Just because you’re a college student doesn’t mean you have forgotten the importance of saving. Whether your goal is a wedding, house or retirement, keep those goals in mind throughout your college years. Do what you can to scrimp and save, and you’ll be ahead of the game after graduation. Here are some quick tips on how to go about that as a student.
- Make a budget and stick to it. It’s tempting to say no to that last-minute cocktail at a local club or dinner out with friends. However, those cover charges and dinner checks come with a price, and can really mess with your budget. Track your spending with online resources like Mint.com.
- Get a job as a resident advisor (RA) to lessen tuition costs.
- Borrow rather than buy books. With students paying about $1,100 each year for books and school supplies, those costs can get out of control really quick. Especially when those textbooks aren’t worth squat at the end of the year. Check out those books from the school library for free, or try sites like eCampus, Chegg, and CollegeBook Renter for low-cost rentals.
- Live in a dorm rather than a deluxe suite. It’s worth it: they typically cost up to 30 percent less than the fancy suites. Live in luxury when you buy your own home.
- Take advantage of the school’s “free” amenities that you already pay for within tuition, such as gym memberships, sports and other activities, and movie rentals at the library. The average student spends about $2,000 a year on these same activities outside of school. Silly!
- Attend summer school to cut down on regular semester tuition. You’ll graduate sooner and save money in the process. Instead of shelling out $3,000 for a regular semester course, you can take a similar one for a few hundred bucks during the summer.
- Spend less on gas by car pooling with friends. Don’t always be the one to drive everyone to class, the mall, the local hangout. Take turns and your wallet will thank you.
- Volunteer on spring break and give back rather than blow all your savings on a trip to Cancun that you probably won’t remember anyway. There are organizations out there in need, with programs that will allow you to stay at other volunteers’ homes and at non-profits so that you can help build schools and homes, feed the poor, or clothe the homeless. Plus, you’ll feel better about yourself too.
- Pay more on your school loan interest each month. If not, it’ll only get worse as the months and years go on.
- Leave the credit cards alone. You may need one for emergencies, but think twice before using it to charge pizza, clothing you don’t need or expensive shoes. With the average student graduating with $2,200 in credit card debt, plus student loans, this is a no-brainer.
You can put all the extra money you save into a conservative investment fund managed by a broker. Just be sure to call Thomas Law Group if you ever need someone to investigate your stock broker.