College Saving Tips for Incoming Freshman
By: Jill Harrison
From textbooks to tuition, college finances can become a heavy burden. Many college freshman wonder “How can you save money and still have fun?” Most college students are living on a budget of some sort. Being aware of what your money is going towards and finding ways to cut costs really is Insta-Easy. Check out the quick tips below to be savvy with your spending habits this school year!
Track your Spending
Set a budget and check it twice. Late night Taco Bell and small purchases can add up quickly. Free apps such as Mint can help you see where all of your money is going and maintain a better budget. Monitoring your bank account and seeing frivolous spending can help eliminate bad habits.
Compare Prices on Textbooks
Find out if it’s cheaper to rent or buy & sell books! Websites such as BigWords, Chegg, and eCampus can mean the difference between spending $1000 your first semester and $200. Start early and shop around to maximize your savings.
Cut Cable Costs
With all of your new college friends and studies, you won’t have time to watch TV all day long. Cable options can reach an excess of over $100 a month – so cutting cable is a great way to save your first semester. If you can’t give it up completely, settle for streaming services such as Netflix or Hulu that are much cheaper than cable options.
College Meal Plans
Are you going to eat breakfast in the café every day, or will you grab a snack on the way to class? A meal plan can be a good deal, however, do your research and see if it's beneficial. Figure out how many times you will realistically eat in the café and decide on the respective plan. Once you have a meal plan – stick to it! It’s already paid for, so don’t waste it.
In college towns, the majority of businesses offer student discounts. Your student ID grants you discounts on items ranging from food to computers. Even cell phone providers often have student discounts with a college email address. Check to see if your college offers a list of discounts in the area or online. Small amounts add up, so never be afraid to ask!
If you live close to campus, biking or walking to class is free and a great opportunity for exercise. Also, most colleges offer free or discounted rates on gym memberships. Save big and take advantage of free classes and improve your health.
Go to class
It’s easy to fall behind in college with distractions all around you. Going to class should be obvious, however so many students end up retaking classes due to missing classes. Why pay for the same thing twice?
Having college roommates is not only a great way to meet others, but you’ll end up saving money! Living alone can be great, however, on-campus students save over 20%-30% by having a roommate (or even more than one). If you're not living in the dorms, look for apartment complexes that offer all appliances such as a refrigerator, washer and dryer, and a microwave. Electricity, water and A/C bills can be costly, so do your best to conserve energy.