The life of a student is not an easy one! Between the long hours of study and mountains of homework, there’s usually very little time for rest and recreation. If you don’t want to try to fit a part-time job into the mix, that means you’re operating on a VERY tight budget. For students whose finances don’t stretch far enough, here are some money saving tips to help you out:
Be smart with your textbooks – You know those textbooks from last semester that you’re no longer using? Sell them back to the campus bookstore, or offer them on one of the many websites that allow you to sell used textbooks. When it comes to getting the textbooks you need for the next semester, always buy used. Or, considering renting textbooks–the overall cost is significantly lower than buying brand new.
Limit your vices – You can only spend so much money on “frills”. If you’re going to drink, don’t smoke. If you’re going to play video games, prepare to skip outings to the cinema. The “vices” (smoking and drinking) can be very pricey, so limit them as much as possible.
Shop on a full stomach – If you go grocery shopping while hungry, you’re going to end up spending a lot more on groceries than you would if you shopped while full. This is because your stomach is telling your brain you need more than you actually do. Make sure to have a big meal before you hit the grocery store, and you’ll spend far less on your weekly shopping.
Pay bills on time – Unless it’s absolutely unavoidable, pay your bills punctually. Prompt payment won’t just mean that you can avoid late fees, but you may even be able to get benefits and bonuses for paying on time or early.
Live with others – On-campus living may not be the best option if you’re trying to pinch pennies. You may want to consider off-campus housing, sharing an apartment with a roommate or renting a room in someone else’s house. The less you have to pay in room and board, the more you’ll have to spend on other important things.
Pay for what you eat – Most colleges have a variety of meal plans available to their students, ranging in prices according to the amount of food consumed. If you’re the kind of person who only eats two meals per day, why pay for three? Find out what meal plans are available, and study them carefully to determine which will give you the best “bang for your buck”.
Always use your student discount – Whenever you go out, have your student ID card handy. A surprising number of shops, restaurants, and entertainment venues will give you a lower rate because you are a student. The student discount can save you A LOT of money!
Hit up the library – Instead of buying the books you need for college, spend more time at the library. You’ll be able to find most of the books there for free, and you will find that the library is a quiet, comfortable place to get your homework and research done. Definitely better than trying to study in a noisy dorm.
Apply for scholarships – There are MANY scholarships available in your city and state, so do research to find out any and all scholarships for which you are eligible. Apply to as many as you can. Even if you don’t get them all, even one or two can make a huge difference in the quality of your life as a student.