Living the college life is very exciting but it can certainly get expensive. Many students get carried away in their attempts to make the most of their college years, which leads to the accumulation of debt.
It’s possible to enjoy your college experience without spending too much. The following money saving tips are practical and easy to follow, once you get used to fiscal discipline. Here’s everything that you need to do in order to get through college without spending too much.
Don’t Accumulate Credit Card Debt
The credit card is the easy way out but you should get in the habit of following one very simple rule – don’t spend money that you don’t have.
You may want to have one credit card for emergency expenses. Come up with a clear definition of what classifies as an emergency expenditure. Don’t spend the money on anything else, no matter how tempting!
If you feel tempted to use the credit card when going out, leave it at home. Even better, don’t get a credit card and you’ll find it much easier to deal with impulsive spending.
Pay Bills on Time
Make sure that you pay all of your monthly bills on time. This is a logical thing to do but when pressed, you may want to postpone the payments.
Paying all of your bills on time will help you build your credit score. This discipline will have a very important impact on your life later on – many things will depend on having a good credit score.
Make a Budget
For many students, this is the number one opportunity for saving some money. Keep track of what you have to spend money on each month. Base your budget on these absolute necessities like college expenses, food, transportation costs and living expenses.
You can have some money dedicated to leisure time activities but the amount should be relatively small. If you don’t keep track of how you’re spending throughout the month, you may find yourself without a single dollar on the 10th or even earlier.
Keep Track of College Expenses
College expenses include a bit more than the tuition fees. Many students underestimate the other factors that could add up to a serious amount.
You’ll have to pay for board, textbooks and additional course supplies. Very often, these sums add up to much more than the tuition fee. You could reduce these expenses by becoming a resident advisor (RA) or working on campus. There are lucrative perks for the students that are actively involved in such activities.
Cook Your Own Food
It’s fun to eat out but going to a nice restaurant or a pizza place can be relatively expensive. Get in the habit of cooking your own food most of the time and you’ll reduce your expenditure.
Your dorm probably has a kitchen that you can use every now and then. If you’re required to buy a meal plan, opt for the most inexpensive possibility. Supplement your nutrition by cooking some simple, healthy and easy meals. Who knows, you may even find out that you enjoy cooking.
Always Shop around
Don’t buy the first item that you come across, shop around! Chances are that you’ll find more affordable possibilities if you do a bit of research. Internet gives you excellent options for comparing different products and their characteristics. Go for the best price to quality ratio and look for discounts.
Live at Home
If possible, live at home for the first year or two of your college life. Though you’ll miss some of the dorm fun, you’ll get to save lots of money.
Decrease Textbook Expenses
You don’t have to buy brand new textbooks. Second-hand study materials are much less expensive and most college bookstores have used textbooks.
Textbook renting companies give you another great possibility. Textbook rental enables you to get all of the necessary study materials for a minimal charge.
Depending on the campus location, the transportation costs during your college years could be significant. It’s a good idea to consider walking to classes, unless the university is located very far away from your residence. Alternatively, you should opt for public transportation rather than your own car.
Cut Down on Entertainment Expenses
Many students have problems with their entertainment expenses – there are simply too many temptations. Peer pressure is another factor that could contribute to unreasonable spending.
If you want to go to the theater or to a concert, look for smaller and less expensive gigs. Sunday shows are usually less expensive. The same applies to tickets that are bought very early or on the day of the show. Limit clubbing to just a few times per month, enjoy free campus activities (you probably have a campus gym) and choose experiences that don’t cost a dollar (hiking, picnics and beach strolls are a lot of fun).