College Money-Saving Tips

While I’m out of town on business I have taken some guest articles from readers to post this week. This installment is from Complete Sports and provides some quick and easy tips to save money while in college.

Ah, college. Some say it’s the time of your life, and while I wouldn’t necessarily agree or disagree with that, there is one drawback about college: you’re usually on a pretty tight budget. As college becomes more and more expensive, and you have to take out more and more loans, there’s not too much extra cash to go around for you, which is why it becomes even more important to watch what you spend. Here are 7 tips that might help you save a little bit of money:

(1) Assess your goals  This one should start even before you get to college. For example, I have a friend who’s going to school for elementary education. Certainly a necessary and great field, but unfortunately it doesn’t pay all that much. That’s ok too. But the problem is, she’s going to private university that probably costs $20,000-$30,000 in tuition alone. On a teacher’s salary, that could take a long time to pay off. Maybe you really have your heart set on a school, but you have to be realistic. Not everyone can or should go to an Ivy League school. Most times State U. will do you just as much good for a lot less money.

(2) Save money on books  There are a variety of ways to do this. First, you can buy used books. Most times you’ll look to use the book for one semester and then sell it off, in which case why would you need a new book? Other times you can buy the electronic version of the same book. Other times you don’t even the book at all. So be smart about this one, because books can get very expensive.

(3) Carpool  Depending on if this is feasible for you (if you’re in driving distance of the school), this can help save money. For example, I go to school about 4 hours away from my hometown. When I go back home for vacations or school breaks, I could drive my own car but, you can save a lot of money by finding people to drive back with. It’s a little more inconvenient, but can cut the gas expenses in half or more.

(4) Live in the dorms for a while  Depending on what type of place you can find off-campus, this can be a good deal. If you’re living off-campus you have to worry about transportation (whereas dorms are right on campus) which costs money, utilities, repair costs, and everything else. With the dorms, there is less hassle and it’s usually a little cheaper too.

(5) Get a job Personally, I recommend an on-campus job (which is actually where I’m writing this from right now!) I’ve found on-campus jobs to be advantageous for a few reasons. One, since its on-campus it should be in close proximity to classes and everything else. Two, a lot of times (depending on the job) you can get homework and studying done (I write most of my papers at work). Three, it’s good for networking, and four, depending on what type of financial aid you receive, you might even get Federal Work Study, in which case you don’t have to pay taxes on what you earn. What could be better than that!

(6) Use school printers  This won’t mean the difference between affording college and not affording college, but it can save a few bucks. In many instances colleges already charge you a certain amount for printing in my case, it’s $8 per semester so you may as well use that up. But even if they don’t, I’ve found that there are a lot of places you can print things for free. It’s a little less convenient than having your own printer, but it can save you some money in terms of ink and paper.

(7) Don’t eat out so much  Maybe you think you need to go get fast food or eat at sit-down restaurants every night, but that’s eventually going to get pretty spendy. Cheap frozen pizzas, sandwiches, etc. are all things that I’ve found to be a little cheaper and still filling when eating. Plus, they’re probably even a little bit healthier than fast good.

So there are just a few tips to help save some money on college if you’re imaginative I’m sure you can think of a lot more ways, but this is just a few simple ways to make that budget stretch a little bit farther.

Courtesy of: Complete Sports

Author: Jeremy Vohwinkle

My name is Jeremy Vohwinkle, and I’ve spent a number of years working in the finance industry providing financial advice to regular investors and those participating in employer-sponsored retirement plans.

3 comments
Mary
Mary

To save money as a college student, I would recommend getting a prepaid cell phone. You can talk to family and friends back at home without having to worry to go over your minutes. After seeing my cell phone expenses my first year, I did some research and found TracFone. Fits everyone’s needs.

MBA Colleges
MBA Colleges

This is all good but even this does not seem like enough for me. i like “spend less that u earn” but i am currently a junor engineering student and keeping my job and studying is now working in my favor. i dont know how some students do it but i dont have the time to work when i am taking a full semester. i just cant keep up with my classes. Any advice. i am pretty much living on loans from my school that i really have to stretch.

Fred
Fred

I read similar money-saving tips at fool.com and www.wallstreetquest.com, but not just for college students