Just because you are a college student, it doesn’t mean that you have to be the epitome of the starving college student. You may be looking around at your friends and classmates, and wondering how they can afford to wear nice clothing or drive decent vehicles. You may even be jealous, because you think they probably have wealthy parents who are footing the bills for everything. What you may not realize is that many of these students do not have wealthy parents. What they do have is the ability to handle their money well, so when they do want something extra, they can afford it. Here are seven tips that will help you to be in that same position, and you won’t be broke throughout your college career.
- Save Money on Textbooks – One of your biggest expenses as a student is your textbooks. Just one brand new book can cost $300 or more. This is absolutely ridiculous! There are many ways that you can get the books you need without having to spend this kind of money. Forget about the campus bookstore and full prices. Instead, look for used books from other students, at used bookstores, and online. You may also want to invest in a Kindle or an iPad, so you can download cheaper versions of the books you need.
- Think about what You Really Need – Every time you want to buy something for yourself, ask if you really need it. Chances are, you don’t. If it isn’t a must-have, don’t buy it right away. Write it down on a piece of paper and put it on your wall. Look at it every day for a week, and if at the end of the week you still really want it, then go ahead and buy it. But, by then you will probably realize that you don’t really need it.
- Avoid Debt that isn’t School-Related – Don’t be tempted to use your credit card to make impulse purchases that aren’t related to your education. You really don’t need a new game console, and you don’t need to end up with credit card debt. In fact, avoid using your credit card for anything, unless you need it for school.
- Track Your Spending – Track every penny you spend. Write it down in a notebook, or Quicken if you have it. Keeping records will let you see your spending patterns, and ensure that you have enough money in the bank so you don’t end up overdrawn.
- Start Investing – Find a cheap broker, and start making investments. This is a great way to get your feet wet in the world of investing, and you don’t have to spend a lot of money. Check out ShareBuilder, a great online investing service. You can get stocks right now for $6.95 per online trade. Make investments on a schedule of your choice for as low as $3.95 per investment. Don’t worry about the details right now. Just learn how to get into the habit of investing, and you will be pleased that you did when you see the return in a few years.
- Book Cheap Flights – If you are going to go away for spring break, make sure that you do it in the most economical way possible. Check out these tips on how to find cheap flights online.
- Practical, not Flashy Transportation – If you are attending a college in a city, you don’t really need to worry about transportation, because there are so many options via public transportation. If you live outside of the city, you do need transportation, but that doesn’t mean you need an expensive vehicle. If you can find someone to carpool with, you don’t need a vehicle at all. If not, look for a used vehicle that is reliable, and reasonably priced.
Jane Hurst has been working in education for over 5 years as a teacher. She loves sharing her knowledge with students, is fascinated about edtech and loves reading, a lot.