Summer is coming to an end, which means that your freshman year of college is starting, and it’s coming fast. For many students, this is your first time with real financial responsibility. You have to budget, and what the heck does that mean? Having a plan, who does that? You do! There are so many shortcuts that you can take to save money. Check out my top five list:
1. Shop around for books. Seems like a totally logical statement, right? My freshman year at Georgia Southern, I just assumed that the university’s bookstore would have the cheapest prices. You know, since they took all my money already, right? Wrong! One site I shop for book at all the time is Amazon. They sell both new and used books. You can also sell your books back at the end of the semester and get money back. You can get Amazon Prime (free two day shipping on tons of products) for cheaper since you’re a student. Use this affiliate link to find out more on that. Another fantastic site is Chegg. They sell and buy textbooks. Again, you can get new and used books from there, and sell them back at the end of the semester. I used to be afraid of getting used books, but I’ve found that more often than not, it’s okay, and way cheaper. You can also rent your textbooks, but you won’t get any buyback money at the end of the semester if that’s what you choose. No matter what, look around. Some classes may have university published textbooks, so you don’t have a choice where to buy them, but it never hurts to try.
2. Meal Plan. Whether that means buying a campus meal plan (sometimes required for your freshman year, especially if you’re already required to live on campus), or just planning what you’re going to cook for the week… planning out your meals can save a ton of money. Planned meals means less waste, less waste means less wasted money. Campus meal plans are a bigger expense up front, but you won’t be worrying about buying food all the time, which will save you on a day-to-day basis. Some universities also let you use meal plan credits at convenience stores on campus as well. It’s a win win, as long as you don’t get tired of campus food.
3. Go without a car if you can. Yes, you read that right. If you’re living on campus (especially if you’re somewhat close to home), a car might not be a necessity. Some colleges don’t even allow freshman to have cars on campus. Parking passes can be expensive, and you might not drive as much as you think you will. Most schools have campus/public transportation systems that allow you to get around campus and town fairly easily. Even better? You’ll get some exercise to fight that dreaded freshman fifteen. You’ll be saving on gas too. If you do have a car, try to carpool when it’s possible. If you and your friends are going the same place, take turns driving, or have them pitch in for gas. Every little bit helps.
4. Scholarships. There are so many different kinds of scholarships that you can apply for. My first semester at Georgia Southern, I paid a whopping $108, including my books. Between academic scholarships and financial aid, I managed to get by really well my freshman year. This scholarship search tool has been super helpful for me. You can find tons of scholarships you’d never think about applying for. Local scholarships are another great option too.
5. Get a job. Though it might not be saving you money, you’ll be making money. And, you won’t be spending money while you’re working. There are several on-campus options for work, as well as around your town. Most employers universities are very flexible to work with you around your class schedule. You’ll also be building your resume as well, which is always helpful. Get creative with your job search, you might be able to find something super awesome that will lead to more opportunities after graduation.
Do you have something else to add to the list? I’d love to hear how you saved money (or are planning to) while you’re at school. Leave it in the comments!
God Bless ♥ Victoria