While not having money in college seems to be a rite of passage, breaking the cycle is easier than it appears. Think of all the benefits behind saving money and reducing spending while in college. Gaining that dreaded freshman 10, 15 or 20 will be a lot harder if you are regulating your food shopping. There are many simple and fun ways to reduce spending that are available to you while in college.
If you are not allowed to have a car on campus during your freshman year, do not worry because most schools offer shuttle buses. The shuttle buses are often free and take students to popular areas such as shopping centers and movie theaters. Saving money on public transportation and gas can add up substantially in very little time. If you have had your eye on that new car, try saving those funds to finance your new ride.
Student discounts are just an I.D. card away. Students receive some of the best discounts and extras. Just because you are trying to save does not mean that you have to miss out. Local shows, concerts and events target area college students by giving them free or reduced pricing. To find what discounts are offered to you, call your campus concierge or student services department.
Another way to increase your fun while decreasing the price is to plan ahead. With a party or club event occurring multiple times per week, buy tickets early. Have you ever wondered why those flyers have contact numbers? Many times there is a person on your campus selling tickets in advance for a reduced price. This will save you money and time when you arrive at the club with your ticket in hand. If the club scene is not your idea of fun, join a student group on campus. These groups receive a portion of funding from the university so many of the activities will be low priced or free. Joining groups will give you the opportunity to widen your social circle on a fixed budget.
If the issue of basic necessities is causing you to overspend, reevaluate what you need versus what you want. Takeout and fast food have become a staple of the college student diet. However, spending on junk food daily will leave you hungry and broke. Buy groceries if your dorm has a community kitchen. You can make cooking a dorm activity so that everyone can support you in your quest to save. If you are not required to have a meal plan at school, cancel this overpriced fee and cook. Buying certain items in bulk is also helpful. Toilet paper, water bottles and hygiene products are all items to buy in bulk.
Reducing spending is only half of the battle when trying to save money. You actually have to save money somewhere for it to count. Take advantage of a student bank account that the majority of banks offer. The main difference between student bank accounts and regular accounts is that student accounts are not required to have minimum balances and have no service fees. Banks also try to help students with additional programs including overdraft protection.
Take the time to research banks in the area of your school and what ATMs are on your campus. You will be thankful that you are not paying $3.00 service fees for using another bank’s ATM. An alternative to opening checking and savings accounts with a local bank is to join an area credit union. Credit unions are often more flexible and cater to clients on a more personal level. It may also be easier to get loans from your local credit union rather than a major bank.
College is time to have fun and explore what life has to offer. College is also a time for you to prepare. Spending wisely and creating savings plans can ensure a successful transition into your adult life. While choosing your major and settling your career aspirations is important, having a solid financial base is something that you can take with you for a long time.