It's fun to get away from home, but not when the well runs dry. Save money with these tips for students and learn to make your money last.
- Step 1: Buy used textbooks. Be resourceful and grab a copy from the library if you know far enough ahead what class you'll be taking. Purchasing a brand new text book at the college bookstore can lead to spending far too much for your courses.
- Step 2: Stay in, join clubs, work out, and get constructively involved with campus activities rather than pursuing the night life with buddies who are burying themselves in debt or living off mom and dad. Trying to keep up with them will only put you behind.
- TIP: Look into digital or online versions of your textbooks, which may be cheaper, as well as easier to carry.
- Step 3: Apply for financial aid and keep up good grades to make sure you qualify. Research your school for scholarships and make saving money a little easier. You want to graduate from college with a diploma -- not overwhelming debt.
- FACT: As of 2010, each year, college students spend $5.5 billion on alcohol.
- TIP: Be aware of identity theft risks and don't give out your social security number or your credit card info carelessly.
- Step 4: Stow and lock up valuables so you don't have to replace expensive property that can walk out of a dorm room or shared apartment after a party. If you can do without a computer, use the college's free ones or a friend's laptop in a pinch.
- TIP: If things get out of hand, check out the your credit report at the end of the month to face the true record of your frivolous purchases.
- Step 5: Choose a credit card with the lowest rates and no annual fees. Be disciplined and use it only for emergencies. Pay it off early and in full within 30 days.
- Step 6: Save your spare change for emergencies like food when the dorm fare for students is too gruesome.
- Step 7: Drink and eat, on rare occasions when you go out, at places where specials are advertised. Beer pitcher specials, one dollar drinks, happy hours, and food discount nights cut your costs without ruining your social life.
- Step 8: Make your own coffee and eat lots of noodles, oatmeal, and peanut butter if you're living in an apartment off campus. You're going for fast, filling, and affordable.
- Step 9: Start a free checking and savings account or join a credit union. Keep track of expenditures to avoid overdraft fees, and save a little money in a rainy day fund. Avoid ATMs other than your bank's, which typically double charge customers at the site and at the bank account itself.