Table of Contents
College is expensive. Between tuition, housing, food, and entertainment, many college students rack up debt that will take years to pay off. That’s why you should save money as a college student. Follow BestLifeTips to get effective money saving tips for college students.
Why is it important to save money during college?
You’ve probably heard it from mom and dad a thousand times: “You should save your money!” And you must have wondered why is it important to save money. Here are the major reasons you should listen to their advice.
You need to save money for:
- Avoiding loans: If a person wants to go to school, his methods of payment including savings, scholarships and loans. However, few students can cover all costs for tuition, room and board through scholarships. This reality leaves savings and financing as methods of funding. You can avoid taking on debt as parents, or graduating with high amounts of debt as the student by saving.
- Getting a good spending habits: A key financial responsibility for parents is teaching kids good spending habits and the importance of saving money versus borrowing. Starting college savings early in life helps instill the importance of saving money to buy something as opposed to relying on debt.
- Paying for your relocation expenses: It’s likely you’ll have to cover your own relocation expenses at your first job out of college. Try to negotiate for this when you’re in the hiring process, but be prepared (with savings) to cover the costs for your new opportunity.
- Paying for living: You have to pay for foods, clothes, gas, domestic appliances, ect.
What are the benefits of saving money for college students?
- Secure an apartment near your new job.
- Pay for temporary health insurance, since there’s a waiting period of between 30-90 days before you can get on the company’s health insurance plan.
- Buy groceries, pay for utilities, pay my cell phone bill, and fill my tank up with gas.
- Build up the savings habit early: If you establish a savings habit now when your paycheck is still small, you’ll continue to save more and more money as you get your hands on a real paycheck from a job.
- Helps you build trust and confidence in your abilities: It’s hard to establish confidence in yourself in your early 20s. You are essentially taking over your life, and you need to know that you can trust yourself in doing so. There are many ways that you can build this trust. Saving money is one of them. By having savings, you’ll trust that you can handle anything.
- Helps you cover increased expenses: Right now, you’ve receiving lots of discounts because you are a student. As soon as you graduate, no more student discounts. No more subsidized housing and no more parents to help you with your monthly bills.
- Lessen your financial stress: This is important. Cut down on your financial stress by saving money. It’s a gift to yourself to not have to worry about where next month’s rent payment is coming from, or how you’re going to get enough food for the week.
- Free to pursue your dream career: There are a lot of people out there who stuck in a job they hate, because they didn’t have the financial freedom to quit and pursue something they enjoy. In other words, a big pile of savings gives you the freedom to quit a job you hate and pursue your dream career.
- Invest in yourself: When you have money, you can invest in your health and your ability. Such as buying healthy food, skincare products, do some courses to improve your knowledge and your skills. This is a profitable investment you should focus on.
- Helps you during unemployment: You can get unemployment insurance if you’re laid off. But it is a fraction of what you typically earn, so you need savings to pull you through.
- Helps in emergencies: Emergencies are always unexpected. There will be pressure to look for extra funds at a very short notice. This problem can be compounded if the emergency is a sudden illness or car accident. It could be a matter of life and death. Accumulated savings can go a long way in alleviating the situation. That said, such emergencies usually require a large sum of money.
- Saving for fun: Many people think you have to make a choice between saving money and having fun, but this is a poisonous mentality. In fact, fun is a critical part of personal finance, and it is essential for your financial and physical well-being. You should always set a little money aside for enjoyment. Saving money gives you the freedom to do what you want to do. And sometimes that means having a little fun.
Budgeting tips for college students
Budgeting for college students can be especially tough: Balancing classes, maybe a job, and being fully accountable to yourself is a lot to take on. One of the biggest responsibilities is managing a personal budget, possibly for the first time in your life.
Here are some budgeting tips we want to share with you.
1. Get a job
If you’re able to, find a part-time job to the equation can be a tremendous help in managing a budget. It’s not a hard challenge. Many colleges jobs have flexible schedules built to accommodate students, so if you can, find something that can fit into your workload.
2. Shop deals and use coupons
Using coupons is way better than paying full price for something you could get cheaper. Keep an eye out for deals at retailers when you’re making everyday purchases. A little of diligence in researching price comparisons can wind up saving you big in the long run. Especially when you make deal hunting a part of your buying routine, the savings made each month can really add up over time.
