Are you a college freshman that's struggling financially? Or are you just trying to save some money? The majority of college students are dealing with financial difficulties and struggle to have enough time to manage them. This is understandable because it can be difficult trying to adapt to a new environment, learning to become more independent and making time to juggle college classes and new adult pressures. If you can relate, following this will help you start saving money and reduce your stress.
Be A Savvy Shopper1. Buying textbooks for college SHOULD NOT be your first option
Make sure to never buy new textbooks, because most of the time you're only going to need them for a semester or two, and then dump them out. A better option would be borrowing a textbook from friends or family. If that doesn't work then look for a cheaper used alternative on Amazon or eBay.
2. Be smart about your purchases
Ditch the latest trends and focus on things that are important to your everyday life. For example, when the coolest shoes come out and all your friends are buying it, are you tempted to be the first to be seen in it? Would you rather look "cool" until the trend dies out, or forget the trend and save money? Trends don't last that long so skipping out on the trend won't hurt much!
Chances are you might be moving a couple of times during college, so consider that whatever you're buying you'll have to move to your next dorm or apartment.
3. Look for second-hand or free items
Look for hand-me-downs and thrift store options to save big on clothing and furniture. Another great option can be hosting a "clothing exchange" to swap out some items that your friends are sick of but might have plenty of life left in them.
4. Always look to shop at places that offer students discounts
What many students might not know is that a lot of places offer student discounts. Instead of buying something at full price you can get discounts from being a student. Companies like Amazon Prime, the Apple Store, and Adobe all offer student discounts.
In addition you may not know that many professional associations have discounted rates for current students which may offer professional connections which could lead to a job. Signing up for before graduating could save you hundreds!
Develop Frugal Habits
5. Use bike riding or public transportation
Public transportation and bikes are a great way to get to school without breaking the bank! Unlike a car and you don't have to worry about gas or paying off the car. When you consider where to live, take a look at nearby transit routes - some have lines going directly to campus!
6. Stop eating out regularly
Eating can be expensive, especially when you're eating out! So instead of eating out, cook homemade meals. It's better for your wallet and your health. Check out recipes online, using a phone app, or from a cookbook you could borrow for free from the library. Here are some food blogs designed with you in mind to get you started.
7. Cut out cable TV
A TV can be fun and exciting watching all your favorite TV shows but unfortunately, that costs you a significant amount of money. It would be better to find some free alternatives. Many libraries have free movies and TV shows, some of which you can even stream over your computer or mobile device! Check out your campus' calendar for other options too - there might be free plays, concerts, and other events on campus where you could discover new interests and meet new friends.8. Be aware of credit cards
Credit cards are incredibly helpful in developing your credit, which is necessary when you apply for an apartment lease, or if you need a loan later on down the line. However, it's important that borrowers be responsible. Read the terms, pay your bills on time, and never borrow more than you can pay back! Credit is a great tool if you use it responsibly. In a nutshell, treat it like it's coming right out of your checking account, and don't buy purchases you wouldn't normally, such as going to a five star restaurant when you normally chow on ramen. It's still money you have to pay back.
9. Open a saving account with a credit union
Many college students have heard of a credit union, but don't what they are. They might think, it's only for credit cards, or not understand what they do. Credit Unions are created to serve their ‘members”, while banks have a fiduciary responsible to creating profit. Credit Unions typically offer higher interest rates on deposit accounts (like savings and checking accounts) as opposed to a bank. They care about your success, and can serve as helpful advisers to answer your financial questions.
You can learn more about Excite Credit Union and becoming a member with here.