying extra tuition for extra semesters is a sheer waste. Study well and get out of college at the earliest; with a degree, of course.
Never shy out from seeking financial aid, including student loans. However, be prudent with your student loan. Just remember that your loan is not free money, you will have to pay it back with interest. So, do not spend it upon what you do not need. If you take too many loans now, you may have to struggle with repayments for a long time.
Continue to apply for grants or scholarships, every year. You never know when the lady-luck may smile at you. It never hurts anyone to receive more financial aid or scholarship. And there are far more scholarships out there that go unsubscribed because students do not know about them. So do your research right. Some of the scholarships may not be listed on your college’s website but they may be applicable there. Such external scholarships need specific searches. As someone has rightly said, “There are scholarships for every aspect of your identity.” Scholarships are not just merit-based.
So, hopefully, all the above hacks will help you save your precious money resources and make you sail through college. If not, you can always think of joining a community college. Those too offer college-level education, but for far less. And you always have the option of transferring your credits to another university when you can.