It’s difficult to save money as a college student. There isn’t much income flowing to the average student other than student loans. However, financial aid is usually barely enough to cover living expenses – so as a result, most students try to find extra sources of income to fund their recreational lives. This can come from many sources – students have been known to pick up part-time jobs, buy and sell items for profit, and offer services according to their interests and experience.
But sometimes, that extra source of income isn’t enough to live comfortably and happily. Like every adult with responsibilities, students need to have outlets after a long day of work. Some people enjoy working out during their free time. Others cherish their time lounging on the couch watching TV with their closest friends. Then there are those who love going out in the evenings for dinner at the hottest restaurants or to socialize at the local bar.
However, entertainment costs money. The obstacle of money tends to slow young adults down when it comes to having fun. So how can the average college student save money and enjoy life at the same time?
Food and Drinks
It’s difficult to save money on food and drinks. Fast food is cheap but unhealthy – which is expensive due to medical expenses later in life. Groceries can be more expensive and take time to prepare – but home-cooking is healthier for the body and brain. It’s okay to eat fast food in moderation. However, it’s more frugal in the long run to cook meals at home.
To save money on grocery shopping, look for deals and coupons offered by local stores. Supermarkets often mail coupons to local residents, which can be used to score some great savings. Online deal websites also offer coupons for major supermarkets. Take advantage of these deals whenever possible to save money while grocery shopping.
Every college student wants to be stylish. Likewise, productive employees dress for success. Businesses appreciate it when their employees know how to dress in the office. An employee who pays attention to details in regards to their clothing is an employee who pays attention to details at work.
To save money on clothing, shop at outlet stores. Many brand-name stores don’t sell all of their inventory in time for a new season. The retailers then send the remaining clothes to outlets at a discounted price. Some clothing items can be found at outlets for more than 80% off the original price. College students can also shop at thrift stores for used clothing at a highly-discounted price.
Remember, it’s not what you wear. It’s how you wear it.
Perhaps the least-necessary but largest expense of most college students’ lives is entertainment. College students love to play video games, surf the web, and watch television. Students also find time to attend to their personal hobbies. However, cable packages can be expensive – bundle packages can exceed $100 a month. Hobbies require spending money on a regular basis. Entertainment isn’t cheap.
To save money on entertainment, always search for deals.
Do you like to play video games? Search on Craigslist for used games. Subscribe to a game rental service for a monthly small price. Borrow from friends. Buy used at your local game store.
Do you surf the web and watch television? Look for specials on bundles. Use an AT&T U Verse coupon code to save money on television, internet, and phone service. Subscribe to a movie rental service. Go to a friend’s house for pay-per-view.
Do you have an expensive hobby? Use your hobby to your advantage by honing your skills and specializing in it. Use your specialization to make extra money – many bloggers found their niche (and main source of income) by turning their hobbies into jobs.
Saving money as a college student isn’t hard
It’s not difficult to save money as a young adult. It just takes effort. However, starting a budget and paying attention to what you spend can make or break your financial future.
Photo courtesy of: 401 (k) 2013