Like many college students, the time you join college is your first time to handle money on your own. Creating a budget and sticking to it may seem hard, particularly if funds are limited. Nevertheless, with some research and creativeness, you can do much more than just get by, even with little resources. Of course, it is necessary for every student to understand money organization and budgeting basics. Below are 15 cost saving hacks for college students, that will help you take worry out of your daily life.
1. Make a budget
Regardless of where your funding comes from, making a budget is very important. It will help you to plan for future expenses, reduce stress, and allow you to have a great financial habit in the future. Make a list of your monthly income sources such as parental allowances, wages, and savings. Then list down all your estimated monthly expenses. There are a good number of free and secure mobile apps to assist student their money, save and plan for emergencies. Such apps include Mint, Spendee, and Wally.
2. Stick to the budget
One of the easiest parts is creating a budget, but the hardest thing is sticking to it. Don't give up, though, if one week you find yourself stretched too thin. Make next week better. But remember, the budget isn't a permanent thing, and it is meant to be dynamic. Anytime you get a way to save or use more than you have specified in your budget, remember to update on your app.
3. Distinguish needs from wants
Although it might seem like an easier discrepancy, you might be surprised by your ability to vindicate some specific spending choices. Spending money on what you need only will help you save a lot and give you flexibility in your budget.
4. Apply for scholarships
Since college fee has escalated gradually, applying for any available scholarships and grants will help to recover some costs. Free funds opportunities may come from different sources such as private organizations, your college or government and they don't need to be repaid. Before applying for any grant or scholarship, be sure to understand the eligibility requirement and deadlines.
5. Get a job
To most students, working while in college can be important. Not only will it add you little money, but it also instills in you valuable life skills. Remember you can start your money management plan this early. The best thing about working as a student is that you are busy working to earn money and not out spending it.
6. Make use of your student card
Sometimes you may easily forget the much discount you can receive with the student card, but it is one of the prevalent saving benefits you have as a student. With the card, you can easily get discounts in certain stores, trains, and movie tickets – always ask for a student discount.
7. Opt to live in dorms
The cost of living at the college dormitory is way cheaper as compared to chartering an apartment. It may not be feasible to make a change mid-semester, so choose to stay in the dormitory if you know you want to lower your housing costs. In the long run, your wallet will thank you for that.
8. Use the college library
College libraries are amongst the under-used free tools in schools. They have videos, computers, internet, software and of course books and it's free for all students. Who doesn't love free?
9. Save on textbook costs
College textbooks are costly (that's probably not news to you), and in many cases, they are used just for few months if not weeks at most. Only buy if you have to and remember you can buy used ones or borrow. If you happen to buy some books, sell them once you are through and get back your money.
10. Cook your meals
Making your meal is one of the best money-saving hacks. You know how much eating out is expensive – almost three times as much as fixing your own meal. If you want to cut down costs significantly, making your meal is the best way to do it.
11. Brew your coffee
Buying coffee every day might cost you $3 per cup (for the bare minimum) which will end up costing you $600 in just one school year. Instead, purchase coffee beans and travel mug and be making your coffee and carrying it to college with you. It might also make those seasonal blends more affordable. (We're looking at you, pumpkin spice.)
12. Attend free college events
There are many events take place in colleges where you can take advantage of free entertainment and food. Be on the lookout of the associated student calendar to be aware of the coming events. You might be surprised how seeing a local band today might be a memory you never forget.
13. Purchase groceries at the cheapest store
When buying groceries, always compare the prices of the goods you will be buying. When you are conscious of the price tag, you will be able to save a lot. Also, purchase in bulk for items you use in greater quantities – or even share the expense with roommates. This may not apply to all items but any item that doesn't expire easily take advantage of it.
14. Use the public transport
Whenever possible use public transport as it allows for multitasking, is much cheaper, and no traffic. Plus, cars are a major money suck. And while hailing an Uber isn't super expensive, each ride adds up when you are trying to cut costs.
15. Choose cost-free social activities
Many people think every hobby has to cost money – not true. Take advantage of public spaces in your college community. You can have a walk in the park, do cycling, hiking, drawing, or sightseeing in your spare time and you will still stay entertained. You budget will stay in the black, too.