College is a huge stepping-stone in your life: you take your first step out of the nest, in search of new horizons. However, this newfound independence comes at a cost, literally. Being a college student can take a heavy toll on your wallet.
As you’ve probably already spent a ton on boarding and tuition, taking more loans just to pay for daily needs will be a pain in the neck. The best way to avoid this is to budget your money. Here are a couple of practical life hacks to help out with savings and make handling finances a bit easier in the long run.
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Look for a Bargain
Save up some money by repurposing items or going on the full-on DIY route:
- Visit a few yard sales during the weekend. With a little bit of luck, one can find some quality furniture and many other useful items.
- For those looking to buy a laptop and other electronics for schoolwork, there are plenty of online sellers that sell quality refurbished computers at a lower price.
- Look for secondhand items in online stores. Many social media platforms will have neighborhood and yard-sale groups that one can take advantage of.
- Ask family and friends for help. They may have whatever it is you need.
- Check out thrift stores to find quality clothes, pans, pots, and many other necessities. Each store will have a different set of goods, with some carrying more clothing or household goods, and some will even have items that are almost brand-new.
Borrow schoolbooks from friends or siblings who’ve already finished the courses you’re currently taking, or look up a few popular sites to find books at bargain prices.
Look up needed titles in the public library. Some sections of the books can even be photocopied, but always ask the school librarian before doing so.
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Use Public Transportation
Having a personal vehicle does offer some convenience, but it can be a big money drain if one doesn’t have a stable income. After buying a car, it doesn’t stop there. You have maintenance, repairs, gas, and parking passes to deal with.
Plenty of campuses have great transportation services for their students, where one can get a discount or use them for free. Students can also opt to use a bike so they’ll be saving money and getting a decent amount of exercise.
Many are guilty of going to cafés as part of their everyday routine to get their morning boost. It may not seem like much at first, but paying for a cup of coffee every day eventually adds up. That’s worse if one likes getting coffee from a fancier establishment.
Instead of doing this, try to commit to self-brewing coffee instead of going to the local café. For those who want higher-quality coffee, one can go the extra mile and buy whole coffee beans and grind those up themselves. Grinders aren’t too expensive, and one can consider them as an investment because the difference in quality between freshly ground and preground coffee is staggering.
Make a Habit of Cooking Food in Batches
Dressing up instant noodles can be easy using cheap and healthy ingredients like fish, vegetables, and some favorite spices to keep things interesting. For batch cooking, a few great options include some soup, stews, chili, and other foods that keep well even if left in the freezer for a week. This will save not just a lot of money, but time as well.
It may not be as healthy as eating fresh food, but it’s certainly healthier than eating at a fast-food joint. For those who are worried that they may not be getting enough nutrition for their food, there are plenty of inexpensive health supplements to help balance a less-than-ideal diet.
College can be a fantastic time to deepen the understanding of oneself and create a solid path for the future ahead. By spending money wisely and sticking to an appropriate budget, you can accomplish every goal much faster. Oftentimes, all one needs are a few tips and tricks to help them get to the finish line.