5 simple ways to save money as a new college student

High Tech Ways To Save Money For College

In a few short weeks, millions of college students will be hitting college campuses for the first time. Your first year of college can bring a lot of changes, including financial ones. It's likely the first time in your life you're out on your own. Not only do you need to be focused on attending class, but many students also have to wade through the details of student loans. You're also possibly no longer dependent on your parents for money and need to find ways to stretch your budget. With that in mind, the following five tips should help you save money as a new college student.

1. Set up a bank account.

If you had a job in high school, then it's likely you had a bank account. That's great and will give you more experience to go off of. However, if you're part of the 52 percent of recent grads who move more than 50 miles away to attend college, you might want to consider opening up a new account anyway.

The key benefit in going with a local bank is many have accounts suited specifically for college students. They typically offer accounts with lower, or no, minimum balances, making it easier to manage your money without fear of bank fees. You'll also be sure to have easy access to ATMs, and you never know when you'll need to take out more cash.

2. Learn how to cook.

Living off campus can be cheaper than living on campus, especially when you split an apartment or house with roommates. Don't allow those cost savings to be eaten up by going out to eat too often. Learning how to cook can be overwhelming, but it doesn't have to be. The Internet is full of simple recipes that are inexpensive and easy.

If you've never cooked before, consider splitting up the duties with a roommate or asking your parents for a few tips. Not only will your meals be healthier, but you'll stretch your money more with leftovers.

3. Pay yourself first.

Paying yourself first is one of the hallmarks of personal finance. You might also think that as a college student you can't afford to pay yourself first. But if you have a part-time job, you can still pay yourself first, even if it is in a small amount.

Don't hold yourself back by thinking that it's "only $10 or $20" per month, and it won't mean anything. It's the act of beginning to live out a lifestyle of financial prudence that matters – not the amount. Not only will this help you get into the habit of saving, but it will also help you begin to live by some sort of budget while also helping you avoid credit cards. That's also not to mention the fact that if you have a true emergency occur, then you'll have funds to handle it.

4. Ditch the cable.

Cable companies love to target new college students. Their thinking is simple – you're accustomed to having it while living at home and you want to have it while in college. Don't fall for that trick. Many of the shows you watch are available online, plus there is a variety of cord-cutting solutions such as Netflix, Google Chromecast and Amazon's Fire TV Stick. These options will give you access to most programming for a fraction of the cost.

If cable is something you want, you can lower the overall cost by splitting the cost with your roommates – though if you live on campus, it's quite possible your dorm will have numerous available subscriptions, too.

5. Stay in.

What college student doesn't like to go out for the evening? Many do, but there's one small problem with that – it costs money. You can do many of the same things at home for a fraction of the cost.

You don't have to cut going out altogether, but limit your excursions to a certain number of times per month or for special events. That will allow you to still get out, but make it more cost feasible in the long run.

Life as a new college student brings with it a lot of new experiences. With a little work, you can save money while still having fun.

Copyright 2015 U.S. News & World Report

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5 simple ways to save money as a new college student


Gym or yoga studio memberships can become insanely costly. Giving up the expense, though, doesn’t mean you have to give up your workout routine. Check out FitnessBlender.com for workouts that you can do at home via YouTube.

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Many people spend a ton of money on personal care. Although getting manicures, pedicures, massages and haircuts can be a relaxing way to feel pampered, these things are sucking up money that could be spent on travel. Besides, when you are backpacking through South America or sleeping in European hostels, you won’t have access to all of your usual comforts. Why not stop now?

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How about embracing cooking as a new hobby? You will simultaneously be eating healthier, saving money on take-out and maybe even exercising your creative side. Following food blogs is a great, inexpensive way to find recipes and inspiration. One of my favorites, BrokeAssGourmet.com, factors cost into the equation too.

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Services like Netflix, Amazon Prime, HBO and others end up tacking extra costs onto your monthly bills. Even Kindle, while it may be convenient for when you are traveling, can make buying books and apps all too easy. Consider using your local library to check out books as well as DVDs. Most offer an extensive collection that will help you save over the course of the year.

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If it seems impossible for you to give up some things, or if you’re still in need of extra cash, look for a job where you can make some money without a huge commitment. Babysitting and nanny services connect caretakers with clients and aren’t just for people looking for full-timework. Catering companies are another great option since they always need servers and usually schedule staff on a week-to-week basis.

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No, this Mint won’t print more money for you to spend on a trip to Bali, but it will help you keep track of your spending. The app allows you to create a budget and set specific savings goals, making it easier to hold yourself accountable for saving that extra cash.

(Photo: Getty)


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