College students struggle with a lot of expenses while in school. Even more so, the average college student has a student loan with a shocking interest rate in most cases. You’ll notice this to be the case whether the student attends an ivy league or a community college. Although, undeniably, the cost of education is higher for the former.
But, that doesn’t mean college students can’t save! Part of the things students can do to remain financially buoyant after school is to learn tips on how to save money in college. If you begin on time, you can see a significant increase in debts after leaving school. Want to learn more about how to save money in college? You’re in the right place! We’ve done the research, so let’s dive in and see how saving is possible, even as a college student.
Why Students Spend So Much in School
The average college student spends no less than $24, 980 each year. This is astounding when you consider that college students typically do not make money while on campus. This is further surprising, considering that student services on campus are not as outrageous as you would find everywhere else. Hence, why is the cost of getting a college education so expensive?
Tuition costs form a huge chunk of the bills students fees during college. In fact, tuition is so important that except a student has access to student loans; there may be no way to escape the bills as they come. Some institutions afford financial aid to their students. However, they hardly ever go round to the plenty of students who need them. More so, when available, they are insufficient to cater to the many student fees most folks have to grapple with. Clear evidence of this is the number of college students who struggle to pay off student loans many years after leaving school. If you are looking to reduce student loans and save money while in college, it might be a great idea to pay some attention to this area.
Food & Lodging
It might not be out of place to state that tuition, food, and lodging form the holy trinity when it comes to expenses in college. While folks take out student loans to finance their tuition, their savings accounts repeatedly get empty because of food and lodging. There is no gainsaying that finding adequate living conditions in today’s world can appear to be a herculean task. This is especially the case when incidental fees are added to the mix.
The average college student would rather suffer the pains of overdraft charges than go without their favorite clothes. However, even outside of this, clothes form an integral part of the costs of college living. Students need clothes for the changes in weather conditions. There are a few ways to save money on clothes, though. For example, some colleges have emergency funds that cater to the clothes of students. This might be a way to reduce the expenses in that area. Alternatively, you could also consider selling your used clothes online with sites like Tradesy to make some additional cash before spending again.
A huge part of the expenses students incur relate to transportation. While a student may not fall into debt or take out loans to fund their transportation costs, this area’s expenses amount to an appreciable sum when considered carefully. One way to effectively tackle this challenge is through making a habit of taking a bike ride in situations where this is permissible. Most college campuses allow students to use bikes both as a way to reduce costs and as also as a means to protect the environment. If you have to have your car, though, you could consider renting it out when you’re not using it to earn some extra cash with options like Turo or HyreCar.
Electronic gadgets have landed many a student into debt. In this age of technological advancement, it is almost understandable why a young person would want everything as they come out. The options are plenty, but conversely, the costs are usually enormous. This consideration does nothing to deter students, it seems because electronics account for the bulk of the impulse purchases made by students. Thus, to make your money work for you, you may want to consider how much you spend on electronic gadgets. And, if you have to spend, make sure you’re checking out what the best time to buy electronics is. Believe it or not, there are good and bad times to buy things like laptops and other electronics.
College students are some of the most fun-loving persons you’d find anywhere. People in this bracket are usually young adults for whom everything seems like fun. Little wonder they end up leaving school with debt to their names. From parties to paying for subscription-based services like cable TV, various entertainment options exist. Actually, entertainment can be argued to be one of the chief activities students engage in while in college; hence, it would hardly be possible to eliminate it totally. In looking for ways to save money in college, the best bet is to identify ways to manage entertainment costs as they arise. Also, make sure to check in with your providers and see if you have any options for lowering things such as internet costs or cable prices.
How to Save Money in College
The burning question at this point then should be how you can save money in college. First of all, seeing all the few you have to pay and the cost of everything, is reducing the money you spend in college one of the topics to even consider? It is. College students are often oblivious to how much they spend while on campuses. Furthermore, there are hardly any advisors to give financial advice to students who need it, and finally, splurging has increasingly become taken as the new cool. (If not, what reason has a college student with a coffee maker? Something that is expensive and frankly unnecessary in most cases). However, if you are looking for ways to ensure that your student loan is not exorbitant after you leave college, follow these tips to learn how to save money in college.
