Best Money Saving Tips for College Students
The college years are supposed to be some of the best years of a young person’s life, but it doesn’t always seem to be that way when you’re struggling to make ends meet. College, and college life, isn’t cheap, but there are plenty of ways to make your funds last longer without compromising the quality of your college life. Everyone knows about how to save money on text books, using your school’s meal plans to your best advantage, and creating a budget for your monthly expenses, but let’s look beyond that. Here are some of the best money saving tips for college students that you may or may not have taken into consideration:
Take advantage of student discounts
Take pride in the fact that you are a college student and flash your school ID at local restaurants and businesses. Many business owners know that college students have some money to spend, and if those students can save a few dollars they will become return customers. Small businesses especially take into account the number of college students in their town and how much business they can do by catering to them.
Check out activities on campus
Most colleges and universities have a wide range of free and low-cost activities and events for students right on campus. Offerings can include movie nights, concerts, plays, picnics, carnivals, and much more. Check the bulletin boards on campus as well as the Student Activities office to find out what events are being offered and go with friends, or go make new ones!
Research class requirements and options for testing out
Many undergraduate classes offer the option of “testing out”: this doesn’t mean giving them a try for a few weeks to see if you like them, it means taking a test to prove you already have knowledge of the material which will be covered in the course. A grade will not be issued for the class, but you will receive full credit for the class. This means fewer classes that you have to take and less money you will have to spend on tuition in the long run.
Work as a Resident Assistant
The Resident Assistant is the expert on all things related to your university. The RA is responsible for enforcing the rules and may be called on to mediate disagreements, help students find their way around campus or be an ear to listen to when someone just needs to talk. Not only is an RA position one of leadership (which can look really good on your resume), but it typically comes with significantly reduced or free room and board. Depending on the school, this can easily bring several thousands of dollars in savings in just one year.
Use the Barter System
Whether it’s clothing, furniture for your dorm room, textbooks, or anything else you need or want, the tried and true barter system can be your answer to getting those things for absolutely no money. When you’re in the market for something, check with your friends to see if anyone has it and is willing to swap it for something you have. You can also extend your search for others willing to barter by placing an ad on the campus bulletin boards. Not only can you get great stuff and clean out your own closet, but you just might make some new friends along the way.
College should be fun as well as educational. Try some of these tips for saving money and spend more time having fun instead of counting the change in the couch cushions.
Bio: Amber comes from Chicago, studied at Central European University in Hungary, and is currently living in Canada. She’s creative, passionate about learning new things, and enjoys writing about education in an easy-to-understand manner.
By Amber Woods