3. Monitor student discounts
There are a lot of deals, offers, and special prices that are granted to students. When you’re making a purchase or choosing between services, compare whether they have options available with a student ID or email. You’re already paying for school, you may as well get some special financial perks out of it.
4. Use financial apps
With apps available for pretty much everything these days, it makes sense that there are countless personal finance apps out there to help you keep a tight budget by monitoring your spending.
5. Don’t waste food
When you’re shopping, avoid overbuying, especially perishable items that may go bad before you eat them. By spending smartly on a mix of items with long shelf lives and fresh ingredients, you can not only spare yourself from wasting money, but you can help the bigger problem of food waste.
6. Share with roommates
Living with roommates can be a challenge in its own right, but the savings on housing make it well worth it. You can share housing costs, food and house necessities like toiletries and cleaning supplies with your roommates. That way you can cover house bills and joint food costs together.
7. Take advantage of free events
Museums will often offer free admission to college students on certain nights, and there are countless free concerts and film screenings hosted by student organizations. Going to free events can be a great way to remain active in your community and socialize without blowing your budget on bars, restaurants, and expensive show tickets.
8. Get a cash back credit card
Credit cards can be a big responsibility for someone managing a budget for the first time, so proceed with caution. If you feel like, you can manage expenses well enough to get a credit card, make sure you’re getting one that offers cash back incentives.
9. Double check what you use and pare down
There are several items and expenses that aren’t really necessary but weigh us down financially and can stifle our space. If you have several items you’re not using, consider selling or discard them. You’ll pare down your space as well as put some extra cash in your pocket.
Also, take stock of subscription services you’re paying for each month or year, and get rid of the ones you’re not using frequently enough to justify the expense.
10. Don’t buy new textbooks
Textbooks can run as high as $1,000 per semester, which is pretty crushing when you’re already living on a shoestring budget. Always opt for used books whenever possible, and sell back any books you won’t need anymore to student bookstores to defray some of the cost.
Also, compare prices online to see if there are versions of textbooks that can be bought for cheaper. It’s also important to take stock of how long you’ll need a book. If you’re only going to need a book for a few days or weeks, try to rent the book from a library to avoid buying it for short-term use.
Money saving tips for college students
The idea of saving money in college might sound impossible, but it’s totally doable.
For most college students, this is the first time to have a budget and manage money on your own. You might not know all the tips and tricks to make your money last.
Here’s some of the best ideas on how to manage your money and save money in college which come from experience.
1. Have a free checking account
If you already have a checking account, you need a free checking account. This is a baseline to save money. Banks have plenty of ways to make money and checking and savings accounts shouldn’t be one of them.
2. Find a part-time job
Having a part-time job is essential for every college student. It not only helps you improve soft skills but also makes money. You’ll have more money to put in your savings.
3. Have a plan for your classes and degree
One of the best ways to save money in college is to have a solid plan for your classes and degree program.
You should go to college with a specific purpose, and ensuring that you’re taking the right classes and progressing to your degree on time is a great way to save money in college. Every extra class and semester costs money.
4. Watch your student loan borrowing
If you have to take out student loans, you need to be very mindful of how much you borrow. If you borrow too much in student loans, you’re going to struggle financially for your entire life. A good rule of thumb is never borrow more than you expect to earn in your first year after graduation. This will help keep your student loan debt manageable so you can afford it after college.
5. Apply for scholarships and grants
You can apply for scholarships and grants every year throughout college. If you dedicate some time to applying, you could find yourself getting a lot of money to pay for school.
6. Use the library
One of the most under-used, but best free tools, on a college campus is the library. College libraries have everything and it’s free if you’re a student. They have books (or course), but they also usually have computers to use, videos, software, and more.
If you’re really trying to get through college on a budget, the library will be your best friend. Remember that quantities are limited at the library. Being effective in using the library typically requires prior planning, knowing your classes and books ahead of time, going at odd hours, etc.
7. Minimize your textbook expense
Textbooks can be one of your biggest expenses every semester. The best two ways to save on your textbooks in college is to either buy used books, or rent your textbooks.
