By: Kristen Peek
Saving money in college can be a daunting task. Student debt is one thing, but how can students save more money before they graduate? Forget looking to your (21-year-old) friends for help, they’ll just suggest another beer, or two. In college, and in life, it’s up to the individual to save correctly and be disciplined enough to trust the process. Here are a few tips your wallet is screaming at you to follow:
Buy or rent books from Amazon: Amazon is just one example of a bookseller that offers a better alternative than the college bookstore. And if you’ve rented from Amazon before, this process is a no-brainer. Simply order your book, determine your preferred shipping and the prices, compared to the alternative, are very affordable. Many professors seem to recommend this method, even though students forgo the college bookstore. In addition, if you can find an online copy of the book, that might serve as an even better option. Instant access and even cheaper prices make buying textbooks a breeze.
Choose streaming services over cable: We can all use a break from that nagging 10-page paper or the final exam hanging over your head. Movies and television shows are great ways to escape mentally but don’t make your wallet a victim. Instead of subscribing to cable, choose options such as Netflix or Hulu that offer affordable plans once a month, often under $10.
Limit heavy drinking and buy that water bottle you saw on Instagram: If there were a college experience handbook, this wouldn’t be on the list. Peer pressure is difficult and students may find it challenging to refrain from having a good time, all the time. Limiting drinking will save you money, especially if you do most of your drinking out on the town. Take care of yourself, and invest in a water bottle that’ll keep you properly hydrated throughout the day. The benefits of staying hydrated and getting more than the standard eight cups a day will help you feel sharper, and may in-fact provide that extra edge heading into your next exam.
Look into a campus gym: Odds are, your college or university provides a gym on campus, especially if they have an athletic department. Rather than signing up at the local fitness center, create a routine to show up at the gym on campus, even if it means hopping on the treadmill for ten minutes. Plus, campus gyms do not usually have any additional cost to go!
Start a side-hustle: There’s no pressure to create the next Facebook. And please, don’t seriously consider dropping out in pursuit of that side hustle unless you’re 99% that it could take off. A side-hustle in college could be anything from babysitting, to dog-walking or note taking. Most of all, a side hustle should start small and provide extra money for your pocket. Until that side hustle turns into a feasible business, schooling should always stay in perspective.
Most importantly, stay focused on classes: It’s not fun to fail a class, let alone fail multiple classes and lose your scholarship in the process. If you’ve been down that road, you know that it isn’t easy to rebound. Make it a point to build organized, productive habits in order to avoid paying more money than you should.