Financial Hacks for College Students
Most of us get the taste of handling money when enrolling in college. We need funds to purchase supplies, books, food, entertainment, clothing, and transportation. Given it is our first time, we tend to overspend and get into financial trouble, and whilst some of us can get help with secured loans, this is not always possible. Luckily, there are ways of becoming frugal without decreasing the quality of our lives. Below are relevant financial hacks to maneuver college life.
As a budget-conscious lad in college, I made it a habit of asking for discounts. When visiting stores, theaters, burger joints, or similar establishments, I was always armed with my student’s ID and ready to claim a coupon.
Although some business entities don’t entirely advertise student discounts, they still offer them. It’s our responsibility as college students to ask for these offers when shopping. For example, a casual shirt at J Crew might cost $10, but with their 15% student discount, we get it slightly over $8. These little saves on items ensure we spend less.
It might look straightforward, but some of us fail to distinguish necessities from wants. While in college, I avoided this problem by crafting a list of basic needs and what I deemed I could forego.
Some of the essential needs are food, internet, school supplies, books, toiletries, rent, utilities, cell phone, medicine, car insurance, gas, and health insurance, so I always made sure that I had enough money put aside to ensure that I could pay for these things. I dread to think about what would’ve happened if I found myself short of money one day. With that being said, it’s also very likely that college students will be required to pay a lot more for their insurance because of age and lack of driving experience, hence why I always made sure I asked what’s the cheapest car insurance policy out there and where can I find them so I could reduce the costs of this pretty important necessity. So, saving in other areas became really useful too. Anything that didn’t fit here was deemed luxurious. I spent my primary cash on these needs, and any extra money was repurposed for wants.
College provides us with freedom from many things. One of them being free from financial dependency. The only way we can survive with no help from our parents is by getting a job. Although it isn’t a mean feat, working while studying has many benefits.
We can use the extra income to settle bills, offset some of our students’ loans, or buy school supplies. Moreover, a job will equip us with the necessary life skills and teach us how to manage school and work.
College books rarely come cheap. During my early college days, I was naïve and spent huge sums buying new books. Were it not for my scholarship, I would have been in financial problems.
It was a friend who gave me the idea of purchasing used textbooks, and I used this tactic until my graduation. Buying used books is less expensive. Besides, once we are done using the book, we can sell it to recover the initial cost or better for profit. We can sell these books via textbook rental sites like Amazon, Chegg, to name a few.
If the costs are too high to stay in the same place you are studying then maybe trying online courses would be the right choice for you. For example, if you are planning to study psychology then you could do a course for a bachelor of arts in psychology online from somewhere like Chatham University.
Doing an online course will allow you to get the same qualifications as physically going to college but it will save you a lot of money that you would have spent on food, rent, and bills.
Grants and scholarships are the ultimate financial saviors in college. As a freshman, I happened to land a scholarship that paid part of my tuition and gave me pocket money. I lived almost the perfect college life because most of my financial obligations were being met.
We can get these funds from private organizations, research institutions, government programs, sports teams, or even our colleges. A way of getting quick approval is by first ensuring you understand the eligibility requirements. We can also apply for several grants simultaneously, such that if one fails, we may succeed in others.
Financial management in college starts with tracking our daily expenditures. We need to know if we’re on par with our budget or are spending money irresponsibly. With the availability of many money apps, we can easily track spending from our phones.
We’re all pressed for money while in college. Yet, with the creative tips above, we can learn to make and save cash.