Welcome to adulthood where everything is expensive. Utilities, textbooks, groceries, housing, tuition…adulthood expenses seem to never end. Here are 8 money-saving tips to help you survive college financially.
1. Live within your means. It might not be possible to get through college without taking student loans, and that’s okay. Tuition can really wipe out a savings account. But don’t take out student loans to cover more than what is absolutely necessary. If you live frugally now, you’ll thank yourself later. Debt becomes larger over time with interest, so the less debt now the easier it will be to pay off later.
2. Sign for housing early. Housing will be another large financial cost while you are in college. Many college apartments actually will give you a deal if you sign for housing early. Also, if you can handle it, living in a shared room versus a private room with significantly cut down your monthly housing bill.
3. Shop at stores that give student discounts. There are probably stores near you that run student deals. A local grocery store might do 20% off Thursdays with a student I.D. Be sure to shop around and find the best deals near you. Those discounts can take down your grocery expenses, which will add up fast.
4. Never go to the grocery store while hungry. Going to the store hungry is dangerous. Your stomach does the buying rather than your brain and budget. Create a grocery list to limit yourself from buying random snacks and junk food that might tempt you while you shop.
5. Stick to the generic brands. Brand name groceries are more expensive, and a lot of the time generic brands will work just as well. Saving a dollar on each grocery item you buy generic will start to add up and save you a decent amount of cash. I’ll admit, some brand name items are just better (dang you Guittard chocolate chips), but try to give generic brands a shot before dismissing them.
6. Use the bus, walk, or carpool. The less you drive the less money you’ll spend on gas. Plus if you don’t have a car, but you take advantage of a free busing system, you could avoid a monthly car payment.
7. Use the campus or your apartment’s gym. College is a busy and stressful time and exercise is a great healthy way to relieve some of that stress. Skip the membership fee of the local gym and just use the campus gym. Some apartment complexes even have their own gyms. If you love to work out, consider finding an apartment with a nice free gym.
8. Buy used books. Or find a free version of the textbook online, or rent the textbook. There’s no need to buy a textbook that you are going to use for one semester, or, let’s be real here, buy a textbook that you might not even end up reading. Search around for used books and save literally hundreds of dollars.
College/adulthood is expensive, but there are definitely ways to make it easier financially. Saving money doesn’t have to mean cutting out all the fun things you love in life. Try incorporating just a few of these tips into your life and see how much money you can save.