With that in mind, if you’ll be heading off to college this year, take a few good money-savings tips with you so you don’t accidentally major in financial hardship.
Separate Your “Needs” From Your “Wants”
Determine early on the things you need and the things you simply want. As you’re buying school supplies, dorm furniture, groceries and the like, ask yourself if there’s a less expensive alternative that’s of equal or better quality than a more expensive alternative you’re considering. Pausing and taking a moment to reflect can help you avoid buyer’s remorse, and it’s especially useful for items you might not be able to return or want to return months or years after the return window has closed.
Create a Budget and Stick to It
While you’re familiarizing yourself with the campus, getting to know your roommates and studying for classes, be sure you make time for creating a budget so you can easily keep track of your spending and know where every penny is going. Specifically, budget for monthly bills, groceries, eating out, entertainment and spending. Seeing the big picture of where you spend money is going allows you to see where and when you might be spending more than necessary.
Start a Savings Account
Because you won’t always have the financial safety net of your parents to fall back on, it’s a good idea to start a savings account ASAP once you start college. If possible, you’ll want to opt for a high-interest account. Put back money when you can, and try to make it a habit so it’s not so hard to contribute to your account as you continue to age. Even if you don’t have anything you’re saving for, such as a car or a new laptop, it’s always great to have an umbrella fund for those unexpected emergencies.
Save on Insurance When the Opportunity Presents Itself
Soon, you’ll reach an age when you can’t remain listed on your parents’ insurance. Before that happens, it’s a good idea to start doing research on getting your own policies and getting them for as low as possible while still receiving the coverage you need. Sites like carinsurnacecheap.net are great places to start. It’s a good idea to bundle your insurance policies with the same provider and be sure to ask about any discounts for which you might qualify. Starting out now is sure to make things easier when it’s time for you to get your own coverage, which can go a long way in saving time, money and frustration.
Once You’ve Gone to Class, Then You’ll Want to Buy the Textbook(s)
Textbooks are often one of the biggest expenses for college students, which means you’ll want to look for any way possible to save as much as possible. For instance, it’s better that you wait to buy a textbook until after you first day of class. This is because you might change your mind about taking the class after you meet the professor. There’s also a chance you might not even need the textbook you spent hundreds of dollars on, and you might get a fraction of the original cost should you decide to return it. Simply waiting can save you much more than just money.
Use the Library for More Than Just Studying
Rather than spend money on cable or DVDs, rent TV shows and movies at your school’s library instead. Even if you have Netflix, your library might have most of the items on your queue, and even some selections that aren’t available on Netflix. What’s more is not having Netflix can free up some money each month, which can go towards gas, an extra meal, a movie ticket or your savings account.
And speaking of the library, check there to see if you can check out any textbooks you need for class. Remember that textbooks also come in electronic format, which your library might have for free. Always explore alternative options before purchasing a regular textbook; just make sure that the alternative is suitable with your professor before pulling the trigger.
College students have enough to deal with without incurring unnecessary financial strife. A few good tips and a bit of foresight can make your college experience more educational than you ever imagined.
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