College is one of the times where you are finally independent, and you are left on your device. It is one of the times in your adult life when you are going to be on your own and working jobs to sustain yourself. However, because it is the time in your life where you are finally financially independent, you tend to overspend.
The thing to do is always live in broke mode and use all the things you have at your disposition to save money (student discounts are a lifesaver). As a college student, I would live on just ice coffee and instant noodles at times. However, as a college student, there are many ways to save money. So, without further ado, let’s learn some of the ways in which you can save money as a college student.
1. Opt for a roommate
Living with a roommate is one of the best ways to save money during your studies. By splitting the rent between several people, you will save a lot of money each month. Likewise, you will be able to share utilities and equipment costs with your roommates, which will save you even more money.
Having a roommate also means that you have someone to lean on during this once in life experience. It also cuts down the cost of living, and you have each other in case of hard times. And, who knows, maybe your roommate will be that one particular person or that friend that you are always by your side till the end.
2. Make and maintain a budget
Budgeting is one of the most useful tools in the arsenal of any fiscally responsible person. Making and maintaining a budget helps track expenses and, when done correctly, can be used to plan for savings, debt repayment, and more. The first step in making a budget is determining what is in it. Make lists of expected and necessary expenses, such as rent payments, car payments, groceries, school fees, etc.
From there, form the budget. There are many useful tools online, from templates to instructional articles. Determine which one works best for you. My personal favorites are Google Sheets or Excel. Using the tools built into spreadsheets is how I have formed and maintained a budget over the past 5 years.
3. Plan your meals in advance
By planning your meals in advance, you will be able to accurately estimate the amount of money you will need to purchase ingredients, and it will be easier for you to stay within your student budget when shopping. This good habit will also ensure that you use the ingredients you buy.
Lack of meal planning is responsible for a lot of food waste. Realizing that throwing away uneaten food is like throwing money in the garbage will help you realize that, in the long run, meal planning can save you a lot of money.
4. Buy used materials
It is often forgotten that students have to buy many books at the beginning of the semester. The ideal solution is to buy them used and sell them once you no longer need them; the same goes for clothes and furniture. When it comes to books, don’t buy them until you have entered the first class and the professor tells you to buy them. You can also use sites like library genesis, sci-hub, or even b-ok to get your books for free.
These items are often much cheaper used than new, and there are plenty of bargains to be had. If you keep your eyes open and are patient, you can save a lot of money. As a college student, thrifting is a must and is something that you should get into as it will save you a ton of money in the long run, and you are also saving the planet. It’s a win-win situation if you ask me.
Budgeting can be a daunting task, although it is necessary for financial security as you approach adulthood. If you’re not ready to take the full step to budget, that’s fine! A smaller-scale version determines all entertainment expenses and identifies what you pay for and what you don’t use.
List everything you subscribe to, whether it’s streaming, magazines, whatever it is. List it all, and then organize that list from what you like the most to the least important that you may not even remember having. If you know exactly how much you are paying each month, it is much easier to plan those expenses and incorporate them into your monthly payments and remove anything that is unnecessary.
Identify anything that could be called entertainment, not just streaming services like Netflix or Hulu. Music, games, reading, sporting events- anything you consider entertainment or fun- put it on this list. Ask yourself how much you are using these streaming platforms; if it is not a lot, you can unsubscribe from them.
You can adopt my friend and my method, we all subscribe to one streaming service, and we share the account with each other. This method cuts down your cost and still allows you the same access to all of them. So sharing the cost of entertainment is something that is worth looking into.
Sound off in the comments section below and tell us what you want to read next and if you want more tips about saving money as a college student.