Money-saving tips for college students
Are you finding it hard to save money as a student? You’re not alone. Your student years can equate to one of the most expensive times in your life. From tuition to housing, commuting and other living expenses, the costs quickly add up when you don’t have a full-time career. Making small but smart decisions can go a long way to saving you money. Here are some simple ways you can save money as a student.
Use caution with credit cards
Students have a lot of expenses. From phone bills to Internet, cable, commuting and – of course –tuition, the costs quickly add up. But what about other incidentals? It’s too easy to forget about the funds we spend on smaller items, especially when paid for with credit. You may have heard the saying, “Buy now, pay later.” All those payments you put on your card now, will tally up at the end of the month. Many of us are shocked when we receive our monthly statements. A simple way to avoid this shock is by paying cash or debit for your purchases. If you don’t have the funds for an item now, chances are you won’t when your credit statement rolls around either. So, avoid paying by credit to prevent any surprises later in the month.
Create a budget—and stick to it
Making a monthly budget of necessary expenses can help you to plan for priority expenses, and tuck away the rest for saving. Create a list of your recurring expenses each month, such as housing, utilities, fuel, cell phone and more. Don’t forget to add in a budget for entertainment, but keep it within a reasonable limit. Making money-saving decisions doesn’t mean you have to stop living altogether, but it involves being aware of the money you spend.
Cut back on café coffee
After a late-night study session, it can be tempting to grab a coffee on your way to class…and several more throughout the day. A few dollars here and there each day quickly adds up to a lot of cash. Again, you don’t have to quit your caffeine habits altogether, but you’ll find that making a few smarter choices can help you to save. Buy a reusable coffee tumbler, brew a pot at home and take it with you before you leave each day. If you need a mid-day refill, ask your barista to refill your mug. Most cafés offer a discount if you bring your own mug – bonus!
Limit your dining out
Much like caffeine, it’s easy to grab a quick bite here and there when hunger strikes. Again, all these small expenses add up. Buying the same items at the grocery store, or in bulk, and packaging them yourself each day can create a huge amount of savings. This tip is all about pre-planning. It takes a few extra minutes to pack up your meals and snacks before you leave each day, but the money you save will be well worth the time.
Use your student ID
Don’t let your student ID collect dust this semester. You’d be amazed how many retailers offer student discounts in the city. From dining to concerts, coffee and more. While it may not be well advertised, discounts are available at more locations than you think. Next time you’re out and about in the city, ask if vendors offer a student discount. It only takes a second, and can go a long way in saving you a few dollars here and there—all of which add up.
Learning to implement money-saving strategies as a student goes a long way. You’re setting yourself up for success by becoming more financially aware. If you implement these tactics early on, you may find yourself continuing with the strategies long after you graduate.