The typical image of the university or college student is that of a haggard youth trying his or her very best to live within an extremely tight budget. Thanks to the many merciless student loan programs nowadays, it is easy to see many students trying to cut down their expenses in every way whatsoever in order to afford their college education whilst not racking up massive amounts of debt. The struggle might seem familiar to you if you are also a college student, or have just graduated from college. On the other hand, if you are about to enter college in the coming fall or winter semesters, it might be a good idea to gain an understanding of how best a student could live within his or her budget. Below are some of the most popular ways students use to save money:
- Textbooks – obviously, one of the biggest money drains for university students is the excessive amount of textbooks used for each course every semester. Study materials are a necessary expense, which leaves many students with no choice but to buy them – especially when the professors wish their students to have the latest editions. However, you should know that there are many websites and bookstores that specialize in selling second hand university textbooks. Sometimes, even the university itself may have a program of renting or selling used books to their students in order to help them with expenses.
- Other study materials – besides the used textbooks you may have to buy or rent, there will also be other study materials you will have to invest in – especially if you are a student who majors in fields like literature, languages, history or similar liberal arts subjects that have a large number of study materials. Unlike textbooks, however, other kinds of books can easily be borrowed at a library or even found in the form of e-books.
- Try to live off-campus – most universities – with the exception of a select few – have on-campus lodgings that come with designated price ranges, which may seem cheap at first glance, but are actually more expensive than living off-campus. This is where it is important to budget your needs and allocations for them. Unless your university is adamant about having the students live within campus premises, consider renting out a cheap apartment with your friends: this way, you will be able to split the rent, bills and other living expenses.
- Do not forget your budget – and finally, a point that needs to be reiterated is that you need to remember your budget. It is helpful to have a small book for accounting expenses, or, as goes today, a smartphone app that lets you track all your expenses. By carefully accounting your expenses, you can see where your money is going, and you can learn to live within your budget.