Is there a more difficult time to save money in life than during time in college? College students operate on a shoestring budget given the high cost of living and ballooning tuition fees and it can be very easy for anyone to fall into debt. At the same time, college is the best time to embrace a saving culture and lay a firm foundation for a secure financial future. If you are struggling to find ways to cut your expenditure and put away something, here are 10 opportunities that you have probably overlooked.
Budget Your Finances
The only way for anyone to keep tabs on what they are making versus what they are spending is through a budget. And you do not have to be making a lot to have one. If you do not have one, this is where you should start. Create a realistic one separating essentials from non-essentials and resolve to stick to it. You may be surprised at how much you can save from things you can do without.
Do Not Purchase New Books
The cost of college textbooks is outrageous and statistically, an average college student spends more $500 on new books every year. The good thing is that there a few ways in which you can work around this seemingly unavoidable expenditure and save. Before you buy a book, check whether you can borrow it from the library. Alternatively, see whether you can purchase old books at a significantly lower cost. Buy new books only as a last resort.
You Do Not Have To Buy a Car
It is very convenient to have your own car on campus. However, if you put into perspective the running cost, you may have to look for cheaper alternatives if you want to save. Think of how much you can save on gas, insurance, maintenance and parking. You can buy a bike, use public transport or hire a car when you want to travel. If you have to own a car, consider carpooling with your friends and split the cost of gas.
Opt To Live On Campus
You can save a lot of money by opting to live in a dorm room on campus than living in an expensive flat off campus. If you want to save, you should be prepared to make this step. You can further reduce you housing expenses by staying with someone.
Reduce Eating Out
There is nothing wrong with eating out every now and then but if you do it regularly, it can be a very expensive habit. The best way to save money on food is to buy a low-cost meal plan in campus. Additionally, instead of going to a fast food restaurant every time you want to buy a soft drink and some snacks, buy them in bulk from a grocery store and stock your fridge.
Maximize Use of Campus Facilities
If you would care to check, you will realize that there are plenty of services, amenities and facilities that you can access for free or at subsidized costs on campus such as gyms. You can save a fortune by making use of these services instead of spending signing up on the same services out of campus. Take time to find out more about these services and sign up to as many as possible. Only seek off campus services that are not available in school.
Buy a Coffee Maker
Many people do not think about it but you can save a lot by brewing your own coffee. If you spend $2 a day on coffee, that is $60 dollars a month and about $720 a year. You can get a good coffee machine for half your monthly expense that will serve you for years.
If you want to save, you should be prepared to do without a few little comforts and one of them should be cable TV. It should not be a big loss because there are plenty of online channels that you can access for free. Alternatively, you can subscribe to less costly services like Netflix.
Pay Your Bills on Time
It can be easy to forget paying your bills on time when you have a lot on your plate. Bills not paid on time can attract fines. Prioritize paying your bills on time so that you are not forced pay fines with the money that you could have saved.
Skip Expensive Trips
It may be difficult to do this but doing away with expensive trips during summer and spring break can be an excellent way to save. Consider taking up volunteering activities on holidays.
In short, it is a difficult time to save in college but it may be the difference between a secure financial future and a perilous one. Sometimes, all that you may be required to do is to budget and to cut out a few bad habits.