5 essential money tips for the struggling college student

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Packing your bags, buying the essentials and heading off to college is a life-changing experience for anyone that decides to stay in education. With partying becoming a staple part of most student’s lives, it is essential to find the balance between having fun and focusing on work. This also comes with the pressure to make sure that you budget for your new lifestyle – something that can be very daunting if you’ve never done it before!

Textbook costs

When getting ready for your upcoming course, it can be overwhelming to see just how much some of the textbooks cost; students in America spend on average $1200 per year on their books alone! There are now plenty of online sites that are set up for students to trade in their old books for the freshman to buy at a fraction of the price. Some local bookstores around the college campus even have sections dedicated to second-hand textbooks for college courses, so it’s probably worth checking them out before burning through your money.

Student discounts

When shopping around try and look for somewhere that accepts student discounts. They’re there for a reason – to help students out! It’s not only for food either. When doing any shopping or activity, there usually is somewhere that will offer the goods at a discount if you search for them. If you just can’t stay away from takeout, then you could be in luck as a lot of delivery places now offer discounts too. But buying at the store is a much cheaper option overall.

Smart shopping

While having an outfit with all brand names may seem like it’s important, with a lot of these things you can’t even notice the difference between that and a cheaper copycat. So when looking for some new school supplies, cleaning brands, or food, buying the store’s own version can save a lot of money in the long run. This also comes into play if you fall into the coffee hole. While the local coffee shop may seem like the easy option, if you do this every day you’ll be losing a lot of money. Start making some at home instead to save the pennies.

Clever banking

Once people thought students should immediately get a credit card, but this isn’t always the most sensible option. If you’re brilliant at handling money and know you will always be able to pay it back immediately, then college can be an excellent time to start building a credit score. However, if you don’t want the added pressure of possibly getting into debt you can’t easily get out of, then shopping around for a great bank is the next best thing. There are plenty of accounts aimed at students that come with overdrafts, no fees and reasonable interest rates meaning you can be making money without trying.

Budgeting

Yes, it’s a boring subject. But with the right budgeting, you know how much money you have to spend on what. If you’re struggling to keep track of it all (and perhaps don’t want to ask for help from your parents), then there are plenty of apps out there that can help you set up sensible budgets, as well as tracking whereabouts your money is going each month. You could discover you’re paying for something completely unnecessary, such as a gym membership when your campus offers a free service!

Unfortunately, no matter which way you look at it, going to college is always going to be expensive. However, it can also be the best time of any young person’s life! With the right money management, there is nothing to stop any student from being able to enjoy themselves while still working towards the grades they want.

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