Let’s face it: the cost of a college education these days is enough to make you want to pull your hair out. From the tuition costs right down to the day to day expenses, if you’re not careful about your expenses, you could find yourself in a lot of debt before ever having landed your first job.
So, how does one go about saving money while trying to obtain a college degree? Simple. All you have to do is make a plan and stick to it. Here are some suggestions to get you started:
- Create a Budget -The best way to save money is to have a budget. While this might not seem like a savings tactic, knowing exactly where every penny you’ve earned is going is a great way to analyze where you could find additional savings. Therefore, start by jotting down all the various expenses you have on the monthly basis. Incorporate the income you have coming in (student loan funds, money from parents, or income from a job). Keep track of this on the regular basis to ensure you don’t go over budget as every penny can count towards savings somewhere else.
- Buy Used School Supplies – Textbook costs can be rather expensive, as such it is a good idea to cut those costs in half by purchasing used textbooks and school supplies. Many students sell their books at the end of each semester. Look in the student learning center or library for the latest postings and purchase as many books as you can used.
- Learn to Cook – Another expense that can get out of hand without a plan is eating. You need to eat in order to get through each day, so skipping this expense altogether is highly unlikely. However, what you can do is learn a few basic cooking techniques that will allow you to cook your meals on the regular basis. Investing in a microwave and/or a hot plate to cook your meals can save you a ton of money.
- Use Public Transportation – If you don’t have to drive a car while in college, then you probably shouldn’t. The cost of commuting back and forth to school and to other destinations can accumulate quickly. Instead, you should consider using public transportation. The cost of a bus or train pass will far outweigh the costs of gas on the daily basis.
- Barter – The good thing about being around a group of peers is that they’re all going through the same thing you are (well pretty much) – being broke in college. Therefore, they are looking for ways to save them on their daily needs as well. You all have something you can offer, so why not consider the barter system with your classmates. For example, if your friend needs to use the computer to type an assignment on the weekly basis, you could offer yours in exchange for a copy of their textbook or something of that nature. This could save you a ton of money.
- Second Hand Shop – Take it from someone who spent a better part of their college career in pajamas and sweat pants, you don’t have to wear the latest fashion trends to get a good education. However, you also can’t walk into class naked. Instead of racking up high costs or maxing out your credit card, consider looking into second hand consignment shops. You can find some great clothes for a fraction of the cost.
- Buy in Bulk – Do you eat a lot of Ramen noodles, pasta, and microwaveable meals? Why not take a friend with you to the grocery store and purchase items in bulk? This way you can split the cost of the grocery bill and still get the food you need. Buying in bulk can also be a great way to earn a few extra bucks on the side. If you have something that other students need, they may be willing to come to you to get additional savings that they won’t get from the store.
- Check for Student Discounts – Many students aren’t aware of the many discounts there are out there for them. From public transportation passes right down to fine dining and clothes shopping, many companies offer additional savings to college students. By showing your college ID, you could save yourself a few bucks with each purchase. While a few bucks might not sound like a lot, every penny you can save in college is a plus.
- Use Coupons – CouponBox.com points out that many stores offer coupon codes as additional savings to their customers. By utilizing these specific codes you could save yourself percentages off purchases that you make on the regular basis. There are literally coupons for everything that you need from clothes to takeout food.
See how easy it can be to save a few bucks as you continue to earn your college degree? Even if you’ve exhausted most of your funds on tuition and other fees, being frugal and having a plan in place can save you a boatload of money on the things that you need on the regular basis. So whether you have the assistance of mom and dad or not, you will find that surviving the college life is not as strenuous as some would have you to believe. Not to mention, graduating debt free is also a convenience you’ll appreciate later on in life.