College costs a lot, but the benefits are mainly worth it, with graduates earning an average of $30,000 more per year than those among high school students. Still, the cost of college can be eye-watering.
Students are always looking for some novel way to make their money go further. College turns us into essay writers as well as penny-pinchers. Bizarrely, understanding how to save money in college isn’t something they teach in college. You can’t beat the classics when it comes to saving money.
Rent is where the majority of a college student budget goes; it’s an unfortunate economic truth. Besides the educational gains, living away from home for the first time is a central part of the college experience for many, excluding mature students, of course.
Living away from home does mean paying rent. Therefore the biggest money-saving ploy out there is to simply not move out of your family home. Remaining in the nest might be hard for some to bear, or it could be a pleasure. It honestly depends on your circumstances and expectations.
If living away from family is crucial, then consider the different areas and districts that are within an appropriate distance. The most bustling student areas sometimes come with a premium price tag – that’s what you get for being so close to ‘the action.’
Living on campus doesn’t necessarily mean cheaper accommodation. Many institutions are currently under some financial pressure themselves, and student accommodation is an evergreen form of income. As such, the prices can not accurately reflect the quality of housing. Look off-campus, and it’s possible to bag a bargain deal.
The internet is brimming with websites to help you find flatmates or fill a vacant room; get searching and save money by denying yourself that en-suite studio on campus.
Don’t buy all the textbooks
Textbooks are quite expensive, but that’s an understatement. When first arriving at college, you may feel the pressure from the teaching staff that you need all the books on your reading list, and you need them now.
The academic publishing industry didn’t get built on best-sellers, the sales numbers are low on textbooks, and the prices are high. Not to do a disservice to textbooks as they require years of intensive work before they’re ready for reading. However, PDFs, ebooks, the internet, libraries, and Amazon all exist, and they all have them for much less than the on-campus bookstore.
If there is a textbook that’s very hard to find and very essential – a nightmare honestly – consider getting a group together to split the cost and the time it takes to photocopy the pertinent sections. It isn’t the most effortless work, but it will keep money in your account.
Do it right and do it at the right time; that is, do it when your loan comes in. Plan your expenses ahead of time, get to know how much you spend on the essentials; rent, food, and travel. Some big money saving expenditures you might plan for include:
- Buying a bike
- Buying some bulk foodstuffs, like rice or beans
- Decent bedding so you save on heating; alternatively, if you’re living somewhere hot, a fan is cheaper than A/C!
Make use of technology
There are many money saving apps available today. Many banks have caught on and offer these, as standard, within their apps.
One of the most effective ways to save money using these apps is the round-up feature, it may go by a different name, but the functionality is always the same. Whenever you make a purchase, the app will round up the change to the nearest dollar (or specific increment) and put it into a separate savings account.
Suppose you make ten purchases a week with an average round-up of $0.50. That’s $5 a week you’re saving. Over a month, that’s $20, and over the year, that’s around $200. $200 that could otherwise have been frittered away to nowhere in particular, now it’s safe and looking much more useful than the initial $0.50; automate saving in this way, and you’ll be able to keep more of your money.
Make it a game
The money saving challenge doesn’t exist as an ice-bucket challenge. It exists as a personal task which only you need to complete. Sometimes it feels like every time we leave the house, money goes out of our pockets. The constant pressure and necessity to spend is invisible and omnipresent, but what if you broke the cycle?
Not to advocate dumpster diving and shoplifting as the chief means of providing for yourself. Instead, why not try and refrain from spending for a few days a week. Make lunch and sit in the park, take a flask of coffee, and skip Starbucks, walk to college, don’t take the bus. The possibilities are everywhere. One has to be careful not to compensate for the lack of spending on days when spending is allowed.
James Baxter is professional ghostwriter, and editor at write my essay and blogger, who loves sharing his experience and knowledge with readers. He is especially interested in marketing, blogging and IT. James is always happy to visit different places and meet new people there.