If you’re in college, then you probably have no money to spare. None at all really. Let’s face it. You’re either focusing too much time on school and can’t make money, or you’re wasting your time partying and can’t make money.
This fact becomes a little more painful when you think about all the student debt you’re accruing along the four-year (Maybe two-year? Maybe more?) journey towards a degree that is hopefully going to pay off literally.
That’s the big one that everyone thinks about, and when you add the prospect of paying for textbooks, rent, and food into the equation, you should realize that nobody was ever kidding about the broke college kid stereotype.
Well, with that being said, these are still just problems that can be worked around if you have the energy, foresight, and sometimes luck. Now I’ve written way too much to start, so let’s look at a few common ways you can limit expenses in college. Perhaps these tips will help you free up some money to put towards your student loan debt, save up for that study abroad trip you’ve always wanted to go on, or something else!
Work Part-Time Throughout College
Earlier, I mentioned you may not have time to make money during college whether it’s school or partying. Well, you should really re-think your time priorities because having a part-time job during college is quite easily the number one way to handle your expenses. If you can make money, then you aren’t going to be as stretched for cash. It’s that simple.
Of course, you’ll need to make sure you don’t start failing school while splitting time with work. If that prospect keeps you from sending applications, just remember that you could end up starving to death or getting kicked out of your apartment if you have no money to support yourself. I think both of those would contribute to you dropping out no matter how good your grades are.
Split Your Rent
This might require a bit of luck as well as some convincing (especially if you’re a terrible roommate). Rent is typically a major expense during college, and by all rights, it’ll probably take most of your paycheck. However, if you can find a roommate, you should be able to reduce that expense significantly. It’s a fairly pragmatic approach to the rent equation, and if you can find someone who likes saving money, then you’ll probably be in the clear. Just one more thing, you’ll probably want to be comfortable with whoever you room with.
Buy Food in Bulk & Plan Out Your Meals
First, let’s look at the most common and most detrimental scenario when it comes to food. Most college students order delivery or get takeout all the time, and quite honestly, that’s the perfect way to turn the food expense into an absolute wallet killer. You’re just going to be paying much, much more for food this way.
As a solution, you may want to start trying your hand at grocery shopping! *Gasp* It might be something that sounds like a chore because it is a chore; however, grocery shopping is the cheapest alternative to ordering a $23 pizza every other night. If you can plan out your meals and purchase groceries accordingly, then you’ll be in a great spot both financially and physically.
Whoa, whoa, just keep reading for a second. If we’re talking about supporting yourself through education financially, then you’re going to need to scrutinize major expenses. Let’s be real; alcohol is easily in the top five for college expenses. With that being said, if you were to theoretically cut out beer and liquor from your budget, then you’re easily going to save a ton of money.
Of course, from a college kid perspective this may seem drastic. How else are you going to socialize effectively? Well for starters, you could give partying sober a try. Who knows? You might discover something about yourself. If that won’t work, there are a couple of compromises to quitting cold turkey. One, drink less! Two, split alcohol with a friend! Three, get a job and be able to handle the cost of alcohol!
Buy Used Textbooks or Borrow Them
I could have easily stopped writing this article, but you cannot talk about college expenses without mentioning textbooks. The cost of college textbooks is ridiculous; in fact, I think it’s a joke. They cost a ton of money, and they become “outdated” after a year or two. I’ve seen plenty of kids buy textbooks for $600 without actually opening or learning from that textbook. It’s sad, and you could say it’s almost borderline robbery.
Just don’t fall for it. There are a couple of ways to safeguard yourself from dishing out hundreds of dollars for a book on psychology. Not every class is going to need the textbook that is recommended for it. So, approach your teacher as soon as possible and discuss how the textbook will be used. If it’s not a big factor, then boom, you are one textbook richer.
If it is an important part of the class, then there are a couple of other ways to reduce the cost. Look online anywhere else that isn’t your school’s bookstore. Check social media for people selling their books for cheap, check Amazon, or check any other book dealer. You can find them cheaper elsewhere.
You could try picking up an older textbook on the subject. They will be much cheaper, and oftentimes, there are only a few minor tweaks made to them from year to year. You could try sharing a textbook with a partner, splitting the cost.