Earning a college degree is notoriously expensive, but you don’t have to go broke getting an education. The college experience needn’t include costly habits and growing credit card debt. Try these strategies for staying in the green during your college years.
If you want to live in a dorm, consider becoming an RA for free room and board. If you’re looking to get an apartment, this is a money-saving option as well. A full kitchen allows you to prepare meals at home for cheap. Sharing with roommates will drastically reduce your rent. Consider bunking up two to a room for the biggest savings. Whenever possible, opt for an apartment within walking distance of campus to save on transportation costs as well.
Fight the Fast Food Demons
Picking up fast food is always tempting when you’re rushing through a busy day, but it puts a huge dent in your bank account. To prevent these purchases, try the following:
- Brew coffee at home in the morning and take it with you to avoid Starbucks stops.
- Pack a lunch when you’re gone during midday.
- Keep snacks in your bag to help you avoid vending machine buys.
- Carry a water bottle. You’ll often feel hungry when you’re really thirsty.
- Start dinner in a slow cooker before you leave for the day.
Enroll in Online Courses
Classes that are held online are often cheaper than those on campus. You’ll also save time and gas when you don’t need to go to and from class. If you have a family, online classes will allow you to stay home with them instead of hiring a babysitter. Look for online alternatives to your courses when possible.
Enjoy Affordable Recreation
You don’t have to hit up expensive clubs and bars or take a cruise every Spring Break to get the most out of your college experience. Become the party host yourself and you’ll save a fortune by screening movies at home, holding BYOB parties, and having potluck meals instead of pricy dinners out. Give your parties a fun theme and no one will notice that you’re opting for the cheaper alternative.
Use Student Discounts
Never buy anything without asking if you can get a student discount. When you live near a college campus, you can often find discounts on everything from movie tickets to bookstore buys. Restaurants in college towns are known for having special student discounts too, when you opt to eat out from time to time.
Stay Away from New Books
With used bookstores, there’s no reason to buy a book new. That residual highlighting may even help you. Textbooks aren’t the only thing to buy used. Study guides, dictionaries, and even beach reads are much cheaper when they’re pre-owned. E-books are another frugal alternative for textbooks and recreational reading alike.
Don’t let money hold you back from your accounting mba or other continuing education. When you’re smart about how you spend, you’ll find that you can meet all your college goals on even the smallest budget.