When you’re in college, you need to learn how to save money in every way possible. Your expenses can really add up, and if you’re like most people, this is the period when your parents are really putting your skills and resourcefulness to the test. If your parents have the means, you could always try to ask them to giving you more, or you could go the more responsible and mature route and show them that you know how to take care of yourself and manage your finances on your own. Here are the best money-saving hacks for college students.
Shop and Cook with Your Roommates
Your food expenses will definitely be burning the biggest hole in your cash flow, which is why you want to save in every way possible. A lot of people like to buy their food separately when they are in college, but the result tends to be wasting much of the food that they buy. If this is the case, then you want to try and shop with your roommates so that you can reduce your overall shopping bills. Plus, if you cook together, you can reduce the amount of food you waste and you can learn how to prepare a wider variety of dishes.
The second biggest expense you probably have is your transportation costs. If you have a car, you want to avoid driving at all costs. Gas prices are almost always increasing and most of your trips are probably not that long to begin with. If possible, you want to either take the bus or get a bike for maximum independence. If you cycle to most of your daily destinations, not only will you be saving money, but you will also be able to get some exercise in between all those long lectures that you spend sitting down.
In addition to cutting down your shopping expenses, you want to be sure that you aren’t spending too much money on food when you’re out and about. Not eating at expensive restaurants is a no-brainer, but even those little snack stands and taquerias can really add up. That’s why you want to be sure that you always pack your own lunch and be sure to keep snacks on you at all times.
No matter what it is that you need to buy, you want to try and buy it used. Whether you’re shopping for clothes, books, furniture or recreational equipment, you can always find these items second-hand. The great thing about buying used clothes is that vintage clothes couldn’t be more in fashion. Plus, you’ll learn to love the art of hunting for those rare gems in your local secondhand shops. You can often find better deals on used books online than you can in your school bookstore, and you can find just about anything else on Craigslist.
Apply for Grants
Above all, you want to try and apply for at least a few grants each year. No matter who you are, what you’re studying or what your story is, there’s some individual or organization out there that wants to donate money to your education. It’s all about finding the program that suits you and your personal goals. It doesn’t matter if you’re studying at Harvard Law or if you’re in Rutgers’ online msw program, there are people who want to help you. So do the legwork and go get that free cash.