Textbooks, class fees, rent, food, school supplies, these are just a few of the expenses a college student will have for each semester they attend college. While there are many expenses and it might seem like the fees keep piling up on top of each other there is a way to save money while still being a college student. With the help of a budget and some sensible thinking, every student can save money each semester.
Buy Used Textbooks
Every year students are selling their books back to the college campuses or to bookstores around your neighborhood. Take a look and see what college textbooks are needed for your classes and see if you can find them in the bookstores or online. Now Amazon also offers textbook rentals for your college classes, so check them out and see how much it might cost for you to rent a book there. These books can be rented for the semester then returned easily. As an added bonus if you have a Kindle you can rent a digital version of your textbook, and these are often cheaper.
Even books that are suggested for your class reading list such as those novels for English class can be found at local bookstores. So keep it local and check around town before you purchase new and unused books. There is no reason not to buy something gently used and save that extra money. Then at the end of the semester see if your college has a buy back program for books. This will also give you money in return. For more information take a look at How to sell back college textbooks.
Limit the splurges
Sure you might enjoy pizza, beer, and the occasional cappuccino from Starbucks or another local coffee shop, but it’s time to limit these expenses. Think of it this way, you’ve been purchasing your $5 coffee every day for a week; that’s a total of $35 that you’ve spent on coffee alone. That’s another $140 every month and that is a total of about $1,280 a year! Imagine if you make your own coffee or even limit that amount to once a week, that’s a lot of money to be saved.
A trick to figure out how much you are spending on these splurge items is by keeping your receipts for them in a small shoe box and adding the costs up at the end of the month. This will give you an idea of how much money you are wasting on things you may not really need. You’ll surely see the amount of money you could be using towards other things in life such as your textbooks or extra college credits.
Be thrifty and recycle items
So we’ve all heard it since we were kids “recycle, reduce, reuse.” This is a serious key on saving money during your college years. You may notice on the bulletin boards around campus there may be signs for free furniture or free textbooks. This is a serious way to save money for your college dorm or apartment. Need a new couch, you can take a look at those posts and see what it looks like. You may have just found your perfect new couch, but slightly used. Simply buy a cover for it and it will look like new.
This same idea goes for coffee canisters, peanut butter containers or even plastic bags from the grocery store. These plastic bags can be used as trash bags, or even recycled at your local grocery store. Canisters of all sizes can be cleaned and used for various small items or larger items to keep organized. A coffee canister makes great for sugar and flour. This is great for those students who love to bake and cook quite often. Be sure to make a label for it, or invest in some masking tape and a permanent marker to label the items.
Reduce your carbon footprint
Gas and car insurance can get expensive and add up quite a bit if you live far from campus. So reduce your carbon footprint by bicycling to school, taking the bus or walking to school if you are able to. Not only will you be able to help the environment but you will be saving money for yourself and you will have your car and gas for those emergencies where you need to go somewhere. If you are unsure of how much a monthly pass would cost for the local bus, train, or subway simply see if your college offers a reduced fair for students. Many schools do this for their students to promote them using public transportation.
If you are interested in more ways of reducing your carbon footprint, there are quite a few tips at Public Radio.
Coupons are your friends
So you don’t need to become an Extreme Couponer, but you can definitely start saving money for yourself by using coupons for your every day items. Walmart has quite a bit of products that are already on sale but imagine saving an extra $0.50 to $1.00 on your favorite type of products. While there are so many things that a person can do to coupon the easiest way to get started is by looking at your local newspaper on Sunday and seeing what coupons are available in the inserts. Often people will throw away these coupons and not even bother taking the five minutes to look at them.
Let’s be realistic here though, as a college student saving money is one of the most important things you are going to want to do besides doing well and passing your classes. Take a gander at these coupons and cut out the ones you know you will use before their expiration date. Now if there are ones you do not think you will use, ask your roommate, friends, or even your family if they would like to use the rest. If you are unable to find anybody who will, place them in an envelope and pin it to a bulletin board with the words “free coupons”. Somebody is sure to snag it up and use them for yourself. This is an easy way to pay it forward, and help somebody else save money as well.
As it can be seen it is fairly easy to save money in your first year of college as well as in the future years. Whether you are going to be in college for a short time or a long time, saving money and sticking to a budget is the best thing you can do for yourself. Save that money, and put it towards something you’ve always wanted to do or to pay off some debt you may have required throughout the years. Have a great school year and enjoy saving that money.