How to live on a college student budget is one of life’s seemingly unsolved mysteries. It is almost unheard of that a student goes their entire college career without struggling with their budget. While it’s a horrible rite of passage we all have to face, there are some money saving tips that you can take to make your first year of college easier to manage.
1. Yes, you have to learn how to cook.
Sure pizzas and dining hall food for three meals a day sounds like the perfect and typical college freshman diet plan, but it is also the clear shot way to gain the other freshman gift: the freshman 15. You can save a ton of money and lead a healthier lifestyle by cooking your own meals and packing your own snacks to take with you around campus. Not only will your pockets thank you but so will your body.
2. Research Cheaper Textbook Options
As frustrating as it can be to buy new editions of textbooks that you will only need for a few months, you can’t avoid paying for textbooks. Textbooks are the highest college expense only after room and board. What you can do is research to see what the most affordable textbook options are. See if there is an online download version of the book or if you can rent textbooks for your classes.
3. Work Hard For the Money
While it may be difficult to balance a work, social and school life, getting a part-time job can help you have a little extra cash in your pockets. By getting an on-campus job, you will have a bit more flexibility because on-campus jobs are often willing to work around your school schedule. Remember, to save money you have to make money.
4. Do It Yourself
Dorms may not be the lavish living that you are used to from being at home with mom and dad, but you can still make your living space stylish and comfortable on a budget. Read up on do-it-yourself home decorating projects. It is a great way to relax while making your dorm room look nifty. Also, do not pass up on garage sales or thrift stores. There are lots of hidden gems to be found for a fraction of the cost. Remember: you will spend a lot of time in your dorm room so it is important that your home is enjoyable to you.
5. Find the Freebies
There are a ton of free entertainment activities, events, gyms and more that are available for college students. Don’t be afraid to ask around. Some of the most fun events are free!
Once you master these tips, you will become the go-to person for all your friends on how to have a great time in college on a budget. All it takes is a tiny bit of research and a simple plan and you can avoid many of the usual freshman woes.