Being accepted and attending college is an exciting time for new college students. Continuing education in a college setting helps students gain the opportunities that will shape their lives and their careers. College does, however, cost quite a bit of money. Beyond tuition and books, students may have to worry about housing, transportation, food and drink, and any incidentals. Saving money is very important to having the best college experience possible. Here are a few tips that can help new college students maintain a functional budget and not go without essentials.
If not on a meal plan, food can be a large expense for college students. Having fast, cheap, and easy meals is important for those on the go. Fast food meals can be cheap, but don’t provide very nutritional meals. Planning your meals for the week can help by knowing where your food is coming from. Without a plan, students may be tempted to eat something quick and expensive. Having food available at home can help.
Consider A Roommate
Not only can you gain a lifelong friend, you will have someone to share the burden of the rent and utilities. Always find someone trustworthy and someone that has a similar lifestyle, to avoid any conflict. Otherwise, having a roommate will save your at least half of your monthly living expenses.
Buy Your School Supplies Used
Classifieds can help students save considerable money on things like books or electronics. Students can also try to sell their own unused supplies through classifieds, helping to come up with extra money for their expenses. Students can also buy other things used like CDs, DVDs, and video games. Saving $10 can buy dinner for a couple nights.
If you live off campus and have to commute or you want to go somewhere off campus, find others going your way and ride together. Paying the driver a few dollars is much cheaper than driving alone and having to waste your gas. Check your town’s transportation schedule. Buses and shuttles usually offer a pass for unlimited rides during a specific time frame. Hopping on a bus instead of taking your vehicle saves you gas and car maintenance costs.
Participate In Budget Friendly Activities
Colleges have clubs and activities on campus that can give students the social interaction without the price tag. Instead of going to an expensive movie theater, visit a budget theater that shows second-run or classic movies. Organize functions at your dorm instead of off campus. Purchasing food and drinks for a function is much cheaper than dining out at a restaurant.
Live Like A College Student
For many new students, going away to college is the first opportunity to live without their parents. This can often mean making some bad decisions, spending money irresponsibly being one of them. While students shouldn’t go without having fun and socializing, you should remember why you are at college.
Your education is important to your future, so making sure that you are attending classes and not living beyond your means. This may mean when your friends go out to dinner or drinks, you stay behind and make dinner in your apartment or dorm. It will be worth it when you have the extra money for books and study materials to help achieve high grades and earn your degree.