How to Save Money as a College Student

By: Francesca Fiori

Today, many students are struggling to pay the rising tuition rates of some colleges. Consequently, lots of students are being more careful about the money they spend during their years in college. Fortunately, with some planning a student can keep track of expenses and still enjoy his or her college years. He or she can even save some money to use later on. The following looks at ways that a college student can save money as well as earn some while still in school.

Proper Money Management

By managing their money in a sensible way, college students can have enough for living expenses and maybe even save a little for life after graduation. One helpful money management tip is to avoid fees. This includes ATM fees, checking account overdraft fees, and late fees of all kinds. College students can avoid these fees by keeping a close watch on the money that goes out and comes in. For instance, college students can avoid checking account overdraft fees by checking their account balance each day. By doing this, they’ll always be aware of how much they can spend without overdrawing on the account. In addition, a college student should print a list of which ATMs they can use without incurring a fee. Other money management tips for college students include putting aside ten percent of their earnings from a part-time job. This seems like a small amount, but the savings can accumulate quickly. Also, if a college student has a credit card it is important for him or her to only use it in emergencies. Avoiding credit card debt is a wise money management practice for college students.

Organization and Planning

A college student who has an organized budget can easily keep track of expenses. The budget should include all of his or her monthly expenses as well as account for unexpected (necessary) purchases. Also, college students should review the budget at the end of the month to see where they may need improvement or adjustments. Looking at purchases ahead of time is also a smart financial practice for college students. For instance, at the beginning of the week a student can decide how many coffees to buy for that week. Once that number is determined, the student can establish a coffee budget. A student who wants to organize a budget can also research everyday expenses for cheaper alternatives. Drinking a less expensive brand of coffee is one example. Students will find that a few adjustments in a budget can make a big difference.

Campus Life

There are many expenses related to campus life for a college student. For example, buying textbooks can be very costly. Some options for a student on a budget include renting textbooks or buying used textbooks for courses. Also, if a student needs a novel for a literature class, he or she may want to check it out of the library instead of purchasing it. In addition, there may not be a need for a student to have a car while in college. A student without a car can avoid parking fees and monthly gas expenses. Another way for a student to save on campus life expenses is to choose just one organization to join. By doing this, a student can save on the amount of money he or she dedicates to membership fees. Entertainment can be a big expense for many college students. A student on a budget may want to look for free movie nights on campus as well as other free weekend activities. Playing video games with friends or joining a book discussion group are two other inexpensive options.

Personal Life and Finance

Personal expenses pay a big part in most of the budgets of college students. Some ways to save include buying inexpensive microwaveable foods to make in a dorm microwave instead of eating out. Also, if a student has a little refrigerator in his or her dorm room that’s a great place to keep inexpensive, healthy snacks. The clothing portion of a college student’s budget can be kept under control if the student buys clothing items from a consignment shop. Also, buying generic notebooks for classes is more economical than buying notebooks with logos at the college bookstore. A student can also avoid overspending on the personal care budget by coloring his or her own hair.

Making Money

Many college students opt for a part-time job while in school. College bookstores and clothing stores often have flexible positions for reliable students. Also, if a student gets a job at a college dining hall there may be the option of a free meal along with a small hourly wage. Alternatively, a student with a car at school can charge one or two students who want a ride to a particular shopping mall or store. This can be done on a Friday night or over a weekend. A student can take care of animals belonging to students living in off-campus apartments. A college student with a lively imagination has countless options when it comes to making a little extra money while still in school.


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