Adjusting to college life can be an exciting yet eye-opening experience for students, especially in terms of finances. Transitioning from living at home in high school to living on your own on campus requires a careful eye on budgeting, even if you have access to mom and dad's credit card. By following these money management tips for students, you can stay on top of your finances and keep your college focus dedicated to what matters: your education rather than debt.
Invest In A Coffeemaker
Coffee can be student's best friend in college, but it can also be the most expensive. With the average coffee shop cup of Joe costing around $3 and more frilly drinks ranging upwards of $5 each, just one coffee-filled drink a day can cost between $90 and $150 a month. By investing in a coffeemaker, you can save up to $1,000 a year and have the added convenience of having coffee when you need it which can be especially useful during those 2 a.m. study sessions! If you want to make it even more affordable, go in on the cost of a quality coffee maker with roommates—you’ll have a longer lasting model and pay less to have it.
Find Cheap College Textbooks
Full-time students spend an average of $655 on required course materials each school year according to the National Association of College Stores. While this price is accepted by many students as an essential cost, you can cut the amount you spend on required reading by renting books with online companies such as Chegg, exploring the on-campus library for extra copies, or seeing if your professor has extra copies to lend out to students. Amazon.com has some excellent resources for used texts, but buyer beware: comparing prices first is essential to making sure you get the best deal. Look for free shipping too—heavy books should ship for free, and that means savings for you.
Utilize Student Discounts
College student identification cards often come with a variety of perks, so utilize them to your advantage! With many clothing stores offering 10% discounts, grocery stores that can offer 5% back and a variety of others, the savings truly add up over the course of an academic year. There's no need to pay more for items than you have to, so make sure you get all discounts that are offered, especially when traveling on student holidays, as it's very common for airlines or buses to offer discounts for students.
While students and their parents are aware of the upfront costs of college, by utilizing discounts and cutting back on luxury items you can be cognizant with hidden costs as well. Through keeping a record of all expenditures, students will have more accountability on their spending habits, and have a better understanding of how these money management tips for students can be beneficial to their budgeting during their freshman year of college.
It’s important to remember there are allies to all kinds of on and off-campus groups, including budgeting workshops for students and parents, as well as organized events to raise money for books and more. For students who still feel they need more financial advise, college guidance counselors are a wealth of information on budgeting, saving, grants, and more.