BY MIKKI MILLS
If you’re a college student, you might think that saving money during those years is near impossible – college is designed to make you throw all your money away, right? If you do it right, and do it smart, you can actually save a lot of your money in big ways. How? Read these six tips to learn how to save money during the best years of your life.
- Go to a cheaper school
This tip may not be something that many students want to hear. As a high school student, you may have had your heart set on a selective private university with the pristine quad and the active Greek life.
However, you will end up saving a ton of money by going to your state university. Public colleges and universities cost a lot less than their private counterparts. Plus, when you go to your state university, you can pay in-state tuition, which is significantly less expensive. Your state college or university will save you from having to pay tens of thousands of dollars back in student loan debt.
- Consider attending a community college
If the cost of college stresses you out, consider attending your local community college for two years before transferring to a four-year school. If you plan on attending a four-year institution, you can still use your local community college to gain credits towards graduation. When you come home for the summer, see if you can take classes at the two-year school and take the credits and put them towards your four-year degree. Many colleges and universities in the United States allow their students this option.
- Work and go to school
The idea of taking 4-5 classes, doing an internship, and doing well in all of them is enough to stress the average college student out. On top of that, you have to worry about getting cheap car insurance, clothing yourself, and eating something other than Ramen noodles once in a while.
By holding down a part-time job, you can take care of most, if not all, of your expenses without depending on Mom and Dad. Think of holding down a job now as practice for adulthood.
- Try not to eat out at restaurants a lot
We all know the sad saga of eating at the college dining hall night after night after night. While no one will begrudge you a pizza from the local parlor once in a while, don’t make eating out while you’re in college a habit. For one thing, you have a meal plan so you might as well use it while you have it. Secondly, those meat lover pizzas will add up over time. Make a budget, include a category for dining out, and stick to it.
- Never buy your textbooks new
Any experienced college student will find this tip to be a no-brainer. But even upperclassmen don’t often know that they can look for required textbooks beyond Amazon and their college bookstore. You can often find the textbooks that you need for free at either your local library or even your college library. When you’re done using them, simply return the books to the library of origin.
- Don’t study abroad
When students first enter college, they will often look at the different study abroad options that they may pursue their junior year. However, taking college classes in a foreign country is only a good idea if you can afford it. One reason why many students can’t afford the study abroad experience is that they may have to pay for classes at the international university, airfare, and accommodations if the hosting school doesn’t cover them. All of these costs don’t even take your necessities into account. You will have to pay for those yourself.
If you absolutely must study abroad, ask your school’s study abroad advisor for inexpensive locations you can study in during your junior year. See if your financial aid package will cover a portion of your educational expenses while you’re abroad.
Mikkie is a freelance writer from Chicago. She has a passion for advanced learning, reading, and health and fitness. She is also a mother of two who loves sharing her ideas on education, learning, health, fitness and yoga. When she’s not writing, she’s chasing the little ones around or can be found at the local climbing gym or doing yoga.