Wednesday, August 22, 2012

5 Ways to Help College Student Save Money Once College Begins

It is often stated that it is the little things that add up and cost you a lot.

Well after my first few weeks of college last year, I quickly learned that pizza, mid-day snacks, Starbucks, t-shirts and little items here and there was quickly draining my bank account. I had to take action to save money immediately and here are the steps I took.

1. Stock Up on Food

If you are able to go home during the semester, make sure to stock up on food. It will most likely be cheaper than your stores at school, especially if you go to school in a big city like I do! Plus if your mom is a good cook and have freezer space in your dorm, ask your mom to make favorite dishes and even soup and freeze it. This will save you money, prep time and clean up time too!.

In addition, stock up on cheap favorite foods you like. Ready to eat and simple to cook items are best like pasta, popcorn, granola bars and health snacks are perfect for study sessions and having it in your room will stop you from spending money to order out.

2. Brew It Yourself

A cup of coffee or tea runs $2 or more per cup, but brewing your own coffee or tea is often less than $0.25! So get your own coffee pot, electric tea kettle, or Keurig and a travel mug and instead of making Starbucks part of your everyday routine (trust me it’s easy to do!) brew your own coffee, tea or hot chocolate.

3. Join Amazon Student

Amazon has this great program where you can use your .edu email address to sign up for Amazon student. For 6 months you can get free Amazon Prime benefits that include free 2-day shipping. After the 6 month time period you can also get 50% off amazon prime as long as you are a student.

4. Direct Deposit, Cash & Credit Cards

If you have a job, have them direct deposit your check into your account. This will keep it from “burning a whole in your pocket.”

My view on cash and credit cards is carry $20 or less and only carry your credit card if you know what you are going to purchase. Until you get managing your money under control it is always better to think over a purchase for a few days rather than to buy on impulse.

5. Set a Budget & Track What You Spend

It can be so easy just to whip out your debit or credit card whenever you need it. It also makes it easier to overspend. However if you look at how much you earned this summer and set a monthly budget you can manage you money effectively.

A good way to stay on track is to keep your receipts and log how much you spend or check to see if you bank has an app for your phone to keep track of how much money you have. By checking your spending and comparing that against your budget you will know if you are on track or need to make adjustments to reduce spending.

When you finally get on your own you'll realize that spending money is easy, however learning good money management skills now will help you during your first year in college and throughout your life.

A Special Thanks to our guest blogger
Bekah Troutman of George Washington University

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