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Eight Simple Money Saving Hacks for Students

7498 Viewed Jacob Martin Comments Off on Eight Simple Money Saving Hacks for Students

Attending college can offer you some of the best years of your life, whether you are planning to go to college for the first time and get the full experience by living on campus, or you’re planning to return to your studies later in life in order to boost your career prospects by gaining new knowledge, skills and experience.

But, no matter what stage you are at, the subject you’ve decided to study for, or your end goal, one thing any student can agree on is that gaining any kind of college degree can be expensive, particularly if you need to give up working or cut down on the amount of work that you do in order to make time to study. So, it’s no surprise that for many students, living on a tight budget is absolutely essential.

On top of tuition fees – that are currently at an all time high – students have much more to worry about in terms of finances, on top of high student loans that they will be left with after graduation. As a student, you need to consider the cost of living on campus or close by, purchasing textbooks and equipment, and even socializing with friends and spending some money on yourself. The good news is that there’s a lot you can do to tighten your purse strings – here are some of the most effective money-saving strategies for students.

1. Study Online:

Are you not really concerned with getting the full college experience? Maybe moving into dorms isn’t really a big issue for you and you just want to earn your degree, or perhaps you’re going back to college later in life and need to fit it around working full-time and caring for your family. If you don’t feel the need to be on campus every day to study, then taking your degree online could be an ideal option for you – and there are many further benefits to it on top of saving money.

Online programs such as these FNP programs online are ideal for adults returning to school to improve their career and are often much cheaper in terms of tuition fees compared to studying on campus. And, when you study online, you can get your degree from the school of your choice without having to worry about the cost of relocating. Along with being flexible and much easier for students who have a great deal of commitments, the ability to study from home and at times that suit you best means that you can also save money without commuting to classes, and continue working the same hours. And finally, many online programs come with resources included, so you’ll probably save money on textbooks.

2. Shop For Second Hand Books:

Whether it’s a required textbook, or something that’s been recommended you read to help you improve the knowledge you need when studying for your degree, there’s no denying that the cost of buying textbooks can quickly add up to be extremely expensive. However, the good news is that there are always going to be students who need a bit of extra money – and they may well be looking to earn that by selling the very textbooks that you need.

Ask around on campus or post in online campus forums to see if you can find any students in the years above who are selling the textbooks that you need. They probably won’t be brand new and you might find that there are notes written in them but many students actually like this as it gives them the chance to see something from another student’s perspective, too.

Another way that you can save money on textbooks is to buy electronic rather than paper versions; these are often cheaper and, in addition, it’s better for the environment. Plus, storing your books on a smartphone, tablet or e-reader is much easier than carrying them around with you in your bag. Finally, make good use of the campus library if you can; you can often find all the required textbooks here as long as you remember to return them within the designated time limit.

3. Take the Time to Create a Budget:

No matter what you are studying for, or the level that you are at, spending some time to create a budget and stick to it can be a very useful step for anybody. Set aside some time to work out how much money you have coming in and what you need to spend it on. Don’t forget to include any necessary bills that you need to pay every month like your rent and utility bills, plus any debt repayments that you are making. When it comes to your income, include anything that you earn from working, student loans, and from parents or other relatives.

Once you have everything written down and clear in front of you, managing your money as a student will become easier. You can easily determine if there are any areas you could be saving money on, and how much money you have left over after paying all the necessary expenses each week or month. This may also be a good time to figure out how much you could be paying into a savings account each month – the best time to do this is as soon as your income comes in so that after a while the savings become just another necessary expense.

4. Look for Ways to Cut Costs:

Once you’ve come up with a budget that you can stick to, it’s the best time to come up with ways to cut the costs that you have to pay out every month. For example, if you drive a car it might be worth getting rid of it – sell it for extra money or lend it to a relative whilst you’re studying so that you can save money on maintenance. Instead, you can utilize public transport options in the area for much cheaper, or if you live close to campus and everywhere else that you usually need to get to, you can walk or cycle for free – plus, it’s far better for your health and the environment.

