Ways to Save Money While in College
College is expensive these days. Even if you live on campus, you may find that the daily necessities of life are not as cheap as they once were. Many parents are also discovering this as they help their students pack for college and move them into dorm rooms.
Apart from daily life on campus, students will also do a lot of traveling between home and the dorm room. Parents may also find themselves traveling and going back between the college and home. Look for cheap ways to travel as homecoming and holidays are getting closer. Try to be as flexible as possible with your travel schedule and book as far in advance as you can. This can be tricky, however, you may book a ticket two months in advance just to find out it was cheaper two weeks in advance. Explore airlines and their discount strategies before making any purchases. There are numerous online services that offer discount tickets and hotel rooms.
Spring break is another big time of year for students. If you want to take a spring break trip, start saving your money now and looking for travel packages. Many students will save up their whole fall semester, just for their spring break trip.
Groceries can also be expensive for students. Students should use their meal plans if they are forced by the college to buy them. They should also try to stock up on anything they can make in their dorm room as well as snacks. If you live in a house or apartment with roommates, talk to them about sharing in the cost of food. Then, take a trip to your local Sam’s Club and buy in bulk. Students should also consider meals that they can make that will last them throughout the week or for a few days.
With gas prices continuing to rise, students may consider carpooling with students if they must drive to campus. Students may also consider walking or riding a bike to campus if they do not live far from campus. Students will be able to save a significant amount of money by doing this and not driving their car. They may also find that they might enjoy the fact that they don’t have to hassle with parking as well. You can also save about $20 on a parking permit if you don’t have to park on campus.
For students who feel like their money is just disappearing, consider tracking your expenses over a two-week period. You may find out where you are spending a lot of extra cash as well as find out where you should cut back. Many students are making multiple trips to Starbucks and fast food restaurants that are just not necessary.
Budget your money. Figure out your expenses and your must haves and fit those in. Students may also find they will work well on a spending limit. If you spend a lot of money at the beginning of the semester, you may not have much at the end of the semester. The same goes for your paycheck. If you cash your check and then hit the bars the same night, you are going to spend more than you should.
Be careful with your credit card. If you must charge something, make sure you have the money to pay if off when the bill comes in. Many students find themselves in a lot of credit card debt and it is hard to dig your way out of it when you have a high interest rate. The same goes for excess student loan money, don’t borrow more than you need and you won’t be tempted to spend it carelessly
If you know who your roommate will be before you go to college, call them up. You both don’t need a microwave and a refrigerator. If you can share some of the expenses of college, do so.
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