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5 Ways to Save Money While in College

By Edited Sep 22, 2015 0 3

5 Ways to Save Money While in College
College is expensive. News flash, right? According to CNN Money, "student loan debt in America is fast approaching $1 trillion, having increased by 275% over the last ten years." That's why students heading off to college need to be more financially savvy and aware than ever before. There's absolutely no reason you have to go deep into debt and live by the now-famous maxim: "I'm a broke college kid!" Before you zip off to your best four years, employ some of these tried-and-true financial strategies to ensure you get to fully enjoy your time at college without having to run back home to mom and dad.
1. Open a savings account. These accounts don't hold the interest rates they may have at one time, but they are still a great place to stock some extra cash in case of an emergency. Whether your parents are helping you through college, or if you have to get a part-time job to supplement yourself while away, make sure you commit to saving at least 10% of every incoming dollar. This habit, once cultivated, will reap outstanding rewards for years to come.
2. Resist social temptation. The practice of this simple behavior will not only save you hundreds of dollars in the long-run, it will also serve you well with other social pressures that inevitably arise during college. When you meet new friends at school you're tempted to impress. Train yourself to say no and be willing to stand out from the pack. This will set you apart as a leader and allow you to intentionally spend your money where you want to.
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3. Hang on to your orientation care package. There's so much to see and do and so many people to meet that it can be hard to be all-ears when attending orientation. And, too often, new students stash that thick legal envelope universities hand out in their dorm room, not to be seen again until graduation. But, before you toss the package aside take the time to check out the contents. The university wants you to do well and have taken time to put together a nice set of resources to save you time, effort, and yes, money. You'll usually find things like discounts to local stores and restaurants. Remember, orientation is about exactly that--getting oriented.
4. Take advantage of campus facilities. Some college campuses are like small, self-sustaining cities. There are libraries, bookstores, cafeterias, restaurants, gyms, swimming pools, the list could go on. Why pay for that which you can get for free? Instead of signing up for a gym membership, use your student ID to access your on-campus gym. Want a book? Why buy from Barnes and Noble what you can rent from the library? Don't hesitate to pop into the different campus facilities to see what they have to offer. Added bonus: Many of the campus buildings also have 
5. Join groups or organizations. This is what college life is all about, right? Being social, living life, creating unforgettable moments. Don't let your fear of failure hold you back from accomplishing your goals. Not only will this tip have you create friendships for life, it'll save you a considerable amount of money. The greatest thing about social clubs and organizations in college--besides the earth-moving experiences--is the fact that they are usually dirt cheap. Many clubs are free or only require a one-time entry fee.
5 Ways to Save Money While in College_02

Bonus Tip: Study! 

I know, yuck! But, it's true. Since you and your family are working hard, paying lots, and making considerable sacrifices, you should try your best to do your best. This is, after all, one of the central reasons for coming to college. If you've already found your major, stick with it and build your social network around that interest. Instead of heading out to local bars every weekend, or having late-night dinners with friends, consider creating a study group with friends. This way you get the grade plus enjoy some social time. And that kind of simple math adds up to great dividends later on. 
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Mar 24, 2013 3:52am
wish i had a great guide like this during my college days. good article.
Mar 24, 2013 3:52am
wish i had a great guide like this during my college days. good article.
Mar 24, 2013 8:57pm
Thank you. And, I have to agree; my inspiration for this article was the same--it is everything I wish someone had told me before I left for college. Some of these tips apply beyond college, too: look into social/community organizations and Meetup groups instead of going out and you'll save a ton of money. Thanks for the comment!
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  1. Tami Luhby "Fed: Student loans soar 275% over past decade." CNN Money. 21/03/2013 <Web >

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