Living on a Budget in College

Most college students are perpetually broke. If you are footing some or all of your tuition, then you know this more so than other students. Unless you are fortunate enough to be independently wealthy, you will find your college years a drain on your bank account. Most students go home for the summer or stay around campus and work. But, this is only for about three or four months. It is nearly impossible to save enough over the summer to last you through the upcoming school year. College students learn to be thrifty and how to stretch every last dime.

Probably the biggest expense for a college student is buying textbooks. Make sure you are exploring all available avenues for buying your books. Go to your school’s bookstore and buy used copies before buying new editions. If they do not have a particular title that has been, then go online and check out the reputable sites that offer used textbooks. Go to your library and see if they have copies of the books you need in stock. Just remember that other students will most likely be looking to use those copies as well. Saving money on textbooks can a long way towards ensuring that you have money to play with the rest of the semester.

Take advantage of your college’s dining facilities. As part of your room and board, you are probably enrolled into a meal plan. Even if your cafeterias do not offer the most appetizing meals, they offer a much cheaper alternative than ordering out or going to restaurants. Make a deal with yourself that you will not go out more than once a week for any meals. Go to the grocery store and stock up on cheap snacks that you can keep in your room to help you fight off the urge to order a pizza.

Use public transportation as much as possible. If your budget for a week is a hundred dollars, then avoid taking cabs if you can. Even though taking a bus or train may take longer and you have to abide by someone else’s schedule, you are saving considerable money. If a cab ride costs $20 and the bus costs $1.50, imagine how much more money you will have to spend once you reach your destination. Only take a taxi in dire situations. Before making any plans, think ahead and figure out how you can shave off a little of the inherent cost of whatever it is you are doing. It will add up and will keep you from making that desperate call home for more cash too early in the semester.