Thanks to the skyrocketing cost of tuition, the vast majority of college students now find themselves fairly deep in debt by the time they finally earn their degree.
Unfortunately, the fact that credit card companies tend to prey on young college students combined with a general lack of knowledge about budgeting and financial planning means that many students also end up with huge credit card bills.
After all, tuition is only one of the many expenses a student will encounter.
Even if you already have a decent chunk of money to put towards your education due to scholarships, savings or a 529 plan, it is still essential that you focus on trying to limit your costs. With this in mind, here are three tips that should help you to keep college costs lower to hopefully ensure your money lasts all the way through.
Learn to Properly Budget Your Monthly Expenses
Probably the best and most useful thing you can do for yourself as a student is to quickly learn how to budget your money to ensure you can cover all of your necessary expenses, such as food, housing, phone bill, entertainment, etc. First and foremost, this means determining what expenses are actually necessary. For instance, it might not make sense to pay a huge amount per month for internet in your house or apartment if you live close to campus since you can always take advantage of your college’s network quite easily.
As well, there is nothing wrong with treating yourself to a nice meal occasionally or enjoying a wild night out with your friends. Nonetheless, it is essential that you make a budget so you can figure out exactly how much you can spend on these things each month without putting yourself in debt.
Stick to Used/Secondhand as Much as Possible
Along with food, housing and the various other monthly expenses, you’re also guaranteed to encounter other larger expenses now and then. For instance, you should plan on spending a few hundred dollars or more on books every semester, and you’ll obviously need to occasionally by other essentials like shoes, clothes and possibly furniture.
Still, you can potentially save yourself from serious cash if you choose to buy used books, furniture and other items whenever possible. Of course, you probably won’t want or be able to buy absolutely everything used, but you should at least consider choosing a less expensive option whenever you do choose to buy new.
Minimize the Space You Need with Self-Storage
If you’re going to college in a major metropolitan area, chances are that housing is going to be one of your biggest expenses. In this sense, one of the best things you can do to lower these costs is to go with a small place. It’s important to consider how much space you really need. After all, most college students don’t spend all that much time at home, and really, the time you do spend at home should be used for studying.
The only problem is that a small studio or even a room in a house or apartment can feel extremely cluttered and chaotic if you have a lot of things. In this case, you could consider renting a self-storage unit for some of the items you don’t absolutely need. Although you’ll obviously have to pay for the storage unit, this cost will typically be quite minimal compared to what you’ll be able to save by renting a smaller place.
No matter where you’re getting your money for school, it’s vital that you do whatever you can so you don’t end up blowing through it immediately. The truth is that far too many students end up having to drop out because they ran out of money. Still, you can easily avoid joining their numbers with just a bit of planning, budgeting and common sense.
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Last update on 2018-10-18 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API