Saving money in college, and even for college, is a pretty pesky task. There are so many things we want to buy as we grow up and while we are in college to have a great quality of life – but how do we actually afford all of these? We see teenagers and other young adults with the latest phones, cars, laptops, and more. Is this fair? How do they do it? Rich parents, that’s the first excuse – for others they are masters of setting a budget and saving their money, or rather being frugal with their money.
Common Tips to Save Money in College
I’m sure your parents have told you time and time again how to manage your money, this time it’s real. If you manage your money properly you can propel yourself into financial security at a young age, something many dream of.
Tip #1: Shop Frugal
There are many places that offer student discounts because they get it – college is expensive. They want to buy your loyalty with those discounts. There are hundreds of places that offer student discounts like Apple, Microsoft, Dell, Redbox, Museums, Chevy, and nearly all car insurance companies – just to name a few.
Tip #2: Skip the Car
Sure it would be awesome to have a car in college – oh the freedom. It’s simple, cars are expensive. Most people ignore the fact that they need common maintenance like oil changes, tire rotations, and can even have major repairs like a blown engine. You have to factor in parking fees, parking passes, gas, and insurance as well. You can easily be spending anywhere from $125 or more per month just to have your car on campus.
Tip #3: Buy Items in Bulk
This is almost a must if you’re trying to save money. Many colleges don’t offer unlimited food plans so you’re limited on how often you can actually enter the cafeteria. This leaves you to buying food for your dorm room, say hello to ramen or a pb&j. The more you buy in bulk the more you save in the long run, but be careful to not buy too much and let it go to waste. Getting a membership, or using your parent’s membership, at a place like Costco or Sam’s Club is the way to go.
Tip #4: Skip the Snack or Coffee on the Way to Class
Universities are smart. They know how to sap people for as much money as they can. Many universities have small shops on the way to classes, in various buildings, and so on that are perfect for that quick “pick me up” as you run to your next class. What’s worse is when they setup that hipster coffee house that everyone loves. It’s much cheaper to get your own coffee maker and bring your own snacks than paying over $3 for a coffee.
Tip #5: Don’t Eat or Drink Out A Lot
This will be a hard one to handle if you’re pretty social. Depending on where you are and what your university offers – you may go out a lot. Whether it’s that pizza after the game, the Wednesday night bar crawl, or you’re in a study sesh and just order a quick sub from the deli. It’s ok to live a little and enjoy that bar crawl but don’t make it a 3 times a week event and while you’re out – don’t go overboard on spending.
Tip #6: Watch Those Credit Cards
A credit card can be your saving grace or your worst enemy. It’s a two faced necessity that pretty much everyone needs. The easiest way to build credit is to get a credit card. Before you do, you need to learn how you can build credit at a young age – all that freedom is pretty intoxicating and you can go crazy. You should only use a credit card when you actually need it.
Tip #7: Start Paying Off Loans Early
You’re probably reading this last one and face palming. If you’re going to do anything in college to be money conscious. This is it. You can save and make all the money you want but what you can’t run from are those school loans. Your interest builds up and it gets pretty insane quick and most of the time it’s not even a good amount, depending on who you go through it usually sits around 5-9%. By paying on your loans early you can save yourself in the long run and have a much smaller payment in the future.