How to Save Money in College

Everyone learns so much in college. Along with what is taught in the classroom, there are invaluable life experiences to be had in college, including how to budget. Most college students don’t have a big paycheck deposited into their accounts every other week, so it’s important to learn how to budget carefully so you don’t overspend, especially if you have student loans. The last thing you want to do is take out more money to cover your expenses, and then have to pay it all back when you graduate. Here are some easy tips and tricks we’ve learned to help you get your finances in order for college.

Make a budget

This might seem like an obvious first step, but it is the most important one. Being able to track how much you have coming in versus how you spend will be a great tool to have in your belt as you get older. There are tons of easy-to-use budgets you can find online to make it easy for you to see how much money you really have each month after you pay your bills. It’ll also help you see where you might be overspending, and help you see hidden charges you hadn’t thought about before. Tuition and fees, room and board, food, gas, utilities, internet and cable—these are just some of the things you’ll need to consider. Some people find it helpful to create a monthly budget, while others find it better to create one for each semester. Whichever way works best for you, stick to it and be honest.

Look for deals

Deals are a college kid’s best friend. Did you know that tons of places—like restaurants, movie theaters, stores, and more—offer student discounts? All you have to do is show them your student ID and you could be saving bundles. Check out your college website, or google your favorite places to see if they offer any student discounts. You could even save money on trips and excursions. Make sure you ask everywhere you go if they offer a student discount, and it could save you a bundle.

Be careful with credit cards

A credit card may seem like a gift, but it’s one with some serious strings attached. If you apply for and get a credit card, be aware of the interest rate. A number of cards will have a grace period when you first sign up when there won’t be any interest charged to your purchases, but that period will eventually end, and the interest could hurt you. If you do decide to get a credit card, get it for a specific purpose, like emergencies or school fees only. And make sure that you pay off your credit card each month. It’ll help avoid any interest fees.

Do your research

Before you make any sizable purchase, do your research. This includes for school items like textbooks. There may be better prices out there than what the school bookstore offers. Websites like Half.com are a great place to find amazing deals on used textbooks. Ask your teachers how often the book will be used—you might be able to just check it out from the library. Or if you know a friend who is taking the same class, see if they’d be interested in splitting the cost of an expensive textbook with you. Doing your research on all purchases (and not just textbooks) could help you save a great deal of money that you could use for other, more fun things.

Don’t let the costs of college get you bogged down. With the right tools and the right budget, you can easily afford all the wonderful things that college has to offer. Speak with a member of the Dime team today at 1-800-321-DIME (3463) about setting up a savings and checking account to help you make the most of your money.