Attending college may very well be one of the most exciting time periods in your life. However, for some college students, it is often one of the most expensive time periods as well. Fortunately, there are many great ways to save money while attending college, and the following four tips are definitely worth considering.
Be Leery of Student Loans
Perhaps the most important money saving tip for college students today is to be leery of taking out student loans. If at all possible, apply for such things as Federal Pell Grants or scholarships instead. While you will need to repay student loans, you will not need to pay back any funds received through Pell Grants or scholarships.
If you find that a Pell Grant will not provide you with enough funds for everything you need, check out the various scholarships that your school offers. If you miss the deadlines for scholarships and decide to take out a student loan, accept only the amount of money that you think you will need.
Consider Alternatives for Purchasing Books
Even if you qualify for some type of financial assistance for your college education, you will discover that college textbooks can put a sizable dent in your budget. Fortunately, there are several ways you can stretch your money in this area, and one way is to consider renting your textbooks rather than buying them.
If you would like to keep your books after graduating, another alternative is to buy used textbooks from a used book store or from other students. Craiglist is a great place to find used textbooks. Finally, some courses require students to register with websites outside of the college to complete coursework. Take note of these courses as they often include the textbooks you need in e-form.
Design a Realistic Budget
Another crucial money saving tip for college students is to design a realistic budget and stick to it. Write down the amount of money you have available to you for personal finances on the top of a sheet of paper. Next, write down all of your essential bills and expenditures. These should include things that you absolutely cannot go without.
If there is anything leftover, you can allot this extra money to such things as entertainment or your savings account. If there is nothing leftover or if you are short of funds, you will need to go through your essential bills and expenditures and look for ways that you can save money.
Look for Student-Friendly Banks
It is a smart idea for college students to maintain some sort of bank account. Bank accounts can help students by ensuring that their money is safe and secure. Furthermore, many people are less likely to spend their money unwisely when it is kept in a checking or saving account.
If you are a financial aid recipient, you can also access your financial aid much quicker if you have a bank account. However, before you choose to open a checking or saving account, make sure that you shop around first. Look for banks that are student-friendly. Many banks offer free checking and savings accounts to students attending college.
These are just some of the most crucial money saving tips for college students today. Some other valuable tips you may want to consider include riding a bike rather than driving a car, making use of coupons when shopping, steering away from credit cards, and registering for only those courses that are required for your program of study.