Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Tips for Saving Money While Away at College

For many students, the beginning of a new school year is a great time to develop good habits regarding studying, exercising and socializing. Yet what about developing good money habits? Students might think that because they aren’t making money (or are making very little) that there really aren’t many ways to save while attending college. We’ve compiled a short list of ways to save while away at school.

  1. Rent Your Textbooks or Buy Them Used:
    Buying textbooks from your campus bookstore can get very expensive, but there are ways to get around these costs. Try renting your books or buying them used. With renting, the prices are normally discounted making them a lot cheaper than buying them outright. Once you’re done using them, you can turn them back in. Sites like Chegg.com let you rent textbooks and provide free returns so you won’t need to worry about shipping and handling costs.

    Buying used textbooks is also a great option. The price on used textbooks will be significantly lower and the books can still be in great condition. Check your campus or surrounding cities for a used bookstore or consider finding used books on sites like Amazon.com. Once you are done with your used textbooks, you can sell them back to the school or sell them online. This is a great way to make additional money at the end of the semester.
  2. Coupons and Student Discounts:
    Coupons are a great way to shop smart and save money. You can print them online, cut them out from a newspaper or even snag a coupon book on campus. For more deals and savings, consider signing up for grocery or drugstore loyalty rewards programs. These programs usually offer member-only exclusive deals and savings for your favorite products. You should also ask retailers if they offer student discounts. You’d be surprised at how many places do. You can receive discounts at places like movie theaters, restaurants, online retailers, transportation companies and much more!

    Stick to a Food Budget: 
  3. Meals are one of the biggest offenders when it comes to putting a dent in your college finances, so make a weekly food budget to save money. You could consider buying groceries and snacks in bulk with your roommates and splitting the cost with them. If you have a campus meal plan, make sure you are using it so you can cut down on unnecessary restaurant spending. Try to eliminate daily specialty coffee drinks, smoothies and other treats. A regular habit of buying these treats will add up fast. Why not pick up a cheap coffee maker or a blender instead, and make your own specialty drinks in your dorm room?
  4. Sign Up for a Student Checking Account:
    The college years are a great time to learn about and establish effective banking and budgeting habits. Opening a checking account will help you get a clear understanding of how much money you have and where your money is going on a daily, weekly and monthly basis.

    Community Financial offers FREE Student Checking Accounts to make your life easier. We’ve got you covered with free ATM transactions, no maintenance fees and no minimum balance requirements. Plus we offer free mobile banking so that you can access your money from any location at any time. The best part is you can open an account online right from your dorm room! 

Remember that small expenses can really add up over time, and you might be surprised at what a little sacrifice and saving in college can do for your bank account in the long run!

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