Make every penny count.
For many of us, the transition to college, trade school or university means leaving home for the first time. That might mean life in a campus dorm, an off-campus apartment or a house shared with friends. So along with school stress, you’re going to have responsibilities that come with your new-found independence. You’ll have a lot on your plate and money woes are the last thing you need.
These 7 tips can help you stay on top of your finances so you can focus on your studies:
- Get a part-time job
If your schedule allows, consider taking on a part-time job to bring in a little cash flow to help with your expenses. It might mean borrowing a little less, or making some extra loan payments along the way to cut down on the total interest you’ll pay.
- Get cooking
Restaurant meals are delicious and convenient, but they’re also expensive. A stop at the grocery store and a little culinary knowhow can save you big time, and you’ll be able to rely on those cooking skills for the rest of your life. Wind up with leftovers, and you may have enough for lunch for the next few days. If you’re in a dorm and your rent includes a meal plan, use it as much as possible.
- Make your own coffee
A few bucks at the coffee shop every morning really adds up over the span of a school year. Brew your coffee at home and take it with you in a travel mug. It might not be as fancy as what you would get at a coffee shop but your wallet will thank you!
- Ride the bus
There’s a lot of costs associated with having a car. From licensing and insurance to oil changes and gas, by the time you pay for all of that plus fees to park near your school, your entire budget may be blown. Hopping a ride on the bus can save you lots of money, and some schools even include a bus pass as part of your tuition. It’s worth looking into.
- Buy your textbooks used, or borrow them
Textbooks are a huge expense. When possible, borrow them from the library, pick up a used copy or buy an older edition. Once you’re done with them, sell them and use the proceeds to buy books for the next term.
- Take advantage of free stuff
In many cases, your tuition covers more than just your classes. It might include a bus pass, gym access, or any number of great perks. Put those things to use and you won’t end up paying for them elsewhere.
- Set your budget and stick to it
A budget helps you stay on track with your spending and lets you know exactly what you can afford. That way you’re not caught with a shortfall. And if you play your cards right, you may even manage to save enough to treat yourself every once and awhile.