Going to college used to be a rite of passage for career-orientated Americans, but that dream has become more and more difficult for those in the lower and even middle classes.
There was once a time when a young college student could work a part-time job to support themselves and pay for their tuition. Sure, that life was not a luxurious one, but it was a doable one.
However these days, the price of tuition has skyrocketed, leaving college students scrambling to cut financial corners wherever they can. Here are 4 quick savings tips for college students with money on their mind.
Bring The Fun To Your Place
- Stay in more. You don’t have to give up going out completely – after all – it is part of the whole college experience. But staying in will help to significantly reduce your entertainment expenses. For most college students this tip will be the most painful to put into effect, but also the one that makes the most impact on their bank statement.
- Stay out of bars. Going out with friends to the bar to party every weekend can get pretty expensive. Sure, that $4 beer (and that’s a cheap beer!) doesn’t seem like much, but add up all the beers over time and you’ve got yourself quite a large chunk of money spent on overpriced booze.
- Attend or host house parties. Instead of hitting the bars, have your friends come over for a house party. Have beer pong, some poker and munch on chips and nuts. Still fun, but way less expensive.
- Netflix. If you have a significant other you choose to spend your spare time with, you don’t have to go to expensive restaurants or to the movies to have fun. Just Netflix and chill, it’ll be much cheaper.
Look Into Textbook Alternatives
- Buy an older edition.The whole textbook industry is a racket, most people know that. Textbook companies and editors are exploiting the student, and it is unfair. So before you sink $200 into that latest-edition textbook, check at the library to see what differences, if any, are between it and an older edition. If the differences are minor, consider buying that older edition and saving tons of money.
- Get a digital version. You should also check to see if there are any digital versions of the textbook, which oftentimes are significantly cheaper. Another option, admittedly more of a gamble, is to wait until a few weeks into class to see if the book is even used enough to be worth the expense.
- Share the book. If your roommate has the same class, share your textbook and split the cost. Alternatively you can borrow the book from a classmate then scan the entire book. You can offer them some money for their trouble.
- Go to the library. If you’re really in a bind you can go to the library, find your textbook(s) and take pictures with your phone of the pages you need.
Learn To Cook
Most college students are fresh out of their parents’ house and have not yet learned to cook. This means they rely on a steady diet of junk food and take-out. The thing is, these foods tend be rather expensive.
It is much easier and much cheaper to cook healthy, affordable meals at home than it is to find them out. Spend some time learning basic recipes to make your own meals.
Restaurants have to pay for not only the ingredients, but for employees’ hourly wages and for rent. You just have to pay for the ingredients.
Work While School Is Out
It can be really tempting to lay around during breaks and just enjoy the time off, but if you’re tight on funds this is not really an option. Take advantage of school breaks to pick up odd jobs and bring in extra income.
After college you won’t have the luxury of long breaks, so you might as well get used to that grind now. If you want to have a nice financial cushion throughout the school year you need to milk those breaks for all they’re worth.
Consider bunching your classes into 3 consecutive days, allowing you to work the other days. Or you can have your classes early in the morning and then report for your job later in the day.