01 Sep Saving Money During the School Year
Anyone who has ever attended college can agree college is not cheap. The price of tuition and other expenses are constantly rising; making it more difficult for students to make ends meet. Living on a tight budget does not mean that you have to stay in your dorm all four years or sell your plasma to make some extra change. Here are some tips on how to stretch your dollars and save your coins while in school.
Getting a Job on Campus
One of the best ways to make money while in school is to find a part-time job as a waitress or at the local mall. Local businesses hire college students all the time and are willing to work around your schedule so that way you can earn some cash and still focus on your studies. However, that can be seemingly impossible for students without a car or with a hectic class schedule. Another option for students is to become a work-study employee. If you ever see students working the front desks of dorm halls or in the cafeteria; these students are usually able to work because of their work-study. Workstudy is a program that is funded by FAFSA, where financial aid money is allocated to different departments on campus, who hire students to work for them. These positions range from working in labs to the sports arena. Most students work no more than 20 hours a week to allow for a work-life balance. Call your financial aid office to see if you are eligible.
Say No to New Textbooks
One of the worst things that a college freshman can do is buy all of their textbooks brand new fresh out of the plastic. When you opt to buy an older version of a book, you could be saving yourself an extra $100 to $300 dollars. With that thought in mind, purchasing or renting older version of books for a freshman with five classes could save up to $500 to $1500. An even cheaper alternative is to see if the school library has the textbook available; even though you would be sharing with other students who use the book as well, it is guaranteed that you won’t have to spend any money. If the library does not have the book, ask around to students who have previously taken the class to see if they have it, split the cost of the book with a classmate, or speak with the professor to see if they can lend a book. Whatever you decide, make buying a brand new textbook one of your last options.
The Beauty of Campus Events
Are you bored in your dorm room but have no extra money to go off campus with your friends? Find out what free events your campus is hosting that week. The two great things about campus events are that they are usually always free or affordable and include food. Movie nights on the lawn, glow in the dark bowling, even mini carnivals are just a few of the events that some colleges may host. Take advantage! This a great way to become involved on campus, meet new people and still have fun.
There is Always Food in The Dining Hall
You truly have mastered self-discipline when you can choose to eat campus food instead of going out to buy food from a restaurant. One of the most expensive habits of college students is constantly eating out. It may not seem like much, but those taco- Tuesday and combo meals begin to add up and soon become a large expense. Most colleges offer food services for breakfast, lunch, dinner and even late-night meals. The food is not always the best on the weekends so if you feel tempted to go out to eat with your friends, try buying a few groceries or bulk food items to avoid spending the extra cash. When you go home, have your parents cook some of your favorite foods that you can store in your dorm freezer to eat later.
Visit Your Local Bank
You may hear it from your parents a lot but college is a great way to learn how to save your money. If you do not have great spending habits develop, it is not a good idea to get a new credit card since they like to target college students. Instead, visit your local bank or credit union near your school and open a savings account. Banks usually have programs specifically for college students that teach them how to develop ideal spending habits, help them open up new accounts, and set withdrawal limits to avoid over-drafting your account. Credit unions allow you to set up savings accounts that can earn interest, to help you earn even more money. If you have to get a credit card, set one up through your local bank to use for emergencies. A financial specialist would be able to set up regulations and limits on the card which would help you learn the value of credit without a huge pile of debt.
Test out of as Many Classes as Possible
One college courses can cost up to $1,000. That is just one college course not including a labor extra tutoring. While in high school, students can enroll in advanced placement, AP, or dual credit courses to help save on taking unnecessary 101 courses at a big institution. AP courses require students to take an exit exam but if passed, students can opt out of taking entry-level English and Math courses. However, with dual credit courses, students do not have to take a test that determines if they pass or not. Dual credit courses are usually taken at a local technical college and students automatically receive college credit after they pass the class. Even if you are not an incoming freshman, during the summer ask the bursar’s office if they will you enroll in a local community college to take courses equivalent to those at your school and transfer the credits over. This can help students save thousands of dollars while still getting the education that they need.
We understand that college is a huge expense for students and can be a little scary to handle all on your own. But you do not have to handle things alone, Bank of the Lowcountry is here to help! Stop by one of our local branches where one of our financial specialists would be very willing to help you open up a new savings account, apply for a college loan, or offer financial literacy tips to help you be just as successful with your finances as you are with your studies!