How To Prevent Frivolous Spending In College

by Leon on May 14, 2013

money saving tips for college studentsOn one hand, college is the most crucial educational experience you’ll ever have. It’s where you really set the groundwork for your future career, growing as a student and working harder than you ever have before in your life. But it’s also a crazy amount of fun. You’ll meet more people, have more experiences and yes, drink more beer than possibly during any other four year stretch you’ll experience. That’s an awful lot to balance, not only when it comes to time management, but also your financial budget. Simply affording the classes you need to graduate is a pretty tall order these days, and most people can’t even do that without taking on a mountain of student loan debt they’ll be paying off for years to come. If you’re on a tight budget each semester, you’ve got to watch every dollar. Hopefully that insures you can cover the basics and still have enough fun that you don’t feel like you’re missing out on a once in a lifetime opportunity.

Here are a couple of tips to help you prevent frivolous spending in college.

First of all, think long and hard about your approach to eating. Most college students start out with a food plan, so ideally your major meals are covered. Yet it never seems to work out that way. At some point in the semester you’ll get tired of the choices laid out, and will end up going out to eat, calling for food delivery, snacking from vending machines or shoving down some late night grease bomb you barely remember in the morning. All of those meals out will add up in a hurry, and most of the time these meals just blend in with one another. Try to stick to your meal plan as much as possible, and go on periodic supermarket runs so you have snacks around that aren’t nearly as expensive as what you’d pick up in the convenience store.

Most college students spend a large chunk of their monthly budgets on booze. Although parents want to picture their children staying in on nights and weekends, diligently studying away, a major part of college is the party scene. But there are definitely cheaper ways to go about things. First of all, try to minimize the time you spend out at bars. A single beer purchased at the bar is the same price as a six-pack from the store, and you can have just as good a time bringing friends over to your place to hang out. The same goes with going out to eat. Those couple glasses of wine with dinner over the course of the semester could buy your next round of textbooks, so pick and choose your big blowout moments carefully.

Speaking of textbooks, buying them new at the beginning of each semester is pretty frivolous. Most students don’t hang on to their textbooks after the class is complete, meaning you are paying a premium for no reason. Always buy your books used, and sell them back to the store at the end of the semester. Hop online to uncover added savings as well. There are web-based wholesalers that specialize in textbook sales, and if you’re in one of those prerequisite courses that most students have to take you’re pretty much guaranteed to find the books you need at a deep discount.

Finally, do whatever you can to avoid failing any classes. Remember that every college credit costs money, in many cases several hundred or even thousands of dollars. If you fail a class, you will have wasted all of that cash. You’ll probably have to retake the course, extending your tuition charges at college and even holding yourself back from entering the job market longer than necessary. College classes are tough, but if you apply yourself consistently across the entire semester you should be able to avoid this fate. Get a tutor if you need some extra help, or you’ll end up having to drop out and pursue a criminal justice online degree due to lack of funds.

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