Much of the advice about saving money for college is focused on how to save enough money to get there – but what about saving money after you arrive? Most students can’t afford to flash the cash, but there are tons of ways to watch your bank balance without having to stay home with the lights off every night.
Here are a few ideas.
While it might be tempting (and make you look cool) to have all new textbooks, stationery, clothes and so on, all that new gear can run to hundreds, or even thousands, of dollars in money you simply don’t need to spend.
There are plenty of places to buy all of this stuff second hand, saving yourself money and upping your recycling cred.
You can buy used textbooks pretty easily online, or even rent them from bookstores if you get stuck.
Thrift stores are packed with great value second-hand clothes that you can get for just a few dollars and still look great – plus the process of hunting for them is really fun! You can even get a great laptop second-hand if you're lucky.
If you Must buy New, buy Discount
If there’s anything you can’t get second-hand, hold off on getting it until after you have your student ID. A lot of stores offer great discounts for students, so once you have that card safely in hand you can get a lot more stuff for the same amount of money. You can get great discounts in restaurants and coffee shops too!
Leave the Car at Home
If you are living on a college campus, in a smaller town or a place with great public transport and ride-sharing services, leave the car at your parents’ house. You’ll be able to get a great deal on a transport pass (with that all-important student ID) and parking, insurance and gas can all get expensive.
Especially if all your new college friends are saving money by not driving and you end up giving them rides everywhere...
You could also pick up a second-hand bike and ride everywhere – saving money and getting fit into the bargain!
Save your Pennies
It might sound crazy to suggest that students, who generally have limited means, should be thinking about saving while in college but we don’t mean huge amounts – just put your small change in a jar at the end of every week, or put the few dollars you have left at the end of a month into one of those savings apps.
You’d be surprised how fast you get enough together for a night out, new shoes or whatever else you’d like to treat yourself with.
Get Stuff for Free
Do your research and look into what amenities your school offers for free – whether that’s laundry, gym equipment or club nights. Don’t spend money on things that you can get for free just because the campus version isn’t as ‘cool’ – you’ll be surprised! Plus, getting involved with free campus activities is a great way to make new friends and meet people.