Spend some time going through what you’re spending money on and consider whether or not you really need it. Are you paying for a monthly gym membership when you could exercise at home just as well or utilize the outdoors instead? Maybe you’re spending a lot of money on convenience foods – learning to cook can be a great way to save money, along with enabling you to develop an important life skill. Finally, if a chunk of your income goes towards paying off various debts, then you may want to consider applying for a debt consolidation loan – this is usually cheaper as it allows you to repay your current debts, leaving you with one single line of credit, monthly payment.

5. Find Ways to Make Extra Money:

If you’ve gone through expenses and found as many ways as you can to cut costs each month, then it might be worth coming up with additional ways to make an extra income. As a student, there’s plenty that you can do to bring a little bit of extra money in, and many of the ideas you might want to consider can easily be fit around your busy student schedule.

Look at the skills that you already possess and determine which ones you could put to use in order to make some extra money. For example, if you’re a creative person, you could make items on commission or sell items that you have made on sites such as Etsy. If you’re good with design, then why not advertise your services for web or graphic design for local businesses? Maybe writing is your jam – companies are always looking for people to create interesting content for them or you could start your own blog and sell advertising space to make money. If you’re more practical, then why not offer your services for cleaning, pet sitting, dog walking and other small jobs in your local area that people will be willing to pay for?

6. Apply for Scholarships:

If the cost of your tuition and the prospect of being buried under massive student loans after you graduate is getting you down, then it’s definitely worth looking into the various scholarships that you could apply for. No matter your situation, choice of school, or major, there are plenty of scholarships that you can utilize in order to cover some or all of the cost of your college tuition.

Bear in mind that when applying for scholarships, you’re going to be up against other applicants so it’s up to you to make sure that you stand out from the crowd. It’s important that you’re able to brag about your achievements so far and don’t just talk about what the school could do for you, but also what you’ll be able to bring to the school, to find yourself in with a better chance of being accepted for the help. If you’re already at college, then your chances aren’t gone – you may still be eligible for financial aid or a scholarship for later years if you can demonstrate consistently high grades and a strong work ethic.

7.  Come Up with Free Entertainment Ideas:

Meeting new people, making new friends, and spending some time having fun with your new circle is all part and parcel of the college experience. However, entertainment can quickly begin to eat away at your budget and if you’re finding yourself spending a lot of time going out with friends and having little money left as a result, your new social life may not be as fun as it could be. Luckily, the good news is that many students are in the same situation as yourself – most of your friends are probably trying to save some money, too.

It’s worth getting together as friends and coming up with free or very cheap entertainment ideas. For example, instead of going to the cinema you could organize a movie night using Netflix in your dorms or student home, or rather than going out for dinner and drinks, take turns hosting dinner parties for your group of friends instead. If you and your group of friends are active and sporty people, you could organize a sports game between you, or other free but fun outdoor activities like hiking and camping.

8. Use Credit Wisely:

Finally, it’s often easy to get caught up with credit when you’re a student – student loans, credit cards and overdrafts are readily available and with the option to repay once you’ve graduated often available, it’s easy to be lulled into a false sense of security when it comes to borrowing money. But, it’s important to be wise when it comes to applying for credit as a student; even if you don’t have to repay anything right now, bear in mind that once you have your degree, any credit you take out during your studies is just going to be something extra to repay on top of your student loans.

Opening a credit card is often a good idea because it can help you get started with building a strong credit history, and with so many great credit card offers for students, it can seem like a no-brainer if you are already struggling with money. However, if you do accept an offer of credit, it’s important to be sensible when it comes to using it. Try to keep your credit card below half of its limit at any given time and give it some careful thought before using it to buy any large purchases – taking some time to determine whether or not you actually need something can be a very wise idea. For many students, a credit card can be a useful tool for getting essentials like groceries and gas that they can repay quickly while building good credit at the same time.

What advice do you have for students hoping to save money?

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