How Living Like a College Student Can Get You Through Tough Times

College students around the nation know the importance of living within their means.  Often given a tight budget to work with, young men and women must consciously account for every cost or sacrifice the time that could be spent studying working a full or part-time job. Think back to your college days. How did you save money and get by on such a limited budget? As long as you weren’t living off of credit cards you probably make sure to stretch every penny as far as possible without even realizing how frugal you were being.

Although it may have been years since you doctored up a package of ramen noodles, there are lessons to be learned from living on a student budget.

Here is some food for thought:

  • College students are creative. They make use of every resource made available to them.  From furnishing their apartment through Freecycle to trading textbooks with peers, students know how to stretch a dollar.  Borrow, barter, and buy secondhand before laying down a stack of cash for a new piece of equipment or home furnishing.
  • College students aren’t afraid to ask for discounts. Why pay full price when there are coupons and specials available everywhere?  Summon up the courage to ask for discounts wherever you go and watch your change pile up quickly.  You would be surprised to learn the number of establishments that have some kind of offer.
  • College students know all the places to go for free or cheap entertainment. From outdoor parks to free concerts and advanced movie screenings, students know where to go and when.  Scout out your own sources of entertainment by scouring local magazines and newspapers and joining clubs and organizations in your community.
  • College students often know that the reward is greater than the sacrifice. They give up things now so they can have a better life in the future.  In their pursuit for higher education, they learn a lot about financial security and the type of lifestyle that comes along with it. Know what goals you are trying to achieve and then adjust your spending to reach them.
  • College students don’t mind lending a helping hand to one another. Campus groups and organizations constantly hold events where food is the star of the show.  Barbecues and cookouts are commonplace and help hungry students survive with little income.  Join forces with the folks in your community and hold weekly or monthly cookouts and potlucks.  Not only will these events help you get to know your neighbors better, they will help you lower your food budget, too.

The economy has yet to bounce back fully.  Financial disaster lurks around every corner for many families today.  Reflecting upon your college years and the lessons that you learned can help you weather difficult financial times.  By keeping an open mind and positive outlook on the challenges that face you, the likelihood of you and your family surviving a catastrophic event is significant . Work hard, save money where you can, and if you live like nobody else wants to today you will be living like nobody else can tomorrow.

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Filed Under: Frugal Living

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About the Author: Jeremy Vohwinkle is a Chartered Retirement Planning Counselor® and spent a few years working as a financial planner. Today, he helps people make the most of their money by writing about personal finance here and elsewhere on the web. Jeremy is also Coach at Adaptu and a regular contributor for other publications such as Intuit, and American Express. Be sure to follow Jeremy on Twitter or Google+.

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