How To Save Money While In School
We all know that being a full time college student is a rough time financially and finding extra money other than a few quarters lodged between the couch cushions is a tough feat. Unfortunately, there is no easy way to save money while you’re paying your own bills. The only way to make sure money goes into your savings account each month is to budget properly and set aside monthly savings as an expense so that you’re “forced” to deposit money into savings instead of just hoping you have some cash left over each month. Below you will find some tips that can help you cut costs in each area of your budget and give you more money to put aside for savings.
On average, people fill up their gas tanks about once a week depending on the miles per gallon their vehicles get. Because most of us don’t have a hybrid vehicle, our monthly gasoline costs are in the ballpark of anywhere between $75 and $100. For most of us, this is a cost that simply can’t be reduced as we have to travel to and from school or work every day and that distance can’t get any shorter. One way that most often goes unconsidered is the option of public transportation. Most college towns or cities have top class public transportation systems to get students to and from campus every day. If you can replace half of all of your trips with ones that take place on a public bus or tram, you’ll find that you can save up to $50 every month just on gas alone.
Grocery stores are a tricky business in college towns as a lot of colleges across the United States strike deals with grocers to start up shops closer to campus. These deals with grocery stores draw in more customers to the store and because many students have no way of getting to other stores for their groceries, the closest one to them usually ends up being an affiliate of the college. These grocery stores tend to overprice their goods to capitalize on the extra college business they get. But if you have a car to find other grocery stores in the area, do so. You can look in the Sunday paper (often freely available on campuses) for coupons and specials held by grocery stores farther away from campus that are sure to save you money. By traveling an extra five minutes off campus, you’ll find that your grocery bill will be significantly less not only because of the location, but also because of the weekly specials you looked out for.
A student’s entertainment budget is his or her lifeline to the outside world. When weekends roll around it’s the only cash they have to blow on having a good time. The problem? Most students fail to plan how much they’re going to spend on fun each month and usually end up spending too much on drinks for the guys or on a late night snack after the dance club. Obviously, one way to curb your spending is to not spend at all. If you attend a major university in the United States, chances are there are free forms of entertainment all around. Colleges worry about the safety of their students while they’re out partying and as an act of good will, they host free events on campus regularly to keep students off the streets during the late night hours. Try browsing your university’s website for an event calendar that outlines all of the events your campus is having in any given week. By replacing two fun events every month with free campus events instead, you’re likely to save about $50.
By the end of the month, there’s no reason why you can’t scrape at least $100 off of your budget. Making smart decisions about your money is the key to long term financial success. $100 a month over the course of a school year will easily help pay for next year’s books or a fantastic summer vacation. You don’t have to change your lifestyle, just the way you interact with it.
Written by Nick, a frequent contributor to 20smoney.com