For the vast majority of people, student life is fraught with all sorts of challenges. From the growing pains one inevitably experiences as a result of being so far away from home to the difficulties of adjusting to higher academic expectations, there are plenty of hoops that all students are expected to jump through. Financial worries are often near the top of the list as well, since college typically isn’t the time when one gets to maximize his or her earning power. However, with a little bit of wisdom and knowledge, those lean college years can be quite bearable, especially if you employ the next time-honored strategies:
1. Get Organized
With student debt levels skyrocketing as a result of the rising cost of higher education, it’s no wonder that some people view college as one big money drain. In order to avoid incurring expenses that you’ll later regret, be sure to keep tabs on your costs throughout college. Everything from tuition to living expenses should be tracked, along with deductions and whatever income you may receive. This way you’ll get a clear picture of your spending habits and will be able to see which areas can be improved upon. It’s no silver bullet, but it can shield you from spending more money than you have to.
2. Invest in Money-saving Tools
If you aren’t used to living on your own, you’ll find that in life, it’s often the little things that count. Things like buying single items at higher prices instead of going with bulk offers, or using the neighborhood photocopier twice a day can quickly make a dent in your budget. Luckily, preventing wasteful spending is as easy as investing in tools that will help you save money down the line. Take printers, for instance. Nowadays, you can easily find a good one for as little as $30, an investment that will keep paying dividends as you keep using it year after year. Same applies to essay papers. There are so many options with prices on extreme ends of the spectrum and if you make sure you prepare everything in advance that can save you some money.
3. Take Advantage of Student Deals
While tuition costs might say otherwise, the truth is that society at large is somewhat sensitive to the plight of students in most countries. To that end, if you go out there and do some research, you’ll likely find that there are plenty of businesses that offer student discounts as long as you can prove your eligibility. Museums and art galleries are the most common purveyors of such deals, but even some supermarkets or dining establishments may have special offers for college kids from time to time. Transportation is also a big money-saver, since you can pay substantially less by opting for student cards instead of regular ones in most places.
4. Learn to Cook
While some students are already well-versed in the art of feeding themselves by the time they get to college, for others cooking may still seem like quite the mystery. Eating out on a regular basis, however, is no solution for the cash-stripped student, so being able to whip up a few simple meals becomes a must. Basic stuff like omelettes, salads and various pasta dishes should be easy enough to master, but budding chefs can also take things further and create their own unique recipes.
5. Make Smart Purchasing Decisions
College isn’t the time one generally associates with the act of making sound decisions, but as far as your purchasing habits go, you’ll need to get a grip on yourself if you truly want to make the most out of a limited budget. While enforcing a draconian policy is no one’s idea of fun, limiting your drinks when you go out or opting for more affordable ways to enjoy yourself can be a big boon to your bottom line. Expensive habits like ordering pizza or splurging on sweets may also prove harmful to your budget, so try to set certain monthly limits and always stay within them.
That concludes our quick rundown of the five best strategies you can employ to keep your head above ground during college, financial-wise. While the aforementioned ideas may not sound glamorous on paper, they can help you stay afloat until you start making some real money. This way, you’ll still get to enjoy your college experience to the fullest and create some wonderful memories that will last you a lifetime.