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Saving Money In College

Updated on November 2, 2011

It's Never Easy

In this lens we will explore all of the ways that college students can earn and save money by using the principles of frugality. This is money that can be used to pay for school as well as money that can be used to cover personal expenses. College life is one of the most expensive things to pay for. Most students are going to have difficultly trying to get full time employment while in school. At the same time, most are not going to have high paying jobs. Given this, many go into enormous amounts of debt during this time. This lens is intended to provide information that may help anyone entering college to keep the debt to a minimum or maybe avoid it altogether. Enjoy and thank you for visiting.

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Every Penny Counts
Every Penny Counts

Frugality: The Name Of The Game

Why "Being Cheap" Isn't A Bad Thing

Most have heard the jokes about how cheap college students are. We can easily conjure up images of a college student sitting around eating Ramen noodles for every meal just to say a few bucks. However, being frugal and saving money like this is actually a great way to get a head start on everyone else in terms of your personal financial life.

When trying to gather money for college, it is simply the case that saving money and using frugality is going to be something that is learned. Learning how to shop with an eye on value is one of the first things that might be of benefit to incoming college students. Many of these students will have never have had to shop for themselves at all. If they are going to be saving money, then they must first learn how much things cost and where to purchase them. Obviously, shopping in stores that carry products in bulk is probably a good decision. These are the places that are most likely to offer the deepest discounts in terms of the price of individual items. This expense is likely to be one of the larger ones that a student has, so this is a good place to start.

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If you think nobody cares if you're alive, try missing a couple of car payments.

-Earl Wilson

Straightforward Answers To Frugality Questions

Frugal Living For Dummies
Frugal Living For Dummies

From the classic "For Dummies" series, Frugality for Dummies highlights how to save money in ways that many of us have simply not thought of. Rather than search for ideas about frugality from one blog to the next, why not just get them all together in this great book?


Frugal Living Videos

My problem lies in reconciling my gross habits with my net income.

-Errol Flynn

Working And Budgeting

Making The Money, Saving The Money

Aside from just learning how to shop for themselves, college students need to learn to save money through budgeting. Budgeting is the easiest way for any person of any age to save money. It is important to establish a budget that is realistic in terms of saving money. It is helpful to figure out how much one is spending on different categories in order to create a budget that is appropriate and realistic. This can be done simply by pulling bank records from the last six months, and using that information to determine what spending habits you are likely to have going forward. At the same time, you can figure out which areas you can cut down on. This will save some much needed money for other college related expenses.

Working part time is most likely the most that college students are going to be able to do. It is also true that the work that they are qualified for will likely not pay well. Given these facts, saving money will be even more difficult. Some have taken to the strategy of putting aside a certain amount of money in cash into different categories of spending. This is sometimes known as the envelop strategy because of the fact that many use envelops that are labeled with the spending category to place their money in. It is a strategy that can help keep yourself honest so to speak.

Frugality may be seen as a dirty word by some people, but it is what separates those who end school with mountains of debt from those who end school with little or no debt. These are just a few of the beginning steps that should be taken by anyone interested in escaping school with little or no debt. There has yet to be some discovery of a better way to make things happen financial other than hard work and dedication.

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How To Work Effectively

Working as effectively as possible is important to saving money in college. People earn their money through a variety of different ways, but regardless of the method, focus is the key to working well. Some will argue that working harder won't earn them any more money because they work at an hourly wage. The truth though is that this increase in productivity can often lead to promotions and other bonuses. Bosses are trained to try to pick up on which workers are really giving their all. Do not believe for a moment that they will pass up the opportunity to give you some praise if you really give it your all. A few tips to working effectively can help put this process in motion.

Take A Minute To Breath Remember, you are human, and you need to manage your stress well. Getting all worked up can seem like a good way to deal with things, but you really just need to take a deep breath and focus before anything else. Saving money in college is a challenging task, but you aren't going to get anywhere if you are fully relaxed and focused before you start.

Finish One Task One of the most difficult parts of getting work done is just getting started. If you are able to sit down and just force yourself to finish one task, then the momentum is generally enough to carry you through to finish other tasks. This is not always the case of course, but it is often true that it works out this way.

Keep Your Eye On The Prize The temporary distractions of the day are just that, distractions. They are only there to get in the way of your success. Remaining focused on saving money in college and getting the promotions is fundamental to success.

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College Debt Facts You May Not Know

The scary truth about debt

1. As of 2008, 62% of students in public universities have student loans

2. The average debt for someone graduating a 4 year public university is $20,200

3. The average medical school student has nearly $100,000 in debt

4. There are 4.6 credit cards on average being held by each college student

5. The amount of money loaned to college students by private lenders has increased nearly 600% in the last decade

The Looming Student Loan Debt Crisis

How many years do we have until student loan debt really does damage to the economy? That is anyone's guess. What we do know is that this is something coming in the near future, and you had better be prepared.

