The college years. A time of friendships, fun, finding yourself and choosing a career path. For some, the good things about college life are often overshadowed by the costs of getting higher education. Finding ways to save money during college is vital for many students. The following 12 tips can help alleviate some of the financial pressure for college students.
1. Move out of the Dorm
Living in a dorm allows students the unique experience of living 24/7 with friends and classmates. It is also expensive. Those who want to save money should consider moving to school apartments or other nearby housing. To cut down costs and ensure social connection, friends can consider living together.
2. Keep Track of Your Spending
Overdraft fees can cost a college student hundreds of dollars a year. Using a notebook to keep track of all deposits and withdrawals from a checking account will help a student know when he should stop spending. This in turn will save the costs and headache of overdraft fees.
3. Look for Free Food
College campuses provide students with a variety of free dining choices. Often, club information meetings supply food for those who attend and refreshments are frequently available when departments invite guests lecturers for a colloquium. Finding free dining opportunities allows students to cut-down on monthly food expenses.
4. Avoid Buying Books in the Bookstore
Campus bookstores are notorious for high mark ups. Instead of purchasing textbooks from the campus bookstore, students should buy their books online and/or from another student. In order to ensure that the correct edition is purchased, professors should be asked for the correct ISBN number. If possible, students should consider borrowing or exchanging books with other students.
5. Use Student Discounts to Buy Computers and Software
Students can avoid paying full-price for their computer and computer software by utilizing available student discounts. Contacting computer stores or manufacturers will give a student an idea of how much he can save and Microsoft offers a students package for its software.
6. Shop at the Dollar Store
Buying toiletries and cleaning supplies at a dollar store can dramatically cut down costs of daily living for students. Everyday toiletries such as shampoo, conditioner, razors, combs, brushes and deodorant can be purchased in dollar stores. In addition to this, one can also find cleaning supplies, toilet paper, washing detergent and dishwashing soap for less than other stores.
7. Get a Costco or Sams Club Card
Generally, it is less expensive to buy in bulk. Getting a Costco or Sams Club card will allow a student to buy school supplies, food and other items for a lower price. To save even more money, consideration should be given to splitting the cost of shopping between two or three friends.
8. Consider Alternatives to Using a Car
Gas prices and car maintenance can drain the budge of a college student. Choosing to live within walking distance of campus can save money. Students who decide to cutback on car usage can choose to bike or rollerblade between classes instead of hopping in the car.
9. Use the Campus Exercise Facilities
Make use of the campus exercise facilities. The services offered are usually free or low cost to students which means savings for the user. If the educational institution does not have an on campus fitness center, join a gym that offers students a discount or take up running or cycling.
10. Use Skype
Instead of always using your cell phone, consider utilizing the free Services of skype. Using Skype will let you see those you love while cutting back on the costs associated with going over your mobile’s allotted talk time allowed.
11. Avoid Expensive Nail and Hair Salons
Students can cut down their personal expenses by cutting down on hair and nail salons. Instead of a weekly trip to the nail salon, consider having a bi-weekly girls night and paint each other’s nails. Go to local community college and use their cosmetology department for hair cuts or have a friend with hair cutting experience clip the tresses.
12. No Cable TV or Satellite
Most TV shows can be found on the internet. Reduce costs by not purchasing cable TV or Satellite. Instead, students should plan to watch all of their shows online over the weekend when they are not studying.
Finding ways to save money in college is a good life lesson for students. Following these simple steps will ensure that a college student is able to focus bad finances and more on enjoying her college experience.