College can be thrilling, fun, and expensive. Most likely you are on your own for the first time, responsible for everything from laundry to tuition. It can be intimidating, but also a great lesson in money management. By taking the right steps while you are still in college, you can reduce your student loans instead of paying for your fun for the next ten years.
The easiest way to increase your savings is to make some money. Look into a part time job on campus, or try something like bartending where you can make fairly good money while only working one night a week. Plus, both of these jobs will keep you in the middle of the action, so you won’t miss out on the fun: you’ll get to witness it first hand. Just remember to keep your grades up, or you’ll end up paying more to retake failed classes than a part time job is worth.
Save Money on Partying
Saving money doesn’t mean eliminating fun. Instead of heading to the campus pub, stay in the dorms and have your friends bring their own booze. You could even have everyone pitch in 5 or 10 dollars to buy a keg and some pizzas. Take turns renting movies with a group of friends instead of going to the movie theater. If someone has a game console, have a Guitar Hero tournament or compete on Wii Resorts.
Save by Sharing
The great thing about living in dorms is that your friends all live nearby. Take advantage of their proximity by borrowing each other’s stuff. Books and magazines can be passed around instead of thrown away. Borrow movies and games off of friends instead of paying to rent. You can double your wardrobe by borrowing items from a same-sized roommate. Just remember to return your friends’ items in the same condition that you borrowed them.
Utilize Each Others’ Talents
Get your friend who’s studying physical education to be your personal trainer. Ask your roommate to dye your hair instead of going to the salon. Form a study group to get better grades. Offer your own talents in return for theirs.
Advantages of Being a Student
Many students forget that being in college can pay off. Show your student card at places such as movie theaters and amusement parks to get a discount. Look for cell phone plans specifically meant for students. Also, if you are lucky enough to have a car at college see if your insurance company will give you a discount for good grades.
Saving doesn’t have to mean peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for every meal of the day. Be creative and you’ll find that saving is almost as easy as spending. Before spending money ask yourself: do I need this or can I survive without it?