The concept of a starving student is not new. In fact, the majority of college students struggle to make financial ends meet. College students are also known to be extremely busy juggling all of their classes, homework, and other responsibilities. However, there are certain things that students can do to save money and time while at college.
Make a Budget
It sounds simple, but the truth is that not having a budget is the number one reason why college students do not have enough money. It’s easy to go to a nightclub with friends or go out to eat, but before you know it, there is not enough money to pay for books and other necessities. It is essential for college students to have a clear idea of how much money they’re spending each month and use this as a guideline for knowing when they can spend and when they need to cut back.
Be Smart with Textbooks
It is estimated that college students will spend in excess of $1,300 every single year on textbooks. Many are frustrated to learn at the end of the semester that the textbooks they spent hundreds of dollars on can only be sold back for just pennies on the dollar. So save money by borrowing textbooks from college libraries or local libraries if that is not an option. Purchase textbooks secondhand, online, or from other students. Keep your textbooks in good condition so that they can be resold when they are no longer needed.
Take Advantage of Student Discounts
In most college towns, businesses, restaurants, and other venues will offer discounts to students who attend local schools. Before buying anything, ask about a student discount. The worst-case scenario is that they will say there is not a student discount available. Best case scenario is that you will find yourself saving hundreds of dollars every year.
Save Money on Food and Drink
If your college offers a meal plan, use that before eating at fast food restaurants. Minimize the amount of money spent on alcohol consumption. Learn to prepare inexpensive meals at home or in your dorm. Purchase a nice coffee maker as opposed to spending four or five dollars on a coffee at your local coffee shop. Be on the lookout for freebies that are offered at school. Become a frugal shopper. If you’re going to go to the grocery store or to a restaurant, first check online for coupons or promotions to see if you can get a percentage off of your meal or even a free meal.
Take Online Classes to Save Time and Money
One of the most modern ways to save money and time during your tenure at almost any college is to take online classes. The control that you have over your schedule will be sure to help you hold a part time job and manage stress levels during the semester. Online courses, like an online Masters of Law, can be less expensive and more rewarding than ever before.
Skip the Gym
Gym memberships are expensive. Most college campuses offer free fitness classes or intramural sports. Use these as a free way to keep in shape as well as a way to save time. These options are usually much more accessible to students, leaving time for essential activities. Here are some other free exercise ideas.
Going to college is expensive, and it is getting more expensive every year. By following the five suggestions above, a college student can guarantee that they save time and not break the bank while at college.
This article was contributed by guest author Anita Ginsburg.