When you are at college, money runs out quickly, going away like sand through your fingers. The expenses on books, supplies, dormitory rent and transportation can leave students’ wallets almost empty. This is why it is better to learn smart ways to save money in college as soon as possible.
Simple Arithmetic to Save Money in College
A bit of simple arithmetic could save students from lots of financial troubles. It is better to know exactly how much money you need for unavoidable academic expenses and how much money is left. Then you won’t have any doubts as to whether you can afford a new pair of jeans or your old one is just perfect.
A good idea is to divide a sheet of paper into several columns and write down expenses that fall into different categories, such as:
- mandatory (rent, transportation, food, books, supplies);
- desirable (sport club, clothes, software);
- optional (make up, night clubs, cakes, 7th pair of shoes).
In this way, you will easily calculate how much money you will still have after paying for the basic essentials.
Free Apps to Save Money in College
It seems that using pen and paper and collecting your receipts is rather old school, isn’t it? Innovative technologies to the rescue! Today, you can keep all your bills in one place online and avoid late fees, because you will receive automatic reminders whenever you need to pay a bill.
Sure, nobody wants to spend dollars on expensive apps to save money in college. Luckily, there are also several free apps to easily manage your finances online:
- Manilla.com automatically connects to your accounts and takes the bills out of your mailbox.
- Mint.com helps you organize your spending into categories (in the form of a chart), so that you could see where your money mostly goes. This app can help you set a goal (a vacation in Rome, iPhone 5, etc.), develop a plan for getting there and stick to it.
- Moneystrands.com has a feature of upcoming bills calendar. Importantly, this app has the options of multi-currency and multi-language, which would be especially valuable for international students. Another unique feature of this app is the anonymous comparison of your spending with budgets of other users who share a similar lifestyle.
All of these apps are serious about their users’ security and promise that using them to manage your accounts online is safe.
Cutting Your Expenses Whenever Possible
The next step for those who want to save money in college is to cut expenses. There are many ways to reduce academic costs. These are only a few of them:
- buy used textbooks or rent books instead of buying them (these options are available on Chegg.com, half.com, http://www.bookrenter.com/ and many others);
- look for coupons and discounts;
- avoid unplanned shopping (even if there is a 98% discount);
- cook in the dormitory and reduce your expenses on booze (did you know that US students spend 5.5 billion on alcohol, mostly beer, per year? Isn’t that too much?);
- use your student’s ID to the fullest – visit college clubs, the library and sport club – they are usually free of charge.
What do you usually do to save money in college? Please, join the conversation in the section below.