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4 Ways to Save Money as a New College Student

relax-726992_1280Getting started in college is exciting for a lot of reasons. For many people, it is their first chance to live away from home and really feel ‘like an adult.’ It is also fun to meet new people, get started on a career path, and expand your horizons in a number of ways.

What isn’t so exciting, however, is being broke. The stereotype of a college student is one of somebody who can barely afford dinner each night – and sadly, that isn’t too far from the truth.

If you find yourself in this situation as a new college student you will want to do everything you can to save money where possible. Here are four tips to help you tighten up your budget.

Collect Roommates

When living off-campus, find as many roommates as you can in order to lower the overall cost of your housing each month. Obviously you need to remain within regulations for how many people are allowed to live in the home/apartment, but make sure you fill every bedroom in order to cut down the expenses.

Also, when you have more people living together, you should be able to leverage food costs down as well. Consider sharing cooking duties among the roommates to help keep those costs down.

Be Efficient with Books

Buying books is one of the major expenses of college life. While there isn’t much you can do to get around having to buy the books, there are steps you can take to limit the financial damage. First, always buy used books when possible. Most schools have used books available at the start of the semester, and you may be able to find them online as well.

Also, take good care of your books so you can resell them when you are done with the class. Again, you can probably resell them on campus, or you can do it yourself over the Internet.

Steer Clear of Brands

Buying top name brand items might make you feel cool – but it will make you broke at the same time. It doesn’t do any good to have name brand clothes, for example, if you can’t afford to go out and do anything because you spent your money on brand name clothes and other back to school items. It is never too early to learn how to shop smart, so get started now by purchasing lesser-known brands or even second hand items.

Every Course Has a Purpose

One of the fastest ways you can waste money in college is by taking courses that you don’t need. Set out a specific plan for yourself in college and then get to work executing that plan. If a class isn’t going to help you reach your education goals at the end of your time in school, save the money and don’t take the class. Work closely with your advisor to make sure you are on track to graduate without amassing extra credits that will only cost you money.

 

 

Did you use any of these tips to help you save money in college? What other ways can you think of for new college students to save money? How many roommates did you have when you were in college?

 

 

Photo courtesy of: Pixabay

 

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John Schmoll is a Dad, husband and veteran of the financial services industry. He's passionate about helping people learn from his mistakes so that they can live lives free from the shackles of debt and empowered to make their money work for them. You can check out his other sites: Frugal Rules, for ways to improve your financial literacy; and Sprout Wealth for tips on different ways to make more money. John has been featured on Forbes, Lifehacker, Yahoo Finance and US News & World Report and more. If you're wanting to grow your blog, check out my blog coaching services to see how I can help you take your site to the next level.

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6 comments

  1. There are services that let you rent textbooks — some physically, some digitally — for a fraction of the cost of buying. It’s worth checking. I think some of them are even on cash back sites.

  2. When I was in college, I asked my friends in a school organization and borrowed books from them. This is one great advantage of being part of a school organization – wide network of friends.

  3. While the first 3 tips are great for saving money right away, the last one will not only help you save money now, but also help you save and make money for a long time to come. I found that the people who were most focused on their future careers while still in college were among the most successful.

    • Great point Gary! It’s all about having that long-term view. It might not be the most fun thing to think of while in college, but when done effectively it can help set you up for success in life.

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