How to Save Money While in College

by Junior Boomer on April 20, 2012

For many boomers, they always want better for their kids; especially when it comes to their college education.  As soon as your kids start their college education, they will have to make a lot of adjustments most especially in their finances. Even though they still have student loans to pay, they can still save. Below are some of the things that you can teach them to show them that they can save.

Have the right mindset

You have to take control of your money before it controls you. Start with a financial plan in mind. Set goals on how much you need and when you need it. Specify how you’ll be able to achieve these goals such as by babysitting, tutoring, on-campus work, and the list goes on. Knowing where your money comes from and where it goes will help you manage your finances well.

Know the terms of your financial aids

May it be federal loans or private student loans make sure that you know the terms of each one of them. Write down how much you need to pay monthly and save up for that. Take note of the scholarships and grant you’ve received because you don’t need to pay for those. Always apply for financial aid. Aids are not limited to your first year in college. You can apply every school year as long as you submit a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Make sure you submit your FAFSA early. Application starts after January 1 every year.

Look for a job

As soon as you’ve got your schedule, assess how much free time you have and look for jobs that will fit those free times. It’s best that you get an on-campus job so you can save on travel time and expenses. Ask your school employment department for job openings. You can also inquire from your professors if their department has vacancies. Should you decide to get an off-campus job, make sure that your salary will compensate for the food and travel expense you will incur.

Make wise food choices

A lot of colleges allow students to have meal plans in their dorm’s cafeteria. Avail of a meal plan and use it. Don’t eat out if you already have a meal that you already paid for in advance. Avoid buying snacks from convenient stores or vending machines because these will come out more expensive. Buy your stash from the grocery and keep them in your dorm.

Be clear about money matters with roommates

When you share a room with someone, almost all of your utility usage is shared, too. Talk to your roommate about your shared costs and how you’ll split the bills. The last thing you want is to pay for dorm expenses that you didn’t even use. Set the ground rules and pay your bills on time so that it won’t hurt your credit history. Don’t allow money matters to ruin your friendship with your roommates. Communicate with them regularly if there are financial obligations you need to settle.

Leverage on your student status

By simply showing your student I.D. you can have discounts on bus fares, movies, and food establishments! Know where you can avail of student discounts and use them. You can also get discounted rates on health care in your campus health centers. Being a student has a lot of perks so take advantage of them!

Live on a budget

Always set aside a monthly budget for your expenses. Follow it and don’t over spend. If there are days when you want to go out and dine with friends, include that in your budget, too. Prioritize your spending by sorting your needs and wants. Having a budget will train you in handling your finances better after college.

Being in college may cost a lot but it doesn’t mean that you can’t save or earn. There are a lot of opportunities while you’re in college. You just need to know where to look and grab those opportunities.

For more information on saving money while in college, visit http://studentaid.ed.gov/PORTALSWebApp/students/english/index.jsp.

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