Create and Stick to a Budget
Having and sticking to a budget is not just one of the ways to save money in college, it is an indispensable skill that will prove useful your entire life. A budget lets you determine what is a priority and what isn’t. Thus, automatically, you will not even have to incur the expenses in the first place or spend time trying to make ends meet. You must understand that college expenses are inexhaustible. No matter how much you make, you will always find something that’d gulp it down. A budget helps you keep an eye on all of that.
There is no specific way to budget these days. A lot of people like the option of using a good budgeting app like YNAB, Bigit, or Personal Capital so they can use all the features and tools included to help stay on track. Another option is to simply write down your expenses by hand or even choose someone who keeps you and your budget in check. One crucial piece of advice is to make sure that your budget severely limits how often you use your credit cards. There is no doubt, however, that if you are in search of ways to save money in college, developing and sticking to a budget is an unbeatable path to follow.
Borrow Used Textbooks
Surprisingly, textbooks are becoming excruciatingly expensive. This is rather sad because they are some of the most indispensable items students need while on campus. In some cases, a student may be required to get multiple textbooks for use to study one course.
Are there ways to save money in this area, too? Sure there are. One money-saving tip is to borrow your textbooks instead of buying brand new ones from the campus bookstore. You can ask fellow students to loan you theirs for use, after which you return. Another alternative plan is to borrow from the school library. Your college might have a textbook service that permits giving books to students on loans. You can return as soon as you are done.
Another of the best ways to save money in college is to rent a book from any site that permits it. Amazon.com is a great place for college students to rent books for which they’d return. There are even sites that offer a pay-as-you-go model that permits you to download digital copies of textbooks. In any case, while in school, ensure that the campus bookstore is only a last resort when it comes to obtaining books. Additionally, make sure to check out options for selling your textbooks when you’re finished with them, that way you can at least make back some of the money you spent.
Find a Roommate on Campus
Sharing a room with a partner or partners on campus can be one way to save money. In the first place, being on campus, you can utilize campus amenities. Campus amenities typically do not cost anything. The times when you have to pay, the cost is not as high as you’d find elsewhere. For instance, what you’d pay for movie nights would be significantly cheaper in school. Thus, find a roommate in college or get a dorm room on campus.
Always Go Out with Your Student ID
Your student ID should always be found on your person at all times. This is one of the tips that can prove essential in various cases, including medical emergencies, accidents, etc. As one of the ways to save money, it gives you the avenue to take advantage of student discounts wherever you find them. Even celebrities such as Ed Sheeran keep their expenses low using student accounts. Taking advantage of student discounts is particularly crucial for people who do a lot of window shopping. There are student discounts available for almost anything you can think of. These student discounts are available both on campus and off-site. For you to take part in the reduced fees students enjoy as a result of these student discounts, you would be required to show an ID.
There is nothing wrong with finding a part-time gig while on campus. This is a way to ensure that money flows into your bank account. Furthermore, you would be able to save up and even begin to pay off your student loans on time. If you are interested in improving your credit score, having some money in your savings account might actually go a long way to achieve that. Your credit score determines your creditworthiness. It might not seem like a big deal to you now as a student but would surely be important if you are looking to become an entrepreneur after college. Hence, instead of whipping out your credit cards all the time, how about thinking of places you can find jobs that will help you start paying off your student loans as soon as possible? There are always a solid amount of college job options out there, whether you’re looking for an online job or a simple side hustle.
No matter how careful you are with your money, you will have to spend some of it on grocery shopping. However, you should plan on applying money-saving tips to this area too. For instance, it might be great to have a grocery list before going to the grocery shop. This makes sure you only spend what you can afford. Similarly, avoid using vending machines. You incur minute extra charges when you use your credit cards on these machines. Seeing as you are looking to reduce every expense, a piece of good advice is to eliminate this expense if possible.
Eliminate Eating Out
The amount you spend on food is something totally within your control. It is then shocking how much students spend on food. One of the best ways to save money in college is to prepare and eat your own food at home. This is important because the quantities and qualities of what you eat will greatly improve. More so, you’d be saving money while at it – making your own ramen noodles will be definitely cheaper than ordering it. Even if you live on campus, try to eat more in the dining halls. The food you’d find in the dining halls may not be spectacular, but they’d definitely save you money.
Conclusion: Saving Money In College
The average student leaves college with a student loan that is mind-boggling. Thus, it makes a lot of sense to try to save money while in college. The discussion here shows you how to do that, including making use of your debit card more than your credit cards, getting books on loan instead of buying new ones, etc. If you put these practices in place, your checking account will definitely no longer run into deficits.