When it comes to finances, being a college student may appear appealing because you get more independence and time to reflect on your actions. However, all of this freedom also comes with a bunch of responsibilities attached to it because you'll be responsible for yourself financially. And apparently, college comes at a cost, not just your tuition fee but as well as your allowance and own money to spend while in college. And with that, here are some tips on how you can save money as a college student.
Get a Student Discount Card
Most students are unaware of the fact that they can get college student discounts on a variety of products and services just by showing their valid student ID. Many establishments and colleges offer memberships with student discounts on food, clothes, movie tickets, entertainment, and even travel so be sure to take advantage of these deals whenever possible.
A lot of businesses especially the ones near your campus capitalize on the student market, they may offer discounts for your favorite items and services in order to attract larger crowds of students and generate more sales from them.
Find Free Services or Discounted Resources on Campus
Many colleges and universities offer free or discounted resources to students, including things like; printing, library access, school supplies, campus gym membership, used textbooks, and campus bookstore purchases. Be sure to ask around or check your school’s website to see what’s available to you.
Sometimes these discounts don't look like much like 5% or even down to 3% off, but you would be lucky to find a resource or service that is at 10% off. However, in the long run, these discounts add up to big savings and more money! Nonetheless, make sure that the services or things you are purchasing are for the long run and not just moment purchases in order to save money.
Use Coupons for College Students
Now don't be shy, coupons can help you save a lot of money on groceries and other necessary items. You can find coupons online or in newspapers and magazines. This is a huge money-saving tip for college students because as you might have actually seen on TV, some major coupon-ers actually end up not paying for their groceries!
You can also find a lot of coupons in your campus' dining hall or cafeteria so be sure to look out for those as well. If you're not sure where to start, check out websites like RetailMeNot or Coupons.com to get started. Now, we're not telling you to go that far to save money, but take time to check out your local clippings on possible coupons for regular purchases that you make in order to save money.
Make a Budget
It’s important to know how much money you have coming in and going out each month. This will help you figure out where you can cut back on spending and how much money you need to save. As a college student, having a visual representation of what you have and what you're spending will help you see where and how you spend or save money in college.
With a budget, you'll be able to allocate your money in certain categories like food, clothes, books, and other materials needed for school or daily living. This will help you curb your spending as you'll be more mindful of what you're purchasing and whether it's necessary or not. Your extra money can then be put into a savings account or into an emergency fund for future use.
Stick to Your Budget
Once you’ve made a budget, it’s important to stick to it as best as you can. This may mean saying no to nights out or other activities that cost money. It can be hard to stick to a budget at first, but a great money saving tip for college students especially when it comes to sticking to your budget is to not make it too rigid, and give yourself some leeway, after all, you're still a student and you deserve to enjoy your college years! The liberty that you have as a college student may seem great but when spending money puts you in debt, its best to start early and plan ahead with a sound budget plan.
For instance, if an expensive spring break is not in your budget, consider going on a staycation instead or look for cheaper alternatives that won't put you in debt. You can also search for student discounts on travel websites. By looking for deals and being creative, you can still have a great time without breaking the bank.
Don’t Use Credit Cards
Credit cards can be tempting, but it’s important to resist the urge to use them. If you can’t pay off your credit card balance in full each month, you’ll end up paying interest and late fees that can add up quickly. Saving money also means not spending money that you don't have. A good rule of thumb is if you're tempted to make a purchase with your credit card, is to wait 7 days, and if 7 days later you still feel the need for the purchase, then go ahead. Sometimes we're just caught in the moment and feel the need to purchase something, knowing there is a credit card to use.
Online banking is also something you need to regulate, the ease of access to your money thanks to online banking, makes it easy to do grocery shopping or even late-night shopping for things that you don't need. Make sure to keep tabs on your online accounts as well!
Make a Savings Plan
It’s important to have a goal in mind when you’re saving money. Whether you want to save up for a car, an apartment, or just have some extra money in case of emergencies, knowing what you’re saving up for will help you stay on track towards financial success.
Open a bank account so that you have somewhere to put your money and in the process, you'll be able to watch your money grow. Once you have a goal in mind, break it down into smaller goals so that you can see your progress along the way. This will help keep you motivated and on track toward your ultimate savings goal.
Invest in a Good Coffee Maker
Coffee shop coffees can be expensive, so invest in a good coffee maker and some quality beans instead. This will save you money in the long run and you’ll still be able to enjoy a delicious cup of coffee every day. Nonetheless, some coffee shops may offer student discounts, but don't be fooled by student discounts, the amount of coffee that students take while studying can amount to a month of groceries already. Who knows, maybe your own coffee would taste even better! However, if you are on a really tight budget, it would be more practical to cut back on your coffee intake instead.
Avoid eating out
Eating out can be expensive, so it’s best to avoid it if possible. If you do want to eat out, look for restaurants that have special deals, offer student discounts, or use coupons to save money. But another great option to avoid eating out is to do a meal plan. A lot of students end up eating out because a huge chunk of their time is spent studying or in classes, therefore, having a meal plan will save you time and money, all you need to do is set aside a day for cooking and prepping your own food. Online, there are a lot of great recipes that are easy to follow and don't require a lot of ingredients to make your own meals.
Get a Part-time Job
If you need some extra money, consider getting a part-time job. This could be anything from working at a restaurant to being a tutor. A lot of students are able to use their salary from part-time jobs to pay bills and cover other education expenses like money for public transportation, minor auto repairs, or simple leisure activities such as movie nights. There are many job options available on many college campuses, like at coffee shops, and grocery shops, so be sure to look around until you find something that’s a good fit for you, just make sure though that your part-time job will fit your class schedule.
Investing is one of the smartest things you can do with your money. Investing allows you to grow your money while taking less risk than gambling or playing the stock market. There are many different ways to invest, so it’s important to do some research to find an investment strategy that will work for you. For example, you could invest in real estate, stocks, bonds, or mutual funds. You can also invest in yourself by taking courses and learning new skills that will help you get ahead in 7?:your career.
Investing is a great way to grow your money, but it’s important to remember that there is risk involved. Be sure to only invest money that you can afford to lose.
Attend Free Events
Many college campuses have free events, especially on weekends! So instead of going out on movie nights, or drinking out with friends, check what your college campus has to offer! A lot of student organizations host these free activities with even free food to attract new members, and they’re usually a lot of fun. This is a great way to save money and meet new people at the same time.
Being Mindful is the Best Way to Save Money in College
The bottom line is that saving money in college takes effort and mindfulness. It’s important to be aware of your spending habits and make an effort to save money where you can. Apart from not just being mindful of your expenses and savings, know what your college campus has to offer. A lot of colleges provide their students with freebies and discounts that they don’t know about. It never hurts to ask around or do some research on your own. Lastly, have a solid plan for your future, because the more prepared you are, the easier it will be to save money in college.
All you need to do is research and ask around, and who knows you might be growing your savings towards financial success in no time while in college!