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How to Save Money as a New College Student

When you’re a college student money can be tight. Finding ways to save a few bucks here and there might be the difference between a real dinner or another night of ramen noodles on the couch. Learning to live on a budget can be challenging but identifying where you spend too much each month can help you afford everything you want and need. It might take a little sacrifice and some savvy planning but that feeling of having some extra cash in your pocket is often much more satisfying than any impulse purchase. If you’re looking to keep more money in the bank instead of getting those constant low balance alerts, then check out some of these helpful hints for saving money.

Cut Down on Your Expenses

Sounds like it’s much easier said than done but there are plenty of ways to lower your monthly costs on just about everything. Sharing your living expenses with a roommate or two can bring down your financial commitments across the board on rent, utilities, even cable and the phone bill if you have a landline. Speaking of the cable bill, a lot of people are “cutting the cord” now, opting for less expensive alternatives like a Roku box or Apple TV. You may still need to subscribe to online services like Hulu or Netflix but if you do the math it’s still far less expensive than most cable packages these days. Though if you absolutely need to have cable for things like ESPN and cable news, then go with the base model and cut out the pricey movie packages.

Pay Your Bills on Time

Whether it’s your cell phone, your cable bill, and particularly your credit card bill, you want to pay those things on time every month. If you don’t then you can start to take on late payment fees and credit cards can be really brutal with annual percentage rates (APR) that can get as high as 24%, you’ll be shelling out more money just for the privilege of carrying a balance on that card. Don’t pay the hefty fees that come with interest, pay off your credit card balance on time, as well as those other necessary monthly payments. You’ll save money and you’ll maintain good credit in the process. It’s a win-win.

Be Smart about School Supplies

Textbooks can get outrageously expensive. Here’s a pro tip, buy them used. Don’t ever buy new. You’re just throwing money away. Just about every campus bookstore has a used section and some of them let you even rent the books instead of purchasing them used. If you do buy books, new or used, then you should consider selling them at the end of the semester or whenever your course is finished. Keep the library in mind as well, for those books that you’ll only need for a short period of time in class. It’s a terrific resource for grabbing those volumes that are temporary.

Find other ways to cut down on your supply costs by using a laptop or tablet instead of having to keep buy notebooks that will fill up fast or seeking out student discounts on the things you really need for class. Most college towns like those you may find across the country from Maryville University to UCLA offer discounts on just about everything if you can show them a student ID.

Getting Around

Simple. Take public transportation. The bus and the subway are far more affordable than owning a car and slightly more frugal than springing for Uber or Lyft. Get a bike to get around and you won’t have to worry about getting a gym membership either. Two birds, one stone!

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