Saving money in college is imperative for most students. With the daunting prospect of college loans to pay off after graduation, most students have a very small amount of cash for “extras” on top of tuition, housing, and food expenses.
Luckily there are easy ways to save money in college that don’t impede on a student’s ability to enjoy college life.
* Take public transportation. Most college towns have an excellent public transportation system. Not having a vehicle on campus means you will save on auto and insurance payments, the cost of auto maintenance and upkeep, and gasoline.
* Buy used books. There is no need to buy brand new books unless there are no used books available for a particular class. If that is the case, plan to sell the book to another student for a good price.
* Avoid shopping malls. If you don’t go to the mall, you won’t be tempted to spend money on things you probably don’t need. If you do go to the mall, only bring a small amount of cash with you for a meal or a small purchase (leave the emergency credit card at the dorm).
* Buy a pre-paid cell phone. Paying for minutes in advance of using them is an excellent way to avoid expenses incurred from using extra minutes.
* Eat in the cafeteria rather than order take-out. Ordering food can be tempting when a test looms large and you’d rather keep studying than trek to the cafeteria. However, the cost of ordering pizza over the long run can add up quickly. If you’ve paid for a cafeteria plan, try to eat in the cafeteria as much as possible. In addition to saving money, enjoying a meal in the cafeteria will provide a much needed study break and allow you to focus on your studies when you return to the dorm.
* If you go to a restaurant, order a small salad or soup. If you know you’ll still be hungry, eat a small snack at the dorm before you leave for the restaurant.
* Clip coupons. If you know you need to make an important purchase such as a new coat or a computer, borrow a friend’s newspaper to review and clip coupons that can save you money.
* Plan to stay with friends during spring break. Nothing breaks the bank like an expensive spring break vacation. If you can crash at a friend’s parents’ house during spring break, you’ll save lots of money and may have some uninterrupted study time.
* Skip the mocha or latte and drink hot tea, apple cider, or powdered hot chocolate instead. Espresso beverages are fun to drink but expensive to fund on a daily basis. If you have to have coffee, try making drip coffee at home.
Saving money requires will power, tenacity, and the desire to prioritize the future over temporary comfort or enjoyment. When you start to see how much money you’ll save by making small changes in your daily life, you’ll feel better about saving money and will look for additional ways to save.