Many people say that their college years were the best years of their lives, and it’s easy to see why. College is an exciting place to be, and for many young people, it represents their first true taste of adulthood as they leave the family home behind and start on their journey towards true independence.
During your college years, you’ll have countless opportunities to learn new skills that could help in your future career (read more about how to determine your career path). You can also meet new friends that might become your best pals for the rest of your life, participate in all kinds of interesting extra-curricular activities to discover untapped passions, and, of course, attend parties and social gatherings you can look back on fondly for years to come.
However, while college brings a lot of fun and excitement, it also brings entirely new responsibilities for young people to take into account. Parents will no longer be around to cook your meals and clean your clothes, and it’s up to you to look after yourself as well as you can, and with many students having to worry about tens of thousands of dollars of debt, saving money is often a priority.
Every penny you save during your college years can add up and help you pay back your debt more quickly later on, as well as assisting with building up your savings for big purchases like cars or homes, but with so many costs to take into account for books, food, and more, how can you find ways to save? Here are some key tips to keep in mind.
One of the best tips for young people who want to get their finances under control is to actually take the time to learn more about money in general. There are various free educational tools online that can expand your financial knowledge and help you make better decisions with your money. Make the most of these resources and become a smarter spender.
Make Your Own Meals
Many college students can fall victim to the famed ‘Freshman 15’ – 15 lbs of extra weight that young people tend to pile on due to relying too much on fast food and junk snacks during their early weeks at college. Don’t make the same mistake! Protect your body and your bank account by making your own meals with fresh, affordable ingredients instead.
Use Public Transport
Many college students want to own their own cars, but since you’re going to be spending a lot of your time on campus, having a vehicle sitting in the parking lot isn’t the advantage that it might seem at first. You can waste a lot of money on auto insurance during your college years without even needing to use your car all that much, so it might make sense to opt for public transport and ride shares instead.
Use Coupons and Promos
Being smart with your money is all about looking for savings wherever you can find them and making the most of every opportunity that keeps a few extra dollars in your pocket. So don’t be afraid to make use of coupons and promo codes at every opportunity. Don’t buy anything without checking if you can get it cheaper with a code or in a sale elsewhere, and your savings will really start to add up over time.
Look for Free Fun
There are a lot of different ways to have fun in college, and not all of them cost money. You can find plenty of free and fun activities right on campus if you take a look around, and there are also all kinds of free art, music, and cultural events in towns and cities too. Keep up with free events near you and save cash on days out with your friends.
Use Your ID
Your student ID isn’t just good for getting into certain parts of campus, it can also be used to grant big discounts and exclusive savings on a range of products and services. You might be surprised to see just how many stores, restaurants, and other locations offer cheaper prices for students, so make sure to keep your ID with you at all times and ask every business you visit if they have cheaper prices for students.
Saving a few dollars here and there might not seem like much, but every bit of money adds up over time, and if you can get into good spending and saving habits during your college years, you’ll be in a much better financial position for the future.