Students have it rough. The cost of studying in the modern world is astronomical, so being able to save money where you can during your student years can become a critical part of not leaving college with a mountain of student debt that you need to pay off.
Here is a collection of really great tips on how you can save money as a student while obtaining your qualifications.
1. Budget for Everything:
This is the first tip because it is undoubtedly the most important one.
You’re going to have a set amount of money or funding for your studies, so understanding where it all goes and ensuring you have enough to cover the essentials before you start spending on optional things and luxuries is very important.
The way you’ll do this is by creating a comprehensive budget. Don’t just do this month to month, but try and create an annual budget if you can. This will give you a black and white breakdown of exactly where you can and can’t spend your money as a student.
2. Consider Online Learning:
You’ll probably be surprised at the variety and comprehensiveness of the courses that are available to study online, without the expenses of attending a physical college campus. Baylor University offers a huge range of online courses, like their online DNP nurse executive programs.
These online programs offer rich and well-produced learning materials and can often be more accessible as they can be offered to more students than a physical classroom can accommodate.
3. Try and Find Used or Rent Textbooks:
Many students think that they must purchase all their textbooks and learning material, but this isn’t strictly true.
Second-hand textbooks will do the job just as well and for a fraction of the cost. Some colleges and companies may even offer rental deals on textbooks, particularly those you might not need for very long.
Before you do buy a second-hand textbook, just remember to ensure the edition of the textbook is right for your course, and that you don’t potentially need a newer revision.
4. Limit Your Party Expenses:
Your student vices, like drinking at the local bar or heading out on Spring Break, can quickly become a drain on your limited student finances, so being able to say no sometimes is important as a student.
If you spend too much on your vices, you might find yourself needing to use credit. While using credit is fine if done responsibly, letting it get out of hand can be a slippery slope for you as a student with limited or even no income, with expensive interest rates if you don’t manage to make the payments on those credit cards that might offer no interest for the first few weeks.
5. Share Living Expenses – Get a Roommate
One of your biggest expenses outside of your tuition is going to be your living expenses like rent, food, utilities, and even smaller costs like the internet.
Having someone, or even more than one person, sharing these expenses with you is going to help a lot with the cost.
Sharing one internet bill between two or three people makes it much more affordable, and that can be said about many different living expenses – particularly because renting a 3-bedroom apartment will likely work out cheaper per person than renting a single-bedroom apartment each, and you’ll share all the expenses.
6. Don’t Splurge on Too Many Luxuries:
Along with those nights out with friends, you’re also likely going to want some luxuries, which might not even sound like luxuries because you might be so used to having them.
Things like Netflix and Spotify subscriptions or that expensive brand of cereal, makeup or personal hygiene product might have been affordable while you were living at home, but all the extra expenses of college are going to make affording some of them difficult.
Consider ranking your luxuries from most to least important, so that when money is tight, you can easily make the decision on which not to buy and which of them you absolutely cannot live without.
7. Take Advantage of Student Discounts:
Many venues, museums, and even stores offer student discounts on certain days or between certain times when you produce a student card.
Always check wherever you go to see if a student discount is available. Some of these discounts, particularly on things like software that you might need for your courses, could save you a lot of money.
8. Don’t Forget About the Library:
We’ve become so used to using the internet for research, shopping, and communicating with friends and family that the humble library is often forgotten.
If you’re a student and you need a specific book, text, or even textbook, why not check your local library first before purchasing? Many of the local libraries even have online catalogues so you can check if something is available and even make bookings to borrow it if you need to.
9. Don’t Get a Pet Yet:
A common mistake for students, particularly those that are living outside of the family home or have moved from their hometown is to get a pet to keep them company.
Pets can be quite expensive when you consider the food and vet costs, so it might not be in your best interest to adopt a furry friend while studying if you need to tighten the purse strings. That said, some pets are low-cost and maintenance, like fish, which can also be relaxing and add some ambiance to the room. They’re just not very cuddly!
Life for a student is all about balance – you must balance your studies with your social life and balance your spending with your budget.
While some students often think that the demands of their studies will prohibit them from working, a part-time job can help a lot with the day-to-day expenses of just being a student.
The rest comes from self-control and making smart spending decisions that are in line with what you can afford. Don’t turn your back on the college experience but enjoy the college experience with some care paid to your wallet.