Whether you are a new, incoming freshman, or a returning college student, you are probably gearing up for the new semester. Learning smart money management and how to reduce your expenditures now can help you establish a solid foundation for your future. Here are 25 tips on saving money, budgeting, and money management for college students.
Live like a college student
-You are a college student, so live like one. Don’t try to live the lifestyle of a graduate with a job yet.
Remind yourself why you are there
-You are there for an education first and foremost. Don’t blow the opportunity by neglecting your studies, over socializing, or getting into financial trouble.
Set a budget for your spending categories, besides tuition and books
-Food, Rent, Entertainment, etc.
Buy used books
-You will probably find much better prices at amazon.com than at the college book store, even on used books. Avoid buying new ones if possible.
Hit the happy hour
- Look for places with 2 for 1 drinks or free appetizers when you do go out on the town.
Socialize at dorm/apartments
-You don’t always have to go out, invite friends over to your dorm or apartment regularly to save money.
Use a local bank and debit card
-If there is not a nearby branch of your bank, open up one that has a branch on or near campus to make things more convenient.
High interest savings
-If you have a little money stashed away, open up a high interest savings account.
Budget you spending money for entire semester
-At the beginning of the semester, figure out what you have available for spending money each week, and stick to it.
Consider a part-time job
- As long as it doesn’t interfere with your studies, of course. An added bonus, if you have earned income, is that you can start a Roth IRA.
Learn to cook
-If you don’t know how to cook, start learning. It can be healthier and even cheaper than fast food.
-Check out the classifieds or garage sales for used furniture to furnish your apartment.
Shop at Goodwill
-Check out the local thrift stores for clothes and other household furnishings.
Manage your student loans carefully
- Don’t over borrow, and if you end up borrowing more money than you need, save it in a high interest savings account.
Don’t try to keep up with the big spenders
-While some of your friends may be living off of Mom or Dad’s credit cards, that doesn’t mean you have to keep up with their lifestyle.
Don’t sign up for the credit card t-shirt offers
-It may be a free ipod they’re giving away these days, but don’t sign up for credit cards just for the freebies. It may end up costing you a lot more in the long run.
Take advantage of free or cheap activities
-Many college campuses have a lot of student activities, most of which are free or very cheap.
Avoid ATM fees
-make sure you plan ahead for expenses, and have enough cash for purchases. Or use your debit card.
Get on a campus meal plan
-If one is available, a meal plan on campus can be very inexpensive per meal.
Don’t use or bring a car to school
- If you are away from home for college, and live on or near campus, you probably don’t need a car. This will also keep your friends from using you as a taxi service.
-Get a bike, and ride it to and from class.
Apply for scholarships and grants
-Even after you start school, keep applying for scholarships, grants, etc.
Live close to campus
-The closer you live to campus, the less you will need to drive. Many college campuses have plenty of nearby places within walking distance for shopping, socializing, etc.
-Sharing your living expenses with others can reduce them significantly.
Take advantage of student discounts
- There are lots of places that will give you a discount with your student I.D. Look for and frequent places that cater to college students and offer discounts or freebies.
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- Why Some College Students Manage Their Finances Better than Middle-Aged Adults
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- 10 Budgeting and Personal Finance Tips for New College Graduates