College Money Tips
by Lauren, our college blogger
Save money while at college with these quick budget-friendly tips!
After completing my sophomore year in college, I am starting to become more aware of how much living away from home can cost. Gone are the days when laundry and groceries are done for me by dear old Mom. Any little bit of spare change is practically gold!
I am still far from being completely independent, especially financially, but I have figured out some tips that help me stretch my dollars — and cents!
Take Advantage of the School Meal Plan
Many colleges offer a built-in meal plan freshman year. As a sophomore, meal plans differ from freshmen, but are still a great way to curb the desire to dine out and spend money on food.
The declining balance is the way to go. Many schools offer this option and the money is applicable to anywhere on campus
I have become especially fond of our campus grocery store. Instead of spending extra money at the real grocery store, I am able to pick up essentials at the campus grocery store with money that was already paid to the school.
I know that the declining balance has already been paid for and the money will go to waste if not used, so my friends and I make every effort we can to use that money before spending our own.
If You Have a Job, Save Your Pay
Put every other paycheck into a savings account so it's not easily available and live off the other check. You'll know what you have available and have money for emergencies.
With discounted bus trips that companies like MegaBus offer, a round-trip ticket can be as little as three dollars if booked early enough. Another option is STA Travel, a student travel company that has tons of discounted prices on airfare, hotels, and other modes of transportation.
Buy Used Books
Text books can be the biggest budget breaker of the semester. Go for used whenever possible and buy early before the selection is gone.
Check your syllabus and only buy the books you know you have to. You can always go back to the bookstore and purchase whatever else you need later.
If you have a friend in the class, or who has previously taken the class, share the book.
Sell back your books at the end of the semester — either at the bookstore or online. Usually you will get some money back, which is better than nothing! Online tends to have better deals, but can be more of a hassle.
Say NO to Credit Cards
Use a debit card instead. This is an easy way to access your money without having massive fines or interest accumulating, and you can still practice managing money by using a card.
Look for Entertainment Discounts
Look for student discounts! Ask at restaurants and theaters if they offer student discounts when you show your ID. It's a smart way to have a great time while saving money!
Party back at the dorm, instead of paying expensive cover charges or buying high-priced drinks.
Look for freebies — free events or activities on or off campus.
Participate in fund-raisers. It's a great way to meet new people while doing something good for the school or community.
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