College can be many things: scary, exhilarating, hectic, and challenging, but one thing that it is definitely not is cheap! As a college student you quickly learn about the benefits of being frugal because there is absolutely no way you can live lavishly. The first thing you should focus on is, of course, your education but another important fact is the concept of getting money. Finding a job on campus is very crucial and highly important if you’re thinking of surviving on peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and water. Going out to eat, going out to clubs or just going to the movies at all cost money.
Mom and Dad are not by your side to help you with that all the time, so finding a job is going to be very helpful. Aside from college tuition and classes comes the burden of paying for books. A good tip that one should take with them while away at college is to find out the prices of book ahead of time so that you can look online and compare prices. Buying books at chegg.com, amazon.com, or ebay.com is a great way to save money, while attending college. Books can range from prices as low as $5 dollars ranging all the way to $200 dollars. Or, if you’re not keen on building up a collegiate bookshelf, check out the books for free from your school or local libraries.
You’ve heard about the freshman 15 — if not it just means that campus food is so good that you often eat more there than at home. Food is important to a college student because unlike home, college doesn’t have refrigerators that automatically have food in it. You have to go and buy it or eat what’s offered to you on campus. There is a lot of rage about campus foods and eating healthy; these issues are often determined by food costs and mass servings by staff. Need to cut back on food? If your dining hall has an all-you-can-eat buffet, make extra meals at lunch. Put together a sandwich and pack it to go in small tupperware, cups, or sandwich bags. That way you have something healthy to eat during those all-nighters.
It is important to know how to spend your money wisely as well as using campus resources to save money as well. If your campus is as lively as mine then there are plenty opportunities to get free food such as on common hours Tuesdays and Thursdays. There’s always food there. Go out to events like Meet the Greeks, study breaks, or a BBQ that a club is throwing outside in the student center and stack up on food so that you won’t have to order in all the time and waste money; this is key. College is anything but cheap and the more money you can save by using the resources around you, the more you’ll benefit in the long run.
Also, when purchasing items online or in store, don’t be afraid to flash your beautiful college ID and ask around for help about student specials that give discounts on college necessities. Often times, many shops near campus have hidden deals for students (they won’t tell you upfront so they can make more money!). Always ask, especially in the case of airlines which may offer discounted rates for students.
If you need extra cash on the fly, check out the Psychology department’s bulletin board. Many psych students have to do engage in research work and conduct studies in order to pass certain classes or submit papers. People who participate in psych studies are usually compensated, anywhere from a couple of bucks to $500+ dollars for complex or body invasive research. If you have the time, this is a great way to pile up your pretty pennies.
Lastly make sure to pay yourself with everything that you do. Whether you are a work-study student or receiving grants, make sure to stash away some change for a rainy day. Building up your savings while you are in college is extremely important for those first year expenses that you will face in your post-grad life. If you can, save at least 20 percent of each paycheck (or more if you can). Keep your budget tight and don’t go crazy shopping at your local clothing malls. College is more about getting the grade rather than getting your “Mrs.” degree, so stay focused on the goal and keep your pockets full while you do it.