There’s a reason a phrase “starving student’ exists. College is pretty expensive and it rarely leaves students with enough time or energy to get an extra job to cover the expenses. Since this isn’t only a period reserved for studying, but also for creating and maintaining a social life and exploring life, things can get pretty rough.
The best thing students could do is to save money wherever they can. These small amounts that they save just by being careful and responsible, can really add up and make a difference.
Make a budget
Making a home budget that lists all the monthly expenses and income will make things so much easier. Start by listing the biggest expenses like rent, utility bills, and food. Once you know how much you have left divide that into other less important categories. You should spend at least a portion on things that you enjoy in. The budget should be taken pretty seriously. Once you’ve made it, stick to it and you will have all the basics covered. It’s customary to leave some money on your savings account as well, but students usually can’t do it, so leave that for after you graduate.
Having roommates isn’t glamorous and sometimes it can be downright infuriating. However, dividing the rent into three parts makes it all worth your while. It’s simply easier to share living quarters and expenses with fellow students. Of course, shaking up with close friends isn’t just a way to ease the financial burden it could also be a lot of fun. Just remember to discuss all the arrangements before you sign anything and to pitch in for necessities in equal measure.
Alongside living expenses, textbooks are perhaps the most costly item on any student’s list. “I’ve always hated paying a lot of money on textbooks”, says Brandon Checketts, the creator of BookScouter, “the worst part was that you can’t sell them at a fair price at the end of the semester neither”. That’s why he created a platform on which you can sell textbooks online and compare prices with different sellers until you find the best deal.
Using notes from the previous generation students is also a valuable resource and it rarely costs anything.
Eating out and buying junk food could take a pretty big chunk out of your monthly budget. The healthiest way to avoid this is to cook yourself. It isn’t that hard to learn and the result will almost always be better than fast food you would buy out. Also, colleges often offer meal plan options that you have to pay extra for. This could be a great way to get some cooked food without the hustle or it could be a big waste of money. Investigate before making the decision.
Rent, rent, rent
It’s, of course, true that in the long run, renting is a more expensive option than buying, but when in college you should be thinking about the long run. The apartment, the car, and even the mini-fridge you’re using will soon be just a fun memory of hard the times used to be when you were in college. If the monthly expense is going to be smaller for rent than for payment always choose to rent and don’t feel bad about leaving the college life behind once you graduate.
By sticking to a plan and cutting corners wherever you can, college life could be easier and less financially difficult. Just don’t forget to pay the bills on time and you’ll be fine.