What are easy ways to save money as a college student? When you ask yourself why you, as a college student, need to save money, the easy ways become obvious. The cliche saving for a rainy day applies even to today especially when plastic money and electronic spending are commonplace.
As a college student, expenditure can be rather sporadic if you allow social life to take precedence, and there are fixed times when expenditure rises to a high, as before the start of a new college year, and new books, stationery, clothes and lodging exhaust much of your savings.
The excitement of going to a college and staying on your own, or going to your first adult-like party is bound to send bills piling high. It is therefore important to ensure that frugality becomes a way of life before you lose control of your spending.
Here are simple ways to save money as a college student:
1. Focus on getting a college degree.
When you get your priorities right, you will not quite be tempted to spend your time on activities that take you away from your studies and siphon your money away. By focusing on your studies from Mondays to Saturdays, you are unlikely to spend much during the weekends as an exhausted brain demands rest during the weekends.
2. Have a shared meal plan.
Some college grounds provide delivered catering while others demand that food be consumed at canteen within the campus grounds. Eating with a fixed group of friends ensures you get the right company at meal times, proper nutrition, and a variety that you may not be able to afford when you eat on your own. If you have to prepare your own meals, have a group of friends to share food items that cost cheaper when purchased in bulk. You will not be stuck with having to eat the same item for a long time.
3. Recycle where possible.
Prescribed texts may be expensive and may not be readily available in the library. You may be able to get older copies from graduating college mates. Alternatively, start a shared text co-operative. Chances are that you may not take the same module as your college mates at the same time. Make arrangements to exchange texts during the next semester. If you are fortunate, you may even find a shop that sells used texts.
4. Shop at local flea marts.
Secondhand goods may cost half the original price, but look as good if the owner had taken good care of them. You may be able to find all you need at local flea marts. Shop with friends and you may be able to strike a better bargain when you and your friends buy as a group. If you stay in campus dormitories, chances are that you will not have much room. You may be able to find ways to sell off your old stuff at flea marts before you purchase new ones.
5. Make use of college facilities.
College grounds usually have games courts and hobby rooms to keep college students gainfully occupied during their free moments. Even if rental is required, it is likely cheaper and time-saving to make use of these college facilities than go out of the college grounds for entertainment. By making your bookings for the weekends or the weekday evenings, you are ensured of the needed rest and relaxation from a tight study schedule.
6. View movies at home or in your dormitory.
Have a group of friends come over during a weekend night, pop some corn at home, get someone to contribute drinks, and you can have as good a time as going to the cinema for a movie. The movie may not be the latest, but the company is just as good, if not better, as you are not restricted in speech and action as you are at the cinema.
7. Work for a couple of hours during the weekend.
You cannot be working and spending at the same time. A part time work, especially one related to your interest or preferred future job, helps you build up a wealth of experience, skills and information that you may not be able to get from books. Ensure that your company pays directly into an account you do not have ready access to cash withdrawal. You may be pleasantly surprised at the tidy sum you are able to accumulate within a year.
8. Keep a financial account.
You may wish to use a simple Excel spreadsheet, a note book or some computerised worksheet or program. The key to keeping an account is to enable you to track where your money goes, and modify your future spending patterns. By ensuring your budget stays within comfortable boundaries, you will find yourself spending less on unnecessary or impulsive buying, and saving what you once thought was impossible.
9. Spend what you have.
Avoid using credit payment or shopping on line. Where possible, spend what you have, and do not accumulate credit payment. This way, you are ensured of keeping to your budget and not find yourself with an accumulated deficit. Develop a habit of saving up for what you want to buy. For all you know, a few months into saving for what you once thought was a need, you may realise that the item could turn out a white elephant, and instead of spending unnecessarily, you end up being richer than you first started saving.
Practise delayed buying and you will find you start making wiser choices in life. By exercising more control over making impulsive purchases, you are likely to end up with much less junk in your life and more in your savings account.