When you are studying hard at college, there is typically only one thing that dampens the experience: money, or more precisely, the lack of it. When you go to college it may be the first time that you have had to be 100% responsible for your own finances, and so learning to budget it’s a vital life skill that you need to learn.
As well as tuition fees, there are often extra costs involved with studying that you may not have considered. Books, printing and field trips need to be paid for and are essential for you to be able to progress through the course; however, you do have alternative options.
You should be provided with a reading list, and so you can identify which books are critical, and which are available online or from the library. Some of the books will be on the reading list for several terms if not years, and older students may have copies that they want to sell. Rather than using the college facilities for printing, it can be more economical to buy an inexpensive printer with roommates and source cheap inkjet cartridges from Cartridge Shop and share the cost.
It is perfectly possible to eat nutritious and healthy food that does not cost a huge amount of money, despite popular belief. You need to eat a healthy and balanced diet in order to keep your mind and body performing at its peak. Junk foods are not only lacking in the vital nutrients that you need to thrive but are costly too.
- Plan your meals
Planning your meals means that you can write a shopping list that you can strictly stick to and remain in budget. Impulse buys are typically high-value unhealthy choices.
- Bulk cook
Whether you batch cook and freeze the extra portions, or share the costs with roommates, bulk cooking is more economical than cooking an individual portion as the cost per meal is less. If you have access to a freezer, use it! Not only will you save money, but you’ll always have access to a healthy meal when the cupboards are empty. Bolognese, stew, chilli and soups are great for bulk cooking and it means that you waste very little.
Other than education, college is a great opportunity to get out in the world and meet new people; however, the cost of gigs, drinking in bars, and going to parties can soon add up. You need to set yourself a budget for entertainment and leisure activities and stick to it.
Your friends may be having lunch in the cafeteria, but you can join them for a coffee. Saving money doesn’t have to be unsocial, it’s just about smarter spending. Look for alternative cheaper ways to catch up – meet up at a friend’s house, look for coupons, promotions and student discounts.
Your college years should be your best, but you don’t want the memory to be dampened by graduating with a mountain of avoidable debt. You are there to study and learn; to do so successfully you need to have the correct course materials, eat healthily and have downtime too, but not at the expense of excessive debt.