It’s the most wonderful time of the year. It’s back to school time for students all around the country. Some students are heading back to see old friends on campus and some are new college students heading off to make friends for the first time.
There is this myth about college students, a myth that says they have to be broke during their four years of college. But that’s just not true. I think many students don’t have money because they mismanage it, not because there is no money coming in.
With a little bit of discipline and some planning along with these personal finance tips college students can pay tuition and save a little bit of money at the same time.
Leave the credit card at home
Your college years are a crucial time in establishing your credit history. If you misuse your credit card, carry balances and don’t pay it off in full you are taking the risk of hurting your financial future – and you’re going to pay money (unnecessarily) on interest.
Next time you go out with friends leave your credit card at home to avoid overspending. Bring a set amount of cash to ensure you stay on a budget you can afford. Or better yet, stay in one night and save that money instead of spending it on food and drinks.
Save with every pay check
I know money is tight in college, trust me I do know. However I think saving, any amount of saving, is a good financial habit to start. Saving $20 a pay check every two weeks for four years can quickly add up to a lot of money. I think we can all agree that having a chunk of savings at graduation can help start your life on the right food.
Buy and sell used books
I know this may sound awful but I rarely bought books in college after my first year and I only did it during my first year because I didn’t know any better. I came to learn that going to class is a lot more important than reading the books. When a textbook was absolutely required I tried to buy a used copy in an effort to save money.
If I did buy new books (because there were no used copies available) I would sell it back to the bookstore at the end of the semester. It was a great way to save, actually earn, some extra cash.
Don’t eat on campus
This is a definite budget killer. I don’t know about you but during my four years of college I always felt like I was ten minutes behind. I was always rushing from class to my part time job or from my group work sessions to my next class. It was a lot and my schedule was tight.
I didn’t bring food with me and not only did that cost me a lot of money, but it led to bad spending habits as I got older. Learning to cook in college and bring snacks would have definitely saved me a lot of money over the years.