Learning how to save money in college is a great way to create a foundation of financial health for the future. As a college student, your main goal may be to study so you can work in the field you desire, and that often means you do not have the time to work a full-time job to meet your financial goals. You need to find out how to save money in college so you can focus on your education and future. Here are some strategies that can help you.
Focus on Student Loans as a First Step
Student loan debt can be painful, but obtaining federal student loans can be a great way to have more money in your pocket during the school year. Depending on the type of student loan you obtain, you may be able to put off starting to pay back the funds until you are in your career or no longer in school.
Start with filling out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, a tool that allows you to determine if you qualify for any student loans or other financial aid. This is a great way to learn about:
- Scholarships: Which are given by a wide range of organizations, professional associations, companies, and the schools themselves.
- Grants: These are funds available from various groups that do not need to be repaid over time (and can be used to cover the cost of tuition, room and board, and other needs).
- Federal student loans: Federal student loans are a good way to cover the cost of your education while you are studying, reducing what you need for your monthly budget.
Getting your school costs covered is the first step, but there are other ways to learn how to save money in college that you should apply to your life.
To Save Money, You Need to Know Where Your Spending It
Creating a budget is a very important part of the process. It is critical to know how much money you need to meet your financial goals. That way, you learn about the spending money you need and how much you need to have available to meet your ongoing needs.
Create a budget that builds financial success. Outline:
- How much money you need each month based on your debts, lunches, supplies, and food needs.
- Determine how much income you have coming in.
- Determine what you need to do to earn more money.
A college student's budget needs to be as focused on your specific needs. That is, make sure you are doing all you can to create a very accurate budget. Be sure you have a checking account set up that allows you to manage the funds coming in and going on. You also want to set up a savings account for any extra money you have.
How to Save Money in College by Lowering Your Costs
You may need a little money for various goals throughout the school year. One focus should be on finding ways to reduce what you are spending. Use these tips as a foundation for learning how to reduce your costs. College students can often find a few ways to save money on just about any extensive have.
- Ask for student discounts: Saving money using your student ID is one of the simplest ways to reduce your costs. No matter when you need to spend money, ask for any discounts available through a student discount.
- Gym memberships: If you are paying for a gym membership, consider no longer using it and instead focusing on free equipment at the school, like using the school gym instead.
- Transportation costs: Many college campuses offer public transportation options for students, and these can drastically lower your college student budget.
- Food costs: Whether it is the coffee shop or the dining hall, food costs tend to be somewhat frustrating for students. You could buy your own food and prepare it. If not, consider the benefits of a meal plan. However, if you use the campus meal plan, be sure you are making the most of it, using what credits you have available to you. Home-cooked meals could help you save some money, too, if you can bring some supplies from home.
- Activities: There are lots of ways to have fun without spending a lot. For example, instead of using Amazon Prime Video, check out the campus library for movies and TV shows. Check out the local volunteer opportunities, and you may get free food. You may be able to find programs available through your courses, too, such as IB classes that offer worldwide travel.
- Find free services: Did you know that if you qualify for a Pell grant, you may also qualify for a free mobile phone? Reach out to EASY Wireless to find out if you qualify for a free smartphone. You may be able to qualify for free school supplies and utility bills from other organizations as well.
You have to buy food. You have to have some extra cash for incidentals you need to purchase over time, whether that is toilet paper or paper towels, or a special sweet treat after a challenging day of classes.
Find Ways to Earn More
While your goal may be to save money, do not overlook the opportunities to earn money, too. Ultimately, you want to need less money, and doing things like making your own coffee and attending events for free food can help. However, you may also want to earn more money in college without cutting into your specific time limitations. Consider a few ideas on how to do that.
Depending on your financial situation and current needs, you may want to consider the following:
- Taking on a side hustle. Deliver food or help to clean a home.
- Always split costs for anything that your roommates are using as well.
- Find a job off campus that offers the type of flexibility you need but still is helping you contribute to your internship or career.
- Choose a part-time job on campus with one of the service providers onsite, such as working as a resident assistant or in the school gym.
- Many college students will work hard in the off-season when they are not in school, fill up their checking accounts during that time (and savings accounts, too), and then use those funds during the year.
Keep in mind that you can also take steps to reduce the costs you have, such as using Facebook marketplace to sell your textbooks or to find another student that shares a similar class schedule with you so that you can work to support each other while you are working.
Finding the Best Ways: How to Save Money in College
There are simple ways to make and save money in college. Get rid of your gym membership, check out free money for volunteering at various programs, and talk to other students about what they may be paying in monthly fees. The best way to build up your checking account, though, is to find ways to get the financial aid you need (and that often means reaching out to people that can support you). Check out how EASY Wireless is helping college students and others to reduce costs.