Being a student is hard as is, money worries, however, only make this experience harder.
Not only you have little cash to work with, apart from tuition, but school expenses can also really make a dent in your budget, from pricey books to accommodations and daily needs, an average student usually needs more than they actually have. And the fact that you spend most of your time studying makes taking up a full-time job virtually impossible. So, what’s left?
The only solution that comes to mind is to make your dollar stretch and use it wisely. We’ve put together a list of ideas that will help you spend less, save more, and enjoy life while doing so. Read on for great ways to save money as a college student!
1. Buy, Swap, Sell
It is ideal that instead of shopping for new things, you opt for buying preloved things from someone instead or go cashless and simply swap the things you do not need for the ones you do. This includes your school supplies as well. Get in touch with a senior who is willing to pass their books onto you, this way you wouldn’t have to get the new ones, or at least you will pay less for them! The best part is, if you do not wish to give them money for it, you can offer them something in return that is not of use to you but might be of use to them! You can do this with a lot of things, for example, clothing, furniture, and even gadgets.
2. Sales, Sales, Sales
If you like something, there is a great chance that it eventually will be available on sale. Keep an eye out for weekly ads, and subscribe to all the promotional newsletters that you can find. And if you need to find regular updates, you should check out frequent-ads.com. So the next time you go shopping for groceries, for instance, you can save up some cash for yourself!
3. Be Creative
Many new students make the mistake of going out to rather expensive places for dinner a few times a week, which eventually throws them off their budget completely.
You do not need to go out all the time to enjoy your college life, in fact, you'll have much more fun if you use your imagination and instead of just dining in the restaurants, spend your money on healthy food, like the buffet at Whole Foods and spend the rest of your free time exploring the city, biking, hiking, walking and doing other great things that are actually good for you and your budget.
4. Side Money
Since full-time positions are out of the question, there still must be a way for you to generate some income, from tutoring students who are lagging behind, to helping with homework and babysitting - there is a multitude of options available for college kids. Especially nowadays, when everything is digital, making extra money without leaving your room is easier than ever - from small work gigs on freelance platforms to developing and monetizing social media accounts and providing photo editing services, there are dozens of ways to make the extra money for every college student.
Financial planning is extremely important, even if your budget is little. From sticking to your shopping lists to optimizing your spendings and evaluating the best value choices, a thought-through approach to how you spend your dollar is key. Google for examples of spreadsheets that can help you register your incoming and outcoming money, find healthier, more budget-friendly substitutions for things you buy on a regular basis, get smart about where and how you spend.
6. Start Saving
I know it sounds almost impossible to start saving when you are trying to make your ends meet, but it's actually simpler than it sounds. From a piggy bank into which you can deposit just $1 a day (but make it every day), to paying yourself 10% from every money influx that you get - healthy money habits will help you turn your financial life around and get you on the path of abundance in the future.
7. Buy Some Stocks
Put some money aside, ideally, this money should be generating more money for you. And you do not have to wait until you are a grown-up to get your own Fidelity account and start building your portfolio. Study up, use common sense, treat yourself to a share or two of stocks that are completely safe and are still growing, from Amazon, Tesla to Facebook and Google - there are dozens of companies that will be able to generate you extra income by just holding their shares for a year or two. There is nothing more satisfying than seeing your money grow, why not start young? It's not millions yet, but it's the safety net that will help take the pressure off and will eventually turn into substantial capital if you continue doing so on a regular basis.
8. Unexpected Expenses
It's best to refrain from experiences that can cause unforeseen expenses. From shopping trips with affluent friends and far-away vacations to owning a pet - there are things that can get out of hand financially and there will be very little you would be able to mend the situation.
For example, it's best not to commit to having a pet if you are trying to save money. Pets come with a cost, quite literally. The food, the litter, the visits to the vet - these are all ongoing expenses that can really burn a hole in your pocket. It's best to wait until a time in your life when you are comfortable and secure and the occasional $700 medical bill for your furry friend will not look so bad.
Now that you know some ways to save more and spend less, we hope that every month you'll find more and more money left on your account so that by the time you graduate, you are off to a healthy financial start.