The cost of obtaining a college degree has increased significantly over the last few years. Therefore, it is more important than ever today’s students effectively manage their finances. Here are five financial hacks for college students.
Stick to a Budget
No matter where your college funding comes from, having a budget will reduce stress, help plan for expenses, and establish good financial habits for the future. It’s now easier than ever to keep track of your savings and spending by having all the information you need right at your fingertips. There are a variety of free mobile apps to help students manage their finances, plan for emergencies, and save for big-ticket items. A popular example is Mint, a secure app that allows users to create budgets, track bills, and find out their credit score. Other popular apps include PocketGuard, Wally and Spendee.
Take Advantage of Free Money
While the cost of a college degree has risen sharply, applying for available grants and scholarships can help to cover these costs. These free money opportunities do not need to be repaid and can come from a variety of sources, including the government, your university, or a private organization. When researching grants and scholarships, be sure to note the eligibility requirements and deadlines before you apply.
Shop Around for Books
Gone are the days of having to visit the university bookstore to purchase brand-new textbooks. A quick search on internet sites such as Amazon, eBay, or Chegg can easily save you money and help you compare prices. Additionally, buying e-books or renting textbooks are less expensive alternatives to owning your own copy. Be sure to check with your professor beforehand on whether an older version of the book will suffice. These can be hundreds of dollars less expensive than the newer editions and often include the same basic principles.
Leverage Student Discounts
Use your student ID or college email address to take advantage of a variety of discounts while in school. For example, Amazon offers students a six-month free trial of Amazon Prime, followed by a 50% annual discount. Apple and Microsoft both offer money off their products and services. Popular clothing retailers such as Ann Taylor, Banana Republic, and J.Crew offer student discounts in-store. Spotify gives students 50% off Spotify Premium music streaming services. Be sure to do your research to take advantage of opportunities to save.
Attend On-Campus Events
Many universities and collegiate organizations regularly host on-campus events, such as concerts, coffee hours, movie screenings, and breakfast speakers where students can take advantage of free food and entertainment. Many colleges post an online calendar where students can browse a list of upcoming events.
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