Best Ways of Saving Money at a University

13
April

When you are at a university, the importance of saving some money is at an all-time high. Money is tight for a lot of students, and they need to come up with some ways to keep the costs down in order to survive. The good news is that things will get a lot better when you get out of college and start earning money, but for now you need to get resourceful. If you are truly intent on doing it, then you can knock out some costs and cut some corners while you are taking classes. The following items are good tips on how to make that happen.

Learning to budget
Before you can start cutting corners, you need to learn to budget out your expenses each month. Even if it is just a rough budget and you don’t follow it closely, having a plan for where your money is heading is a good idea for all students. This is also a good way to learn for the future, as budgeting will become very important as you get your hands on more money and you have more financial responsibility. With your budget, be sure to get realistic with yourself, so that you are not overshooting things in the beginning.

The grocery store is your friend
Too many people in college feel the need to go out for food all of the time. The problem with this is that they aren’t even going out to good restaurants, for the most part. They are spending $5-$10 per trip on fast food, which can really kill a small college budget. If you have a meal plan, use it as much as possible. If you are off campus and don’t have a meal plan, then make the grocery store your friend. You can usually buy a week’s worth of food for what you might have spent on three or four trips to the fast food shop. Buy the essentials like bread and purchase some low cost meats. If you have a grill, stove, or oven, look up some recipes and learn to cook some quick things. If you are limited to a microwave, then you should find some tasty, cheap foods that are microwaveable.

Leave the debt cards at home when you head out on the town
Most students will learn the hard way that you just cannot take your debt card out to the bars. If you are new on the bar scene, then it can be difficult to understand this for the first few times. All too often, students head downtown and they start putting things on their tab. They buy drinks for their favorite girl, they buy a round of shots for their friends, and they just spend too much. When the damage is totaled up at the end, you will be in a world of hurt from a budget perspective. Much of the problem has to do with human nature. It is much easier to spend money when you are just telling someone to put it on the tab. Pulling out cash makes it more real, and thus much harder.

The better approach is to take a set amount of cash with you. This will also allow you to control your drinking, which is another positive for those who are new to the college bar scene.

Buying books online
Looking at the logistical side of things, you are going to need to buy books each semester. Every school has a couple of bookstores, with some of them being more affordable than others. Almost across the board, you will pay more for books at these stores than you will online. If you can find your books through a site like Amazon or Half.com, then go ahead and purchase them this way. For the average student, books will amount to a cost of more than $3,000 over a college career. If you can save only 33% on them, you are looking at a lot of savings when all is said and done.

At college, you just have to be smart and you have to figure out that every dollar is important. With the new found freedom that you will have, this can be tough, but it’s not impossible.

This post was written by

jason – who has written posts on Budget Clowns.
Father of three and married to a lovely women. Always looking for ways to save money, and invest it properly for my children's future.

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