Are you terrified by upcoming college admission because of huge loans and money problems? Fear no more!
Are you ready for being broke and depressed? This is what inevitably will happen to you, according to the twitter accounts of most college students. However, there is a way to avoid this unpleasant outcome. Check out our tips and try them with your friends, and you’ll see how a dollar becomes a thousand. Maybe you will even magically turn into that mysterious creature who graduates college without debt, or with a lot less than your peers. Oh, just kidding – this requires hard work and persistence, but the good news is, no magic is involved, and graduating with smaller loan debt is feasible.
Don’t buy new textbooks.
Here are some suggestions on where you can get used textbooks for free, or at least a lot cheaper compared to new ones:
Buy used copies at Amazon, Chegg, and similar services.
Go to the library to borrow books (yes, such practice still exists!).
Talk to senior year students.
On average, a college student spends around $1300 every year on new textbooks. Though the desire to buy everything fresh and new when you are entering a new stage of your life can be quite compelling, you will hate yourself during these three months in college for being flat broke. Don’t believe us? Check the twitter accounts of your friends who are already in college! The second reason for complaints, after homework load, is the prices for books and online access codes.
Save money on your laptop.
Let’s face it, we all want to look cooler in other people’s eyes; why else we would spend money on expensive brand clothes and items? Make sure you consult with your rational self when you are picking a notebook for your college. Though getting the newest Apple may sound appealing, take into account that the college dorm may not be the safest place, and constant worrying about your possessions won’t help you with having awesome college memories either. More than that, a lot of companies producing tech supplies have special discounts for college students – make sure to check that!
Reduce eating out, at the basic level: store snacks.
It’s 2 AM, you are hungry to the point of wanting to bite your roommate’s hand which is showing from under the blanket, but you still have to study. You get to the corridor, and then you see it – the light coming from a vending machine is luring you closer and closer, and you end up wasting what money you have left on two snacks. To avoid this, keep a tiny fridge with soft drinks and quick snacks, because, take it from us, a brain deprived of sugar can’t do anything at 2 AM.
This tip also has a side effect of increasing your popularity during hard times, so make sure you keep your snack buffet a secret, or else you are likely to pay for feeding other people, which is nice, but…meh.
Reduce eating out, at the advanced level: cook.
Of course, there’s no way you won’t eat out while staying at college. Sorority or fraternity parties, simple parties, or too-lazy-to-do-something days will occur, and this will inevitably lead to either going to a cafe or ordering food. We don’t even need to explain why cooking is actually cheaper than ordering food, as we bet you know it. Moreover, it’s actually a very useful skill that can help you in life. At least you will always be able to make yourself a decent dinner if you learn cooking during college.
Buy a coffee machine.
Okay, let’s be realistic – you will be drinking A LOT of coffee during your stay at college, especially during finals week. Actually, you will kill two birds with one stone by doing so:
Have you ever seen a college campus during finals week? Those zombie-like creatures can kill for a cup of coffee! And once they know you have a machine installed in your room, you are going to be the star of the floor. Just make sure this won’t distract you from your own studying.
Be that person that looks for freebies, especially academic ones.
Look, we all do it, but somehow admitting it in our culture has been labeled as shameful and pathetic. We are not saying you should fight for every cent, but knowing where you can get something free definitely won’t harm you. This is especially true for educational materials. Check the following websites for free academic sources:
Occasionally you will have to spend money on academic papers or help of the professional essay writer available on the Internet, but make sure that you check these services for samples and articles first.
You are entering that stage of life when no one is willing to give you money just because you exist in this world like your parents do (or probably don’t do). However, don’t fall into a gloomy mood – there is still a way to get substantial help while you are trying to figure out your further path in life. If you are already on scholarship, check whether you can renew it for next semester – many are renewable, and students miss opportunities to save money just because they don’t double-check.
Improve your financial literacy.
It will help you in life greatly, and there’s no better time to start learning basic payment and saving habits than during college. You still receive support from your parents or community, at least to some degree, and you have room to make mistakes and learn from them. And again, start with things that are free – you don’t need $5000 MBA courses at the beginning.
Start paying off your student loan.
Oh, we bet you are already irritated by obvious and hard-to-achieve advice, like “I’m broke” – “Get a job then!” However, we are not trying to persuade you to ruin your sleeping schedule while trying to manage your studies and a part-time job. While you are trying to adjust to the new environment and get a grip at what’s going on, pay from $10 to $25 of your student loan a month. Yes, it may sound ridiculous, but actually doing so will save you up to $500 for the $25 monthly payment in the long run. And you save those 25 dollars by not buying snacks from a vending machine. 🙂
Use the campus to its fullest.
Hitting the city center sounds appealing, but just think of the amount of money you will spend there. Even if we disregard the actual “party” cost, you will need a taxi to get back. If you decide to stay at a campus, this problem is solved. The possibilities of your campus usually extend far beyond party hosting – you will probably find here free yoga and dancing classes, and gym and other facilities needed for a fulfilling student life.
Think about the housing.
And by think, we mean “try to stay in the dorm.” There are situations that require separate housing, but if your roommate doesn’t annoy you to the point of insanity, and the conditions provided are quite nice, stay in your dorm. This will also have a good impact in the long term – you will learn how to live with other people who are not your parents, which is, take it from us, a whole different story. More than that, living on your own gives you that feeling of being an adult because you finally get to manage your life on your own. It is also cheaper, compared to renting an apartment – and that’s the purpose of this whole post.
Buy in bulk.
There are some commodities you will definitely need during your entire stay at college, and which don’t spoil quickly. This applies to toiletries, stationery, snacks, etc. Make a short list of things you will need, and add items you find you need during your stay in college. After the first term, you will have a perfect bulk shopping list to prepare for the second term.
Go halfsies with your roommate.
You will probably need a little time to adjust and find out whether you can buy some important things together with your new roommate and not kill each other a few months later because you failed at sharing it. For example, split the price for the aforementioned coffee machine, because it’s a high possibility both of you are going to use it. Make sure, however, that you discuss your actions when one of the parties leaves the dorm so you won’t fight over the item.
College life is challenging, especially the financial part of it. However, if you manage to nail it, take it from us – the worst financial crisis won’t be able to shake you. And it is quite appealing to know that you are graduating only with 80% of the loan debt, compared to your peers, who are graduating with 100% and more. Try these tips, find those that work for you and remember that college is the time to learn not only subjects in your curriculum, but also a lot of useful life skills.