For a college student, living on a budget can be extremely challenging. Summer jobs for teens are difficult to come by. More and more summer internships are now unpaid ones. It’s hard for college students to earn extra money, and so they have to be more savvy and creative in their spending habits.
The first thing you can do as a student is to learn how to budget your money. Tracking all your expenses for a month is key because it is easy to spend money and have no idea where it went.
Some other things you can do to reduce your costs are:
1) Rent books. It’s best to find out your classes as soon as possible so that you will have time to search online for the right editions before school starts. If you wait until the last minute, you will probably be forced to buy new books.
2) If you have to buy books, buy them used, and sell them back online at the end of the year to recoup at least a portion of your expenses.
3) Rent a house with several other people to cut down on monthly expenditures.
4) Save on utilities by lowering heat in the winter and using air conditioning minimally in the summer. Turn off lights, unplug appliances and electronics when not in use.
5) Get barebone services for internet and cable. You can even just use your computer to access programs on sites like Hulu.com
6) Bike or use mass transit whenever possible. A car, car maintenance, parking fees, gas and insurance are expensive.
7) If you drive home, try to carpool, and you can recruit riders to help pay for gas.
8) Maintain good grades as you can get a good student driver’s discount on car insurance, and it will help when you apply for scholarships.
9) Buy clothes, furniture and other necessities at thrift stores, yard sales or Goodwill.
10) Get your fresh vegetables at the farmer’s market. Use coupons for grocery shopping and dining out. You can save more money and eat healthier by cooking most of your meals in.
11) Get your haircuts done through friends or through barber and cosmetology schools at discounted prices.
12) If you live near a dental or dental hygiene college, you can get dental checkups and cleanings for a lot less.
13) Don’t buy bottled water. It’s expensive and it’s environmentally unfriendly. Use a reusable water bottle instead.
14) For entertainment, check out free movies and books at the library. Search online for free or inexpensive fun activities in your area that you can do on the weekends. Check to see if local businesses give student discounts.
By learning to stretch and make the most of your money, you are learning important life lessons that will help you when start earning a salary in the real world.