The first year of college can be a financially difficult time for students. Costs incurred by the students include textbooks, living costs such as meals, and a large list of other necessities. By developing a frugal lifestyle, students can save money on a daily basis, during their first year in college.
Save Money At Home
College students can start saving money with home-related costs. If students live in rented accommodations, a great way to save money is to have a room-mate. The room-mate helps pay the costs of rent, utilities and food each month. Selecting a room-mate who attends the same school is also a great way for a new student to become more familiar with the school and develop new relationships.
Students may also consider taking residence at home or in the college dorms. By living at home, college students can save rental costs. Home-cooked meals are also often cheaper than eating in restaurants or the college cafeteria.
College dorm rooms may be cheaper than residences off campus. Students should seek out dorm room vacancies well in advance of the start of the college school years as these spots are traditionally taken quickly and there may be wait lists. First-year students should also check the college website for registration guidelines and take a tour of the dorms to get an idea if the space seems like a good fit.
Cut Transportation Costs
The costs of traveling to and from school, if living off campus, can add up quickly for students. Students should consider ways to save money on transportation costs. Money-saving methods include taking public transit and carpooling with other students. As many college students have a fixed income, there is likely to be interest from other students to participate in a carpool. As well, some colleges have student transit passes available; the passes gives students access to public transportation at rates lower than the general public.
A major advantage of living in a dorm is the elimination of travel costs between home and the college campus. A short walk is likely all that is required to get to class. There are no fuel costs.
Plan Store Purchases
Students can also save money their first year in college by paying attention to sale signs in stores when they are shopping for food and personal care items. Students should plan their store purchases before they enter a store. By writing a list of items needed before entering the store, students are less likely to buy impulse items.
The students can also save money by checking flyers from stores to see when products are currently on sale. If the student recognizes an exceptional deal, he or she should consider stocking up on the item. Buying in bulk may save money over the long run.
Another money-saving shopping tip for students is to choose generic rather than brand names for items when they are cheaper on the store shelf. The few dollars saved at the store adds up over the months that make up the first year of college.
Cook At Home
Once home from the grocery store, students can save more money by cooking their own meals rather than going out for dinner. While dining out is fun, cooking at home is often cheaper in price. Eating out can still be incorporated into the budget every so often as a personal treat.
Leftovers from home-made dinners can be packaged and served as lunch the next day. Students can also save money by packing leftovers to eat between college classes rather than eating the more expensive on-campus food.
Buy Used Textbooks
Textbooks are a mandatory item for college students. At the on-campus book store, first-year students can save money by choosing to buy used books rather than the new ones. Some campuses even have separate stores solely for selling used books. If there are not used books available for purchase on the college campus, used books can be purchased online at several book-buying websites.
The books purchased online are not tattered and unreadable; they are gently used or have small amounts of handwriting from the previous user. Consider the written notes or highlighted sections of the book’s former owners to be a help rather than a hindrance. Aside from saving a substantial amount of money buying used books, students may also learn useful tips by reading notes of the book’s last owner.
Purchase Cheaper Stationary Supplies
Pens and other stationery products are needed for college classes. College students can purchase the items at dollar stores to save money. On-campus stores often charge more for supplies bearing the college name; go for the generic brand instead.
Free Activities as Entertainment
Balance is important for students during their first year of college. Aside from attending class and studying, recreational activity is needed to achieve a balanced lifestyle. There are several free activities available to the students. They can join on-campus clubs to meet people with similar interests. Often, the clubs schedule group outings at little to no cost per student. For instance, a walking club may schedule a hike at a local trail next weekend.
Utilize College Discounts
Often, colleges offer its students discounts as a perk for attending the particular facility. Students may get reduced rates at on-campus restaurants and perhaps even stores within the local community. Ask other students about reduced rates or peruse the college website for more information. Lower rates on products and services are great ways for students to save money their first year in college.
Bursaries and Scholarships
College students should pick up the college campus guide for the current year. The book includes bursaries and scholarships that are exclusive to first-year students. Look at the criteria for each possible award and apply to several of them. If the bursary is awarded, the students will save hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars off his or her first-year of tuition. Students are recommended to apply early to ensure the deadlines are met for entry.
College students in their first year may also consider taking a part-time job in addition to their studies. This decision may depend on the number of courses taken and if there is time available to devote to employment outside of school. Often companies offer part-time positions exclusively to students.
By working, students can begin to save money for tuition needed for the next year at college. In addition, many jobs offer its employees benefits such as free food on breaks or discounted passes for activities related to the work facility. These are additional way to save money!
There are many ways for students to save money their first year in college. Students can save money in store by selecting sale items and generic brand products. At home, a room-mate can help contribute to the living costs. A second job is another way to save money. The savings accumulate over the year to help students pay for future years at college without getting into debt.