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6 Money-Saving Tips for College Students
The definition of “college student” should be “one who is continually broke and stressed out.” With most of their money going toward tuition and books, there’s little left for other necessities, much less anything recreational. Here are six tips that will help college students save money.
To help you (or the college student in your life) get more bang for your buck, try the money-saving tips below.
1. Prioritize your expenses. Make a list of the must-haves then work your way down to your wants. Utilities are usually included in off-campus apartments but consider whether you really need to have cable. If you have a roommate, one of you can pay for cable, another can pay for another luxury service. Or trade services: you mow the lawn for your landlord in exchange for a reduced rent.
2. Get creative with jobs. Look beyond flipping burgers. Can you tutor others in your subject major? Edit or proofread term papers? One enterprising student I know sells his plasma to the American Red Cross. Not to be confused with selling blood, he’s able to sell his plasma twice a week with no adverse health consequences.
3. Learn to cook. If you live off campus, eating at home saves you money and is healthier for you. You’ll be able to stretch your food dollars by using leftovers in creative ways plus you’ll be avoiding the mega-calories in fast food. You might even consider going vegetarian to save on the cost of meat. If that’s too extreme for you, try serving a meatless meal two or three times a week.
4. Rethink buying new textbooks. Students rarely get the full value of their books when they sell them back to the college at the end of the semester. Some schools rent their textbooks. If yours doesn’t, consider these possibilities: Buy them used – you can always buy a new copy of those you want to keep for your profession. Buy them from students who have finished the classes you’re signed up for. Borrow them from someone else. Buy them online at one of the companies that sell textbooks at a discount such as this one.
5. Leave the driving to them. Use mass transit - it will save wear and tear on your car and frees you up to nap or do some last minute studying. Most bus lines offer student discounts. Some may even sponsor their own bus to take students around campus and to key locations around town for free.
6. Don’t pay full price to furnish your place. Scout out the dollar stores, thrift stores and yard sales. Beg, borrow and “steal” from family and friends. Couches, beds and kitchenware only need to last you several years. When you start earning a paycheck, then you can invest in quality pieces.
With these six money-saving tips, college students can enjoy some of the more fun experiences of their college days without being too stressed out about money.