The Freshman’s Guide to Saving Money: Saving Money During the School Year | 06.22.12

Posted in College Life, financial aid tips, News By Student Loan Network Staff

Welcome back readers.  For those just tuning in, I’m a student who recently completed his freshman year of college.

Student with Empty Wallet

College is a blast, but it’s also expensive.  After breaking the bank this past year, I’m here with advice on how to have a great time in college without spending your entire summer paycheck.

Purchasing tickets to shows/sports events

  1. Look for student discounts – When purchasing tickets to a concert, movie, sports game, etc., always see if you can get a student discount. Many such shows offer tickets at a discounted price to students.
  2. Buy cheap seats - You may really want first row seats to see your favorite team, but for the price they charge, it may not be worth it. When going to shows or sports events with friends, buy bleacher seats – You’re still going to see your favorite athlete and have a great time.

Getting a job

  1. On-camus jobs – See if you can work as a note taker for any of your classes.  Last semester, I got a job as a note taker for two of my classes.  I got paid to upload my notes from these two classes.  In addition, look into getting a job as a desk assistant or another security-related job.  Many of these jobs allow you to do schoolwork when you are not busy – which will be the case the vast majority of the time – so you will ultimately be paid to do your homework.
  2. Off-campus jobs – Off-campus jobs offer potential for earning higher wages than on-campus jobs, but, while on-campus jobs understand that school comes first, off-campus jobs won’t be as understanding if you want to take the night off to write your essay.

Carrying money

If you’re anything like me, you’ll spend it.  Instead, carry $5-$10 on you at a time and, if you plan on spending more, then take out more from your bank account.

End-of-year fees

Many schools charge dorm fees to students whose rooms are messy, damaged, or have parts of the wall that need to be painted after moving out, and these fees are very steep.  Be sure to vacuum your room before leaving for the summer, and, if a part of your wall needs re-painting, then fix it – just be sure that you buy the right color paint.

Buying food

  1. Be careful of how often you order takeout, it will really take a toll on your bank account.
  2. Always buy in bulk.  If you go to the store to buy a can of soda, buy a 12 pack instead and bring the other 11 cans back to your room.
  3. Buy store-brand foods.  In college, you will soon learn that the savings for buying store brand foods over the real thing outweighs any difference in quality.

Cost of cars

Many schools charge a fee for parking, not to mention the cost of gas for your car, so don’t bring your car if you can avoid it.

Money is just paper

A wise man once told me, “Money is just paper.  It’s something we need in life, but it’s just paper.”  While it’s important that you don’t overindulge in spending, frugality may cause you to miss out on some great experiences.  Moderation is the key.  If your favorite band is playing a concert, and you can afford it, then go, but don’t pay $100 to see an artist that you’ve never heard of just because your friend is going.  If you’re used to buying a coffee every day, then start buying a coffee every other day, and eventually cut it down to buying one cup a week.

Be sure to watch for my next post coming in the weeks ahead.

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