Ten ways to make living on a budget easier
The vast majority of college students live on a budget so tight they can’t even afford to pay attention in class (zing!). But seriously, if you’ve used up all your financial aid money and find yourself contemplating whether buying toilet paper is really a necessity, it’s time to take action. The tips below can help you save your pennies and improve your financial situation.
- Buy used textbooks. Why spend $150 on a brand-new book you’re probably not going to read when you can spend $75 on a used one? Get started early on your textbook shopping so you don’t miss out on all the cheap prices. If you can’t find a used book, try ordering the textbook from an online retailer. You may be able to find a better deal than your school’s bookstore offers.
- Don’t buy the textbooks. Check if your library has the textbook on reserve. It’s a bit more of a hassle, but you can save a lot of money by doing your reading in the library.
- Sell your textbooks. At the end of each semester, determine whether you are going to need your textbooks ever again. If not, sell them back to the school or directly to students enrolled in the same class the following semester. Do this as early as you can so there’s still demand for your book.
- Live without a car. Gas, insurance and regular maintenance really add up. Plus, nothing breaks the bank like getting into an accident. Walk, ride a bike or take public transportation if you can.
- Avoid vices. Cigarettes, alcohol, marijuana and gambling all drain money from your bank account. You can leave room in your budget for a beer or two (or three or four) on weekends, but don’t go overboard. Do you really need to rush to the bar at last call to buy two more shots that you’re probably just going to end up spilling all over yourself?
- Pass your classes. Work hard at achieving academic success. It’s very expensive to have to take a course more than once.
- Pack a lunch. On-campus restaurants always have inflated prices.
- Seek out student discounts. Many places - including some restaurants, theaters and bus lines - offer discounts to anyone with a student identification card.
- Never turn down free stuff. Go to all the career fairs you can and take as many free pens, pencils and notebooks as you can get your hands on. Go to any event offering free food.
- Have poor friends. If you hang out with rich kids, you will inevitably want to live the same lifestyle.