Being a college freshmen and away from home for the first time can present lots of challenges. With your parents no longer around, you are free to make your own decisions in a number of areas, including how you spend your money.
If you’re not careful though, you can get into trouble fast, and the repercussions can last a lifetime.
Here are six easy tips that the college freshmen can do to help save some money.
1. Find A Part Time Job
Get a part time job. It can be an on or off campus position, just be quick if you want to get the best positions as there will be plenty of competition from your fellow college freshmen.
While I was in college, I worked several jobs because I knew I would need money for going out socializing, to the movies or for meals etc.
I worked in the stacks of an undergraduate library as well as on security for a residence hall cafeteria. Later, I was also a groundskeeper during my graduate school years.
These days you don’t only have to restrict yourself to jobs locally or on campus. The Internet opens several other options such as writing, for example.
There are several websites that pay upfront and depending on how dedicated you are, and the website for which you write for, you can command a fairly good salary each week.
You can schedule each work session around your spare time, so you don’t have to worry about cutting classes either.
2. Budgeting Your Money
Create a budget and live within it. Figure out all your living expenses as a college freshmen. Things such as books (Check out Half for books), food, laundry and on-campus transportation, to name a few.
Always make sure you use price comparison websites when shopping online to make sure you are getting the best price possible.
Don’t forget that many companies (like Apple) offer student discount so is always worth asking. Don’t go out to the movies every weekend or out eat too often. These are huge money wasters.
Although it may only seem like a little money you’re spending each time, it all adds up.
3. Live On Campus
If you are on a scholarship, loan or grant, live on campus. It will save you lots of money, and you don’t have to be concerned about rent every month. Your dorm fees also include payment of your utilities. So that’s another expense which you won’t have to worry about.
If you choose to live off campus, especially in your first year, a landlord will not be as sympathetic if you don’t make your rent in a given month.
You could face eviction, which could cost you dearly later in life when you seek to get credit, or move into another apartment.
4. Show Your Student ID
When you do go to plays, movies and shopping – or when you travel by bus or train, make sure you find out about any student discounts that these establishments offer and take advantage of these discounts.
In my city for example, the local bus service is free for all college students. All a student has to do is to have his or her ID handy to show to the driver.
5. Save Save Save
Saving money for a rainy day or for the future is always a good idea. Saving money as a college freshmen may seem difficult, but it’s good to plan ahead and have emergency savings to dip into if you need it.
You never know what might happen just around the corner. You can start by saving as little as $20 or $25 per month. When you get older, you will thank yourself for learning this habit. If you save that much, by the time you graduate, you’ll have over $1000’s!
6. Careful With Credit Cards!
Don’t accept every credit card offer the banks throw at you. The more plastic you have, the more temptation you’ll have to use the darn thing!
If you do have to have one, make the wise decision to spend only what you can pay back in full at the end of the month. This helps you to avoid the nasty monthly fees that they are going to slap on the balance.
College can be, and should be the best time of your life. Or it can be a time you look back on with a sigh of regret.
It all depends on the financial choices you make now. So make sure you make the right ones, and you won’t be regretting your decisions later in life.