Money Saving Tips for New College Students

The new school year is approaching and soon many recent high school graduates will venture into a new segment of their lives, the college years. Apart from getting used to the heavy course loads and assignments, students have to learn to handle their finances in a mature manner which involves good judgment and smart spending.

The following tips and guidelines are created to help college students adapt to their new lifestyle in a financially smart manner:

  1. Create a Personal Budget and Learn to Stick to It
  2. Consider Financial Aid to Help with Tuition
  3. Buy Used Books to Offset Textbook Expenses
  4. Take Steps to Protect Your Identity
  5. Go Easy on Credit Cards
  6. Look for Deals Geared Toward Students
  7. Take Care of Yourself by Taking Advantage of School Services
  8. Don’t Waste Money on Entertainment

1. Create a Personal Budget and Learn to Stick to It

Any personal finance expert will tell you that creating and following a personal budget is the smartest method in being financially efficient. A personal budget will spell out exactly how much money you have and what your expenses are. This method will refrain students from overspending and will also teach them to live within their means.

2. Consider Financial Aid to Help with Tuition


All students should allocate some time to research and apply for scholarships and grants, which can alleviate some of the financial pressure put on by college related expenses. Students should also shop around for student loans and look for the best possible interest rate. Students should choose a loan program that initiates charging interest only after they graduate from college. These types of loan programs can save students thousands of dollars in interest charges.

3. Buy Used Books to Offset Textbook Expenses

With an average textbook priced at well above a $100, college students should look into buying used textbooks from other students or bookstores. Students should keep a close vigilance on campus fliers and student newspapers for possible textbook bargains. Internet based textbook retailers such as www.collegetext.com enables students to sell, buy and trade textbooks with other students.

4. Take Steps to Protect Your Identity

Protecting sensitive personal information has been a major hurdle for many college students who reside in campus dorms. According to www.bankrate.com, forty-nine percent of college students receive credit card applications on a daily or weekly basis and almost thirty percent of students throw out credit card applications without destroying them. Also, since most of the universities use students’ social security number as the primary student ID number, these students face an additional risk of losing their personal information to prying identity thieves.

To minimize this threat, students should refrain from storing significant personal documentations such as, social security cards, passports, birth certificates, PIN numbers and other important documents in their campus dorm rooms. Students can also request universities to stop using their social security number as their primary student ID number and ask them to assign a random student ID number.

5. Go Easy on Credit Cards

Nowadays, all college students have at least 2-5 credit cards in their wallets and almost all of them use it for their everyday purchases. Credit cards are useful and efficient as long as you pay off your balance in full each month. If you have a habit of charging everything to your Visa or MasterCard and payoff only the minimum payment due each month, you will end up with thousands of dollars in credit card debt when you leave college after four years.

6. Look for Deals Geared Toward Students

Students can cut back on everyday expenses by looking for good deals around campus. Almost all merchants near major universities offer discounts to students and these savings can save hundreds of dollars in the long run. This can apply to discounts at restaurants and entertainment venues as well as shops and stores. Be sure to carry your student ID so you will be prepared.

Inexpensive transportation passes, discounted calling cards, discounted movie passes and free wireless Internet access are some of the other ways of cutting down your expenses during your college years.

7. Take Care of Yourself by Taking Advantage of School Services

Most universities offer its students free gym access and medical services, which can be quite expensive outside the campus. Be sure to ask your advisor which services are available to you, and then take advantage of them! That’s what they are for, and your success in school will be affected by your overall health.

8. Don’t Waste Money on Entertainment

There will be no end of things to keep you occupied at school that won’t cost you a dime. Your primary goal should be getting an education, of course, but there will still be plenty of opportunities to cut loose and decompress. Keep yourself busy with the endless activities and social functions that take place at the school and the surrounding area. These functions are usually geared toward students and are free for students to attend. This can include all forms of entertainment, from movies and live theater to concerts from famous musicians.

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