Saving Money in College: The Dos and Don’ts

When you’re paying thousands for tuition every year, spending a couple hundred for fun doesn’t seem like a lot. Poor purchases add up fast and contribute a great deal to the massive debt most students accrue. Apply these tips to make sure you aren’t digging a financial hole you can’t get out of.

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Do: Keep Track of Your Spending

The last thing you want as a fairly broke college student is to be dinged with unnecessary overdraft fees. To avoid them, you need to pay close attention to the balance in your account and your expected upcoming expenses. Using a free balance tracking application like Mint.com will help you do this with little hassle.

If you don’t have a checking account yet, you may want to consider switching. If your current account charges any fees at all, you can most certainly find a bank in your college town that offers free banking with no charges for a low balance or too many transactions.

Do: Shop Smart

Not all students struggle with needless spending, but almost all students have to buy clothes throughout their time at school. While it’s tempting to go to the mall where all the big brand labels have stores, stick to discount stores and thrift shops. Most college towns have a Goodwill where you can find incredible bargains on nearly new clothes. If you really have an eye for fashion, you can often put together outfits that are better than what most on campus are wearing for a fraction of the price.

Don’t: Drink Alcohol to Excess

Alcohol is an essential part of the college experience for many students, but it can also be an expensive habit. Here are some tips that’ll help you enjoy drinking during college:

  • Drink at home before you go out
  • Set a spending limit for the night
  • Drink cheap grain alcohol
  • Go to bars when they run specials
  • Don’t drink at all (the best solution)

These tips will help you save money, but by far the best thing you can do for your education and health is limit buy levitra levitra online how to review your drinking.

Do: Take Risks When Appropriate

If you have an opportunity to make a potentially high-yielding investment and it seems like a good bet, go for it. Don’t sink your life savings into it, though; stick with an amount you can afford to lose. There are times when you may find that you have a few hundred dollars lying around that you don’t really need to get by.

In these situations, you can try to get creative and try stretching it even further with gambling. If you really don’t need the money, playing a high-risk game that could have a huge payoff could make sense.

Don’t: Buy Brand New Textbooks

Nearly every year a new edition of a textbook come out with minor changes that aren’t significant. For these changes you get the privilege of paying a couple hundred dollars. There are much better options available to you:

  • Go old: Buying a textbook that’s a few editions old will serve you fine in most cases and cost barely anything.
  • Buy online: There are many discount stores online that offer books for the fraction of the price at your bookstore.
  • Skip the book: Don’t buy any book for the first week of class. Often you’ll find that the professor doesn’t even use it.
  • Share: Split the cost of a book with other classmates.

Do: Choose a Smart Meal Plan

Spend some time at the start of each semester reviewing your meal plan options. Go with the smallest one that’ll provide you with enough food to get by. In many cases you can forego a meal plan and save money by shopping in bulk at grocery stores yourself, and be healthier as well. Remember that people often overestimate how much food they need to eat, which can lead to the dreaded Freshman 15.

The cost of college is expensive enough as it is, so make sure that bad spending habits don’t add to the problem. Follow these tips and you will have your personal finances under wraps in no time.

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