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How to Save Money in College
For many college students, money represents a huge obstacle. I know it did for myself when I was in college.
Who can focus on studies when you’re wondering how you’re going to get your next meal or pay for the materials you need for class?
A concern for money is one of the top reasons given by students who’ve considered dropping their courses.
This is why I created this article, in hopes that it will help you save money in college.
Here are six useful tips for students who are looking to save money while in college:
1. Stick to a Budget
Deciding to buy things on a whim has a much deeper impact on your finances than you realize. Spending even a few dollars every day for breakfast adds up to a substantial amount by the end of the semester.
Setting up a budget and following it when you buy things is the first step in cutting down on spending.
Start by keeping track of every dollar that you spend during a month (or even a week). This way, you can track exactly where your money goes. That morning Latte or smoothie can really cost you!
If you stick to a budget now, you won’t feel like you’re depriving yourself. If you’re just starting out, set yourself a budget and try and work within it.
See how you do after a month and rework it each month. The next tips will help you with keeping your budget on track.
2. Keep Meals Healthy and Affordable
College life is often busy, and fast food may seem like the perfect option when it comes to dining. However, even if you don’t seek out the healthier (and often more expensive) options at fast food restaurants, routinely buying meals like this adds up in a hurry.
Instead, prepare meals and snacks at home or in your dorm room and save dining out for special occasions. Not only is this often healthier than a fast food habit, but your home-cooked meals will cost much much less.
Buying snacks in bulk instead of hitting the vending machine each day can also save you a ton. Always keep a snack with you and a drink if you can so you aren’t tempted to hit the store or vending machine when the urge strikes.
3. Don’t Buy New Textbooks
According to the National Association of College Stores, students spent an average of $313 on books and other required course material in one term. The best way to cut down on these costs is to buy used books or rent them.
You can often find used books at the campus bookstore, but make sure you shop around online to see if you can find a better deal.
You can get great deals on college textbooks on Amazon!
Another alternative to buying new books is renting, a service offered by many campus bookstores and Amazon. As long as you return the book in good condition, a rental plan saves you money over buying a brand new book.
Are you ever really going to look at that book again after class ends? Probably not!
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4. Create a Capsule Wardrobe
Clothing can cost a lot if you’re always shopping. Try to shop for clothes that are simple colors and can be mixed and matched into different outfits. A quick search on Pinterest can give you some ideas on how to create a capsule wardrobe.
Creating a simple wardrobe will not only help you financially but will also keep your space less cluttered and help you come up with outfit ideas quick instead of rummaging through the closet each time you need to get dressed.
I really love this idea for anyone and I am starting to implement it at home for myself.
5. Shop Thrift
Shop thrift and get some really great items (including designer items) cheap. You can even get some items you need for your dorm room or college apartment (like furniture and appliances).
There are a bunch of thrift stores so check your local area. Do a quick google search to easily find one.
You can also check out Apps like Poshmark (use code BYXWR to get a $5 credit) and Mercari where people sell their gently used items. These are also great places to buy designer items at a deep discount!
Have old clothes you want to sell? Try selling them at the above-mentioned places as well so you can have money to purchase an updated wardrobe for college.
Other resources are Facebook Marketplace, OfferUp, and LetGo. These are great for furniture items you may need and many other things since sellers can pretty much sell whatever they want.
For local sellers just make sure to be cautious and bring a friend when picking up your purchase to be safe and check their user profiles.
I once found someone selling appliances from another state super cheap and discovered they had several profiles with the same item. If it seems shady stick to your gut.
6. Apply for Scholarships!
It’s never too late to apply for scholarships! You can apply every year you are in school, just read the requirements and continue to apply.
College can be very stressful for a student, especially when you also have to worry about financial issues. But, if you find ways to stay within a reasonable budget throughout the semester, you should be relatively worry-free.
Anything you can do to save a dollar or two will help.
If you want to find out more about Scholarships, I highly recommend checking out this free webinar: 6 Steps To Quickly Secure Scholarships For College.
These are just a few tips to help you save money in college! You may also want to check out 101 Ways to Save Money for more ways to save. If you found this article helpful please share it with your friends!