There’s no getting around it. College is expensive. The average American college student now graduates with $30,000 of student loans. Not only do these college students have tuition to pay, but they also need money to pay for rent or dorm fees, textbooks, food, and general living expenses.
Graduation from college should be an exciting time. Because of student loan debt however, graduation ends up being really stressful for many new grads. Since the debt repayment clock starts ticking the moment you’re handed your degree, you should use your college years as productively and frugally as possible to minimize your need for student loans.
Every dollar saved or earned throughout the school year is a dollar not racked up in student loan debt. Use these 5 ways to try to save money this fall when you head back to college.
Look for Used or Cheap Dorm Supplies
A few of the items that college students typically look for when getting ready for campus living are mini-fridges, bookshelves, lamps, and bicycles, among other things. Save yourself money by looking for those items used, instead of buying them new. Most of the items needed for college living are easily found for much lower prices on Craigslist or at yard sales.
Rent Your Course Books
College textbook prices can easily soar above $500 per semester. Instead of paying full price for a brand new book or even half price for used, save up to 90% of the cost by renting. Unless it’s a book that you plan on referencing for the rest of college or your professional career, it really just isn’t worth it to buy your books. BookRenter and Amazon Textbook Renter are two popular sites for renting the necessary course books for college classes.
Apply for a Campus Job
Apply for a campus job so that you will have more money to put towards tuition. By working through college you won’t have to rely as heavily on student loans to finish your degree. Campus jobs are an especially great way to earn money, since your employer will work your job schedule around your course schedule.
When looking for a college campus job, take advantage of your campus’s career resource center and talk to a counselor. They can help you learn to write a professional resume as well as help you to apply for any of the listed jobs on campus. Campus Job is also a great website for searching through job listings to find a campus job that’s right for you.
Apply to be a Resident Assistant
Another great way to save money at college is to apply for a position as a resident assistant (RA) of a dormitory. Most colleges have open RA positions that you can apply for to receive either discounted dorm fees, a stipend, or in some cases even both.
If you are hired as an RA you will have certain responsibilities and duties to perform in lieu of your reduced rate or stipend. Some of those jobs may include assisting with check-in on move-in day, sitting on RA duty to help other dormitory residents throughout the school year, and helping with check-out at the end of the year.
Besides saving money on your dormitory fee and/or earning a stipend, another perk is that college students can list being an RA on their job applications once finished with school.
Use Coupon Apps to Save Money on Everyday Purchases
A large portion of your budget in college will go towards food spending, especially if you live off campus. Don’t plan on living a cliché and surviving off of Ramen noodles for the whole four years. When spending money on food, drinks, and everyday purchases, use a coupon app that serves you by both saving money and giving you cash back on your purchases. Ibotta: The Cash Back App, Checkout 51, and Snap by Groupon are three great apps that save you money with coupons as well as giving you cash back on your everyday purchases.
Make the most of your money
College is expensive enough without adding unnecessary spending into an already tight budget. Let your money work harder for you through your college years by making smart money decisions. Try to make do with used items when possible, rent your books instead of buying them, and be smart about everyday purchases. Every dollar saved through college is one less dollar you’ll have to struggle to pay off in loans once you graduate.
What money saving choices are you making as a college student? If you already have your degree, did you use any of these ways to save money in college?