The following was written by our summer marketing intern, Hartford Zirkle. Thank you for sharing your insight as a college student, Hartford!The following was written by our summer marketing intern, Hartford Zirkle. Thank you for sharing your insight as a college student, Hartford!
A couple of years ago I was given the nickname “Coupon Kid” because my friends and family teased me that I would only buy something if I had a coupon. I’ll be the first one to admit that I do like to save money when possible and I have been known to carry a coupon book with me at all times in my car. My interest in finances began in Middle School when I asked my parents if I could open my very own savings account. Now as a college student, I realize how quickly expenses add up and I am even more conscientious and disciplined about financial decisions. Here are some strategies I recommend for saving money as a college student:
Make your academics a priority
There are many facets and challenges to being a college student, however the first and most important is your studies, because ultimately that is why you are there. Focusing on your classes is important for financial reasons, so you don’t have to repeat any of them. Meet with your advisor to plan your classes, and your professors to track progress. Get extra help from an Academic Center if you need it. Many times students forget that college Academic Centers are free of charge, because they have already paid for it in their tuition.
Consider Community College first
One to way to save a great deal of money (upwards of 30 thousand) is to attend a local community college. I especially recommend this plan if you’re somebody who hasn’t fully decided what you want to do yet. By attending a two-year community college, you can complete your associates degree and then move on to a four-year university to pursue your bachelor’s degree. All while still deciding what it is that you want to do post college.
Opt for a meal plan that works for you
Almost every college freshman has a meal plan. Eating from that plan as much as possible is most sensible, since it is an incurred expense.
Use apps or coupons when you do dine out
Obviously you are going to eat out some. When the occasion arises, make sure to download apps on your phone such as Hooked, and Stealz to get great discounts. Some restaurants have two for one deals, and specials on certain nights of the week. Or you can purchase and use a local community coupon book. It also never hurts to ask if there is a student discount!
Make the most of your on campus amenities
There is no reason for any college students to own a gym membership when their college fitness center is on campus and often times even nicer than private gyms, not to mention you’re already paying for it in your tuition!
Grocery shop for savings - buy in bulk
When grocery shopping, acquire discount cards (ex MVP at Food Lion, VIC at Harris Teeter, etc.). These discount cards can save you up to dollars per trip to the supermarket. Shopping in bulk for things like toilet paper, dish detergent and other staple goods can also save money.
Rent or borrow textbooks
During freshman orientation is a time where many first year students want to go to the student bookstore to purchase a sweatshirt or hat to rep with their college emblem on it. What will usually end up catching these freshman’s attentions though will be the price of the textbooks. When it comes to textbooks always consider renting them from Amazon or EBay or borrowing them from the library or a friend. If you do buy them new, always try to tell sell them after you use them to get back some extra cash.
Shop Secondhand Stores
The saying “One man’s trash is another man’s treasure” couldn’t be more true. Have you ever wondered through a Goodwill, Habitat for Humanity Restore, a PTA Thrift Shop or a flea market? Chances are that you’ll find some great deals. Whether you are looking for a sofa, pots and pans or an outfit to wear for Halloween or a special occasion, these types of stores can be a great way to save some extra cash.
Talk with a Financial Representative
Tell them that you are in college and ask them if they special deals for checking and savings accounts for college students. Also make sure to ask about programs like Bounceguard which protect you from large overdraft fees.
I hope you enjoyed my suggestions of ways to save money as a college student, if you’re also a college student trying to save. Please comment with any additional ways that you save money!