Moving off to college can be a very exciting time in one’s life; however, let’s face it: college isn’t cheap. The following are ways I’ve learned how to save money as a college student.
1: Rent your Textbooks.
My freshman year of college, I bought all five of my textbooks from my institution’s bookstore before the semester started and ended up only using one. It’s safe to say I lost A LOT of money. According to the College Board, during the 2018-2019 academic year, students spent roughly $1,290.00 on textbooks alone. With textbook costs on the rise, there’s a simple way to save some money: rent your textbooks. I’ve learned to compare and contrast the cost of renting my textbooks to find the cheapest option. I compare my institution’s bookstore prices with Amazon. Usually, Amazon offers the cheaper deal. You can also wait until your classes start to see if you will really need the book (if the book is needed, professors usually allow students one week to obtain the book). This is an extremely simple and easy way to save money!
2: Apply for Grants and Scholarships.
In order to apply for federal aid, you or your guardian needs to fill out the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid). To learn how to fill out the FAFSA, use our virtual coach: https://riverviewbank.learnbanzai.com/wellness/resources/fafsa-coach
Grants and scholarships are a great way to reduce the cost of college, and you should apply for as many as you can. There are some websites, such as FASTWEB, that have countless scholarships that anyone can apply for. However, stay away from websites that require you to pay to be a member. You should NEVER have to pay in order to apply. Also don’t be afraid to ask your local businesses if they offer any form of scholarships! It never hurts to ask, and maybe you’ll learn something new and be eligible for more funds!
3: Create a Budget.
Everyone’s budget will be different, however whether you live on campus in a dorm or off campus in an apartment, it’s important to determine your fixed and variable costs. Fixed costs may include tuition, rent, or a car payment. Variable costs include groceries, clothing, gas, and spending money.
It’s important to set aside money for your fixed costs first, then disperse what you have leftover for your variable costs.
4: Split Costs with Your Roommates.
When it comes to roommates, if possible, get to know them BEFORE moving in with them. Many schools offer Facebook groups where you can interact with future classmates before the semester begins. Also housing applications will usually ask for your interests to try and pair you with someone who enjoys the same things you do. After getting to know your roommate, discuss splitting certain costs with them. For me, my roommates and I split what we would get for our apartment, i.e. cooking supplies, a vacuum, cleaning supplies. You can also decide whether or not you want to split the cost of food. However, if you decide to split the cost with your roommate(s), to avoid conflict, make sure you all are spending around the same amount.
5: Get Involved on Campus.
While saving money is very significant, making money can be an added benefit. Most jobs on campus require one to work between 5 – 20 hours per week and they are VERY flexible with your class schedule. This is not only a great way to make a little spending money, but it will also look great on your resume! This will also open up new opportunities and allow you to network and get your name out on campus!
It’s important to have fun in college and make the most of it, but you’re also there to learn and earn a degree. Starting off by saving money using these simple tips will help you meet your budget goals and ultimately help you start your financial future off right!