5 Ways To Save Money When You’re A Struggling Student

Did you know that more than 40 million Americans currently owe a staggering $1.3 trillion in combined student loan debt?

Not a lot of students get a free ride these days; chances are good that you will graduate with loans which will take years to pay off. Even if you end up with a high-paying job, you may find yourself struggling just to afford the necessities of life.

Of course, you may already be waist-deep in that struggle.  Many students in college have trouble even finding the money to eat.

There are a lot of steps you can take to reduce your student loan debt while you are still in university, but much of it comes down to simple daily budgeting decisions that you make.

Here are a few tips to help you curb your college expenses.

1. Buy your textbooks used.

Buy your textbooks used

Seriously, this is one of the simplest ways to save a ton of money every semester—to the tune of hundreds of dollars. The internet has made it relatively easy to track down used versions of even the most obscure textbooks.

Pay a fraction of the price and then turn around and re-sell them again at the end of the semester—and ta-da! You get more money back in your pocket!

2. Take advantage of free and low-cost food options on campus.

Take advantage of free and low-cost food options on campus

The cafeteria food at your school may be almost impossible to stomach, but stomaching it is worth it if it saves you money, right?

You are not going to find cheaper food unless you make it yourself. That is however an option which is well worth considering too—a mini-fridge and a microwave may be an outlay of cash, but they do tend to pay for themselves.

Also be on the lookout for opportunities to eat free. Sometimes student unions organize free pizza nights and similar programs—you just need to be at the right place at the right time.

Once you are in the know, it is usually pretty easy to show up and save some money. Free food usually is tied to special events, but participation is seldom required.

3. Ditch your bad habits.

Ditch your bad habits

When you embark on your freshman year of college, you are probably moving out of your parents’ house for the first time ever. As a result, you are going to be tempted to overindulge.

Freshmen are notorious partiers. After a lifetime of keeping a careful lid on their behavior, they go off the deep end.

While you may be reveling in the chance to finally smoke and drink to your heart’s content, think twice about it. What seems like letting loose now can quickly turn into addiction, and addiction is the ultimate black hole when it comes to money.

Drinking and smoking are both incredibly expensive. The worst part? They not only will cost you money now, but will cost you more than you can imagine over the course of your lifetime. The best advice? Don’t start!

4. Wait to get a car.

Wait to get a car

A car can be incredibly useful when you are in college, but if you live on campus, you might want to think about waiting before you invest in one.

For one thing, payments on even a used car can be very expensive. But even owning a car outright can be quite costly when you live on campus. Student parking spaces do not come cheap. On top of that, you have to pay for gasoline to travel everywhere.

If you do have to have a car on campus, you might want to consider using it as seldom as possible. Instead of driving to and from the store or other locations, consider simply taking the bus or metro. While this may also carry an expense, it still will usually add up to less than gas. Plus, many colleges offer free shuttle services.

5. Learn to budget.

Learn to budget

Finally, what is the very best thing you can do to save money while you are in school? Learn how to keep a budget!

Many people do not do this even after they graduate. But it is the single most important step you can take in learning how to control your finances. If you do not tally up your expenses each month and compare it against your income (if applicable), there is no way for you to know where your money is really going.

Once you get used to keeping a budget, you will start to unleash its power. The more clearly you can see your monthly finances, the easier it is to identify areas where you could potