College prepares you for the real world, and it is the best time to save money and start planning for financial security. While there’s many reasons you won’t have a lot of money in college, that doesn’t mean you have to go into debt. There are several effective strategies that can help you save money while enjoying your college years.
Make a Strict Budget
While in college, it is helpful to establish an efficient budget and make efforts to only spend money when it is necessary. To sustain a good financial budget, you need to be aware of how much money you spend daily and keep an accounting of what you purchase. Your budget should be based upon how much money you have to allocate for spending for each year.
Set a Monthly Spending Goal
Every month, set a monthly spending goal that allows you to provide for your necessities and have a little extra time for leisure activities. When you set the maximum amount that you will spend each month, do not try to break-even, but put extra money each month in a savings account for unexpected events that may occur.
Get a Job on Campus
If you need a part-time job with the flexibility that allows you to set a work schedule around your classes, most colleges and universities offer a web-based employment board for students. It’s a great way to gain work experience as well as earn extra money in college. If you have been awarded work study with your financial aid package, you can apply for on-campus jobs with the online job board. There are also additional jobs that any student can apply for. Some examples of on-campus jobs are teaching assistants, library assistant, research assistant and sales associate jobs at campus stores.
Get a Used Car
Having a reliable car may be a necessity, especially if you reside off-campus or your on-campus dormitory is not located near stores like, laundry facilities, grocery stores and other retail venues. Depending on where your school is located, a vehicle may be the only method of transportation for residents, especially in small, rural towns. If you’re interested in purchasing a car to use during college, consider getting a used car that gets great gas mileage. If you can purchase a used car, it will help you minimize your monthly debt. While in college, a car note can be very expensive for someone who does not have a full-time job.
Shop Sales at Grocery Stores
Shopping for sales at grocery stores can significantly lower the total amount of your bill. Before you go to the grocery store, it is beneficial to make an exact list of only the items that you need. Try not to deviate from the items on the list as much as possible. Also, consider shopping for items that are not perishable, such as canned goods. You can have a stock of non-perishable food and drink items. It is also helpful to use printable coupons and newspaper coupons.
Use Your Student ID Card for Discounts
Many stores offer discounts for students. These discounts can also help you maintain your budget and save money. Several well-known venues that give student discounts to college students are AMC Theaters, Dominos Pizza, Burger King, Subway, Sam’s Club and Pizza Hut. The student discounts may range from 5% to 20% lower than the regular prices.
If you can maintain a good budget in college, you’ll have good spending habits after graduation. Once you graduate from college, an effective financial budget can go a long way. It can help you maintain good credit and long-term financial stability.