Your Thoughts On Debt Poll

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How Much Debt Is Acceptable After 4 Years Of College?

See results

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    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Great money saving tips here! When I was going through college I found that renting online textbooks helped save me a bundle! I recently came across an awesome infographic that discusses how you can save money in college by using these online readers - - Hope this helps fellow readers!

    • profile image

      OnlineAutoInsuranceQuotes 6 years ago

      Saving money in college is huge. Start with an online auto insurance quote to reduce your automotive expenses.

    • privresearch profile image

      privresearch 6 years ago

      Excellent lens!

    • KingLobster LM profile image

      KingLobster LM 6 years ago

      @iijuan12: That's wonderful to hear. Graduating without debt is something that is almost unheard of these days. It does take hard work and dedication to balance work and school, but I and many others do it. Sometimes you just have to sit the social life aside for a minute to get things done. Fortunately for me, I have little social life. haha

    • KingLobster LM profile image

      KingLobster LM 6 years ago

      @themoneyways: Thank you sir. I really do try to take my finances seriously. I can thank my parents for teaching me (directly and indirectly) sound financial principles early on.

    • KingLobster LM profile image

      KingLobster LM 6 years ago

      @Serj: With the help of readers like yourself, we can make it happen. lol.

    • iijuan12 profile image

      iijuan12 6 years ago from Florida

      Great lens! I paid for college myself. I worked every day and lived like a poor person, but I graduated with no debt. One area that helped me was preparing while I was in high school. I worked every weekend, worked very hard at school to get good grades, and tried to lead a bunch of school clubs. The latter 2 helped me to get some great scholarships.

    • profile image

      Serj 6 years ago

      Very nice lens! I wish more college students would be able to see it! This lens needs to be at the top!

    • profile image

      themoneyways 6 years ago

      It's nice to see a college age student that is already wise beyond his years! It takes most people so long to start saving that its sometimes too late.

    • ItayaLightbourne profile image

      Itaya Lightbourne 6 years ago from Topeka, KS

      Being frugal and thrifty is my natural way of living. Great article and very insightful. :)

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      These are great ti[s for all of us throughout life, it is unfortunate that credit is so widely available to students because using plastic responsibility is a skill to be learned. I believe many will benefit from the sound financial counsel you are providing here.

    • spartakct profile image

      spartakct 6 years ago

      nice informative lens!

    • nigel7725 profile image

      nigel7725 6 years ago

      Very good advice!

    • KingLobster LM profile image

      KingLobster LM 6 years ago

      I sincerely appreciate your comments sir. It is nice to see the effort you put into looking this lens over and the comment that you left. I have been lucky enough to have a good father that instilled in me the principles of frugality for all of my life. I feel very blessed to know many of these things as second nature. However, I also realize that most out there may not know as much about how to save money and be responsible. I hope that my lens can help out those people in some way. Thank you again for the comment.

    • SciTechEditorDave profile image

      David Gardner 6 years ago from San Francisco Bay Area, California

      Nice lens! All college students (and student wannabes) should read this. I, too, went to college (many years ago when dinosaurs were walking on the earth -- and the campus). Lost a scholarship after the first year (they don't like it when you flunk Calculus... aargh!), however, I got a part-time job at the university's marine lab (maintaining aquariums and boats) as well as with the university's agricultural extension office (fringe benefits? was able to bring certain fish and veggies home for my own use after we got through measuring them for experiments -- they tasted great and were *cheap*). I also at *lots* of Ramen (Sapporo Ichiban!) and occasionally dumped a can of tuna in it or an egg for the necessary *protein*. Lots of good ideas here. Also while in college, I started writing freelance science articles for the local newspapers and magazines (no internet in those days). That income supplemented my regular work. And later, that writing work got me a job as a newspaper staff writer, and later, as a staff technical/scientific writer for a multitude of places such as NASA, the US Dept of Deense, a national laboratory, and with a bunch of high-tech firms. So my frugality and ability to turn my writing and photograhy talents were well worth the efforts. Congratulations on a Squidoo masterpiece (and thanks for visiting my lenses)!

    • KingLobster LM profile image

      KingLobster LM 6 years ago

      I couldn't agree more GrowWear. Thank you for the post

    • profile image

      GrowWear 6 years ago

      Being frugal is recommended even in times of a great economy. The less one buys, the less one allows themselves to "must-have," the less stress on the planet's resources.

    • Gypzeerose profile image

      Rose Jones 6 years ago

      Our family challenge - college can be unbelievably expensive.

    • KingLobster LM profile image

      KingLobster LM 6 years ago

      Oh thank you very much. This is the first comment I have received. It gives me the motivation to keep up the work. Thanks again.

    • profile image

      iLoveSquidooSoMuch 6 years ago

      Helpful and practical. :) Nice!


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