Money Saving Tips for College Students

Piggy Bank

Though financing can be easier at an online college such as Ashford University, where tuition is lower, books are in the cloud, and commute cost isn’t a factor, it can still difficult to juggle the added expense of your education.

Difficult, however, is not impossible. Here are four great tips for how to save money in college.

Loyalty cards

Loyalty cards that offer discounts in exchange for creating an account with a business have been controversial. Companies are upfront about using data obtained to develop overall marketing strategy or target offers to individuals. The privacy aspect of that information exchange bothers some.

If you don’t mind disclosing your shopping habits or receiving the occasional advertising email, though, these cards can be a boon. Coffee shops, grocery stores, pharmacies, sporting goods stores, and more offer them. Taking advantage can save you money.

Bargain hunt ferociously

Pledge to never pay full price again. If you see it in a store, go home and research the product online. Chances are, you’ll find a better price.

Need something in a hurry? Use your phone to investigate prices on the spot and see if the retailer will match competitors.

Patience can help you display designer style on a discount budget. Comb through clearance sales at the end of every season. You’ll find deep discounts on great looks. Look for shoes, handbags, and other accessories from the previous year’s lines. Stores and manufacturers are eager to make room for new merchandise, and they’ll offer deals.

Diminutive adults often will find lower prices on hot styles by shopping in the kids’ sections. You will be the only one who knows.

Learn to cook

It’s easy when you’re on the go to default to fast food. The problem is, spending mounts quickly and the nutrition isn’t optimal either.

Mastering the basics of cooking is not difficult. Solid cooks can challenge themselves with new cuisine or skills such as bread-baking. Free resources online and in libraries can help.

If the kitchen is a completely foreign land you might have to spend a little money on the right cooking equipment to get started. The good news: A quality nonstick skillet costs about the same as two family dinners at a fast-food joint, and the skillet will last longer.

Literally, save money

The savings habit can be hard to get into, but it’s an important one to develop. Keeping a nest egg squirreled away protects you in the event of emergencies of any magnitude, from a flat tire to a blown engine. If you have reserves, you won’t have to whip out your credit card.

Start small by setting aside loose change. Put a large jar in a visible spot in your house and toss unspent coins in it each day. When the container is filled, split the proceeds between a splurge and long-term savings.

The same trick works with currency if you want to get more ambitious. Clear your wallet of all single dollar bills at the end of the day and watch your savings grow.

Another way to commit to savings is saving an amount equal to what you spend on nonessentials. For every $3 latte, put $3 into savings.

If you work full-time at a company that offers a 401(k) or other savings plan, sign up today. The tax breaks that come with such accounts usually mean your paycheck won’t decrease much, if any, as a result of the savings.

The commitment to earning a potentially career-boosting college degree is never an easy one, and there could be a short-term financial pinch as a result. Following these tips, though, will make the sacrifice feel less drastic, while also cultivating habits that help you financially after graduation.

 

Written by Ashford University staff.

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