Save Money During College
College students are notoriously broke and with horror stories from graduates about their bulging student loans, there is really plenty of room for finding ways to save up while studying.
- Set a reasonable budget and stick to it. It is so easy to let money slip away especially if you have a fancy date or want to upgrade your smartphone or in need of a designer outfit for a cool party. Getting a basic idea of how much you're spending each month and where you can cut back is one of the most fundamental financial lessons you'll learn while in college.
- Dream big but start small. Opt for community and two-year colleges where you don’t have to fork out as much tuition charged by four-year rivals and private universities. If you can deal with the bare bones amenities for a couple of years, you can transfer to the four-year school of your dreams with more money in your pocket.
- Apply for in-campus jobs. Aside from tuition, room and board are going to be your next biggest expense. Even if you have a crazy load already, it would really pay to work as a resident advisor or student assistant. You can get free or significantly reduced room and board in exchange for your work.
- Recycle. Do not buy new text books if you can manage to borrow from upperclassmen or rummage through discount book stores. Also, check the same books out of your library for free. If the campus library isn't an option, look for sites that will rent you books for a semester while sharing with a friend – cutting the cost of buying books in half.
- Cook your own meals. Even if you have to learn simple dishes, it would make a huge difference in the amount of money you spend when dining out.
- Live off-campus. It can cut down your lodging expenses by as much as 40 per cent. But don’t rush to sign a lease after determining if you have to pay extra for phone, internet connections, commuter parking passes, furniture, a security deposit and summer months when they may or may not live in their apartments.
- Sign up for free stuff and activities. This includes on-campus entertainment, movie rentals from the library, gym membership, intramural sports activities, dorm dinners, guest lecture series and student clubs. Take advantage of these.
- Forego owning a car. This is not the time to pay for gas, maintenance, insurance, taxes, parking passes, and other expenses that go along with having a car.
- Maximize your summer term. Streamline your college tenure correctly and you could get out in three rather than four years. Or at least have time to chill. Enrol in summer school, community college classes, internships, and summer study abroad to help you graduate faster and save on tuition.
- Plan Ahead. You know that your parents would soon cut off your college funding and if it would mean not being able to graduate because of financial constraints, think on how you want to do your college tenure and where to find resources so you can prepare for the inevitable.