Most students experience some type of financial hardship during their college years. For some it’s paying for classes, for others it’s paying for books, rent, gas, car insurance and money for events. Being a college student is expensive. But here are five things college students can do to save money.
Seems pretty simple right? Take a look at your bank or ATM statement. Things like fast food purchases, or even ATM fees can really break the bank when they start to add up. The best way to combat this is by creating a budget and sticking to it.
Of course that doesn't mean you shouldn't have fun as well. Budget the fun time in. Apps like Mint allow you to connect your credit card and bank accounts to track your spending. You can set up limits on your fast food or gas spending and the Mint app will send you alerts when you're nearing your budget limit. Definitely an app worth looking into, and the best part about it is it’s free.
2. If you can't borrow, buy used college textbooks.
The campus bookstore will sell a supply of used books, but they are limited; so check the online sources as well. On sites like Amazon.com used hardcover books are often cheapest. Soft cover are more valued for convenience, so if you’re willing to haul a couple extra ounces, then hardcover is the cost-saving choice. ISBN.nu allows you to easily compare book prices from major online bookstores.
The library is also a great resource. Some of your textbooks might be books that are on our library shelves – you could possibly even access them off of the library database as an e-book. If you're lucky enough to find your book there the savings alone are worth the extra research.
3. Make your own coffee
If you’re a person who has to have your morning Starbucks, it might be costing you more than you think. Your daily latte, cappuccino or mocha will run you between $2.50 and $3.50 depending on the size you need. Seven days of that routine costs you $17.50 per week, $70 per month and around $280.00 per semester. That’s more than $500 a year you drink in morning caffeine. An easy remedy to this? Channel your inner barista and make your own coffee.
4. If you are an off-campus resident to save money on your utility bills turn off lights, use the oven sparingly and take shorter showers.
Electricity costs money. If you find an apartment where utilities might run on natural gas (stove, hot water heater) it’s generally more cost-efficient.
5. Don’t let bad decisions today ruin your credit score tomorrow.
Be wary of credit cards with high interest rates. Remember, missed payments or other negative remarks will remain on your credit history for seven years. And when you land that awesome career that enables you to stop living paycheck to paycheck and go to apply for a loan on a new house or car those late payments on your credit cards or utility bills might just come back and haunt you.
Good luck. Just think frugal and you might just leave college with some money saved instead of drowning in debt.