Going to college is one of the most exciting times in a young person’s life, but in all the excitement and fun, they often overlook the essential task of financial planning. Students are notoriously thrifty, and many excel at living off meager funds, but it’s easy to fall into the trap of overspending. Follow these simple tips and your time in college
Buy Used Books
Course materials can take up a significant chunk of your initial budget. Academic textbooks run for exorbitantly high fees which can be an unpleasant surprise to many first year students so getting them cheap makes a huge difference. Look up your reading list as soon as it’s published and search the university’s library to check which you can borrow, but be quick as they’ll likely be lent out early.
If you have no luck in the libraries, scour the internet for cheap deals; failing that, check your university book shop for second-hand deals. Join forums and internet groups for people heading into the second year of your course and get in touch with them about purchasing their old books for cheap. With a little hard work, you can get many academic textbooks for a fraction of their retail price.
The culinary reputation of students is not a favorable one. Luckily, the more discerning student can eat well on a tight budget. Gone are the days of instant noodles and tinned soup; if you’re willing to put the time and effort into shopping and cooking, you can eat well without breaking the bank.
Buy non-perishables and dried goods in bulk and apportion them appropriately. Many filling and homemade meals are cheaper and more delicious than any instant equivalent. If you are close to your roommates, consider buying basic ingredients together to share the financial burden. Learning how to cook will save you a lot of money while providing great meals throughout your university career.
Score Some Discounts
Students are entitled to a full range of discounts of which many people are completely unaware, so do your research to find discounts for which you are eligible. You may need to specifically apply for some offers so put in the time and be organized to save as much money as possible.
Student discounts can apply to all sorts of things which may come as a surprise to many. Check with your local supermarkets, cinemas, gyms, and bars to see if they offer deals to students. If they don’t, they might reconsider if enough people ask, so it’s always worth inquiring. Transport is also often significantly discounted for students.
Charity shops and online stores are the fashionable student’s best friend. Head into the high street to see if the item you want suits you but then search for it later on the internet. The vast majority of the time, clothing is a lot cheaper online due to the lower overheads involved for the businesses.
Many great deals can be had in charity shops if you’re willing to put in the time scouring the clothing racks. If you find something you love you can haggle to get even more money off, but if they do give you a better deal strongly consider giving them your repeat business when possible.
Make A Budget, Check It Twice
Aside from the possible discounts afforded to students, the best way to save money is to budget accordingly. Live frugally for your initial time in your new life while you record everything you spend for a whole week. Once you know your total outgoings, you can calculate how much you can afford to spend to get you through to the next payday. Always give yourself a safety net of around 10% that you save each week for inevitable unforeseen expenditures. There is no substitute for planning when it comes to financial management.
With a little savvy and forward thinking, your time at university will be free from any money worries, and you’ll be free to focus on the important aspects of partying and studying. Knowing where and how to get discounts on everyday essential transactions goes a long way to saving cash so research any avenues open to you to make the most of your college career.