For most people, college is one of the most exciting times in their lives. Young students can move out for the first time and explore a world that is vastly different than their own. There are lots of friendships, fun activities, and, yes, many classes that await them during the college experience.
College is also a time that, while fun, most students live on a relatively fixed income. They may have student loans, a part-time job, or they may even be Ph.D. students living on a stipend. Either way, it’s a time when students should be thinking about saving money. The good news is that it isn’t too hard to save money during the college years. Here are five tips for achieving that goal.
1. Don’t Pay Full Price For School Supplies
School supplies can cost a small fortune. One book alone can be $200 or more. If you have five classes a semester, you could be spending $1,000 per semester just in textbooks, and you haven’t even gotten into your other expenses, like binders, medical supplies (for med students), and so on.
Many times, these purchases are “one-off” in the sense that you need them for the class, but you won’t ever require them again. As such, it makes sense to buy these second-hand. One of the best ways to save for college is looking for school supplies on a second-hand site like School Shock. That way, you can save the money that you would have spent on scrubs, books, backpacks, etc. and use it for other living expenses instead.
2 Use Your Student ID
Many companies offer discounts for students. A lot of major tech companies have deals on laptops if you show your student ID, and you can obtain subscriptions for a steep discount. Local restaurants may also take your student ID and give you a discount on food. Carry your ID and take advantage of any reduced prices in the area.
3 Cook At Home
One of the most significant expenses that people have is eating out. If you get fast food for one meal 15 days out of the month, the bill will be about $150-200. That can buy groceries for a very long time. Limit the coffees, drinks, and other expenses that you have outside of the home.
4 Find Affordable Housing
Housing affordability depends heavily on where you go to school. For example, it’s harder to find an affordable house in California than it would be to find one in most areas of Alabama. However, rent is incredibly costly, and, as such, you can often save the most money in college by picking an affordable place to live.
5 Use Public Transportation
In many cities, students can receive a card that lets them have a discount on public transportation (or ride unlimited times for a flat monthly rate). Generally speaking, choosing to ride the bus is much more cost-efficient than owning a car. Cars have maintenance costs, insurance, and steep gas prices, depending on where you live. If your college town has a discount on public transportation, that’s an excellent place to save some money!
You Can Save Money And Have Fun In College
Saving money does not mean giving up fun. Instead, it means being mindful of expenses and thinking about alternatives. For example, if you’re a medical student, instead of buying new equipment that costs hundreds of dollars, maybe you check out School Shock to see what they have that’s cheaper. Or, instead of driving downtown for an evening of $10 beers, maybe you take public transit and watch a movie instead.
You can still enjoy college on a budget, and you’ll be a lot happier later in life when you have more in the bank!