The majority of students graduating from college this year will do so with a tremendous debt load. College costs are only going to rise! If you are heading off to college this fall, you’ll need to know how to live on a budget and how to start saving for your future. Here are tips that can help you live frugally as a college student and have money in the bank when it comes time to pay your student loans:
Books are one of the most expensive parts of student life. If you take classes full-time, you can reasonably expect to need at least four books. These books can cost you more than $100 a piece! You can easily see how this will quickly add up. Instead of buying your books from the campus book store, look to sites like Chegg and CollegeBookRentals to rent your books instead. You can often get the books you need for a quarter of the price! Put that extra few hundred dollars you’ve saved into an account and leave it there!
Part of your college expenses will include food. While the campus dining hall may not be your first choice, it is often the cheapest one. Try to avoid eating out as much as possible and take advantage of what’s on offer in the dining hall. You can save hundreds of dollars a month just by eating in the cafeteria! The money that you save can be put into your post-college account.
You’ll be meeting lots of new people when you go to school and those people are going to want to hang out with you. Instead of spending your money on dinner, a movie or a bucketful of beer, stay in and watch movies on your computer or gaming system. A monthly subscription to Netflix costs under $10 a month and gives you access to hundreds of thousands of movies that can be watched instantly. That may be close to $100 a month that you can put into that savings account!
4. Keeping In Touch
Do you want to ditch your expensive cell phone plan? Companies like PagePlus offer plans that give you just as much as the big name companies for a fraction of the price. Additionally, you can download Skype to your computer or iPod and keep in touch with friends and family at home for free. If you use less than 10,000 minutes per month, you’ll never have to pay a dime for Skype if you choose not to. Ditching your cell phone plan can save you up to $100 a month. If your parents are paying for your cell phone, ask them to put the money you’ve saved them into your new savings account.
5. Make Money
There’s no doubt that you’re going to be busy while you’re in school but you can still squeeze in a bit of time for a job. Get creative! You don’t need to work at a brick and mortar company to earn a paycheck. You can sell your plasma, work as a freelance writer or even write resumes for people if you’re skilled at doing so. Look for ways that you can make $50 or $100 a week. Give yourself half of the money to use at your leisure and put the other half into your savings account.
If you follow these five tips, you can reasonably expect to deposit over $1,000 a year into your post-college account. While it may not seem like much, it will go a long way towards keeping you sheltered and fed while you look for a job. It’s not enough to live frugally in college. If you’ve taken out student loans, you’ll also want to sock away as much money as you can in order to pay off your debt once you graduate.
Christine Lukes is a personal finances guru and freelance blogger. She often recommends using bb&t bank online accounts.