It may be a cliché that college students just don’t have any money, but especially today, it’s reality for many. Prices are high, wages are low, and the cost of attending college is stretching students thin financially.
But, just because you are a student doesn’t mean you have to live like a monk. You just have to be smart about your spending choices.
1. Make Personal Finance a Priority
This is number one for a reason. Before you have any success in saving money, you have to make it a priority. This means learning how to say no when the urge to splurge comes on. Learn how to wait before you spend on unnecessary items. This is a skill that will follow you into your adult life and make you a responsible consumer.
2. Do the Research Before Buying or Renting Textbooks
Textbooks are ridiculously expensive. So, before you shell out $100 for the text listed on the course webpage, first head to class. Sometimes you will find that the instructor will have changed the book. Also, talk to others who have taken the class to see if they actually used the book. You could also email the instructor beforehand to double check. They may appreciate your initiative.
3. Sign Up For Student Discounts
One of the perks of being a poor college student is the availability of discounts. So, always carry your student ID, and always ask if there is a student discount. You’ll be amazed that there are discounts on so many things, like technology, books, food, restaurants, movie tickets, museums, and mall store discounts.
4. Save Money on Food
There are tons of creative ways to save money on food, without resorting to ramen packages every night. Here are a few ways to save on food:
- Attend all school events that offer free food
- Work somewhere that you’ll get free food
- Limit eating out and especially buying drinks (stick to water)
- Take turns cooking meals with friends
5. Take Advantage of Free Campus Events
Most schools take extra efforts to provide culture and entertainment on campus. Make sure to sit in on campus or dorm movie nights, yoga classes, concerts, festivals, art gallery events, and lectures. Since a portion of your tuition goes to providing these events, be sure to get your money’s worth.
6. Creative Dorm Room Decorating
You’ll want to get your essentials right away, but when you are ready to be creative with your dorm room, be sure to hit up sales or the dollar store. Waiting until the “newness” of a fad fades will save lots of money. Also, get creative. Use paint rejects (rather than buying a new gallon), duct tape, toilet paper rolls and all types of found items to create your own look.
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