Renting college textbooks is also an option. You can simply rent the textbook you need for the semester you need it.
8. Sell back your textbooks when you’re done
When you’re done with your used textbooks, you can sell them and get your money back. It’s one of the best ways to save in college.
9. Get your education discount on computer hardware and software
Another big expense for college is technology. Many students want or need to get a new laptop, and with that comes all the trimming of software. Plus, some classes require their own specific software that you need to install.
If you’re getting any type of new computer or software, make sure you buy it through the education store and get your education discount. Most companies offer significant discounts to students. No matter what technology you need, you can probably find a big discount by purchasing their education edition.
10. Use your meal plan to the fullest
If you’re looking to save money, you need to take advantage of your college meal plans to the fullest so that it’s a great deal.
This means getting everything you pay for such as breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks. If you’re not leveraging your campus meal plan, you still might want to consider dining in the dining halls as a lot of the food is typically priced really well.
11. Cook at home
It’s almost always cheaper to cook than it is to go out and buy pre-made food. While a dinner for $5-6 may sound cheap, it really does add up over time. And you can probably cook the same meal (and prep for future meals) for about half the price.
12. Cut back on the alcohol
Alcohol is a part of most college student’s experience. Having a beer with friends can be fun, but don’t let drinking break your budget. Stick to beer on sale, split costs with friends, and if you’re at the bar, order well drinks or the happy hour specials.
13. Use your campus gym
Working out and staying fit is important, especially in college. You can lose the weight and stay in shape for free. Most campuses have great athletic and gym facilities for their students, and your fees each year cover membership as a student.
14. Ask for student discounts
So many places offer student discounts. These include restaurants, shops, movie theaters, theme parks, and more.
Before you pay, see if there’s a student discount. Typically, you just have to show your student ID and you’re ready to go. This is a simple way to save some extra money in college for just going to school.
15. Don’t own a car yet
Parking, gas, and insurance (not to mention unexpected car repairs) add up to a substantial amount. You can always use public transit, borrow a friend’s car, or use a Zipcar if you need to travel long distance. Uber and Lyft are also affordable ways to get around.
16. Get a student pass for public transportation
If you need public transportation to get around, see if you can get a student pass. Many colleges partner with their local transit authorities and offer student discounts and student passes for busses, subways, trolleys, and more.
This can be a huge saving for college students who need to get around, and it’s usually cheaper than owning a car.
17. Find student travel tours
Students have a slight advantage when it comes to travel because there are a lot of companies that cater to student travel.
These tours are specific to 18-35 year olds, so you’ll be with a group of young adults who are all interested in the same type of trip. There are trips almost everywhere, with awesome destinations that any student would enjoy.
18. Live with roommates
The idea of living alone is great, but it’s so much more expensive that living with others. So living with roommates is a great way to save money in college and even after college.
19. Cut your cell phone bill
Services like My Data Manager or WhistleOut.com will analyze your cell phone bills to make sure you have the best plan in place. They’ll also alert you if you exceed your monthly data limit. Make sure you set your cell phone well, weakened Wi-Fi can force your phone to switch over to data when you’re unaware.
20. Be mindful of your utilities
Another off campus expense that can get you are your utilities. You need to be mindful of your utilities and how much it costs to run your air conditioning, how much your internet costs, and more.
If you’re not paying attention, you could find your electric bill skyrocketing and it can seriously harm your college student budget.
21. Buy used or secondhand if needed
If you need something for your house, buy it used or secondhand. There are a lot of great ways to get couches, beds, and more for cheap. Just look online.
22. Live at home
Finally, one of the absolute best ways to save money in college is to simply live at home. You can eliminate the vast majority of this list if you simply live at home, save on rent and food, and watch your other expenses. This is probably going to save you so much more than trying to live on or off campus.
And while you’ll have some commuting expenses as well, you’ll still probably realize significant cost savings. This can be a great way to save money in college so that you can springboard your life after graduation.
You don’t need to spend more money than you have to impress people. What’s more impressive is if you can save money in college, invest it, and become financially independent in your early thirties. That’s a great goal right there.
Hope that through this article, BestLifeTips can help you find out more effective money saving tips for college students and you can find a suitable saving way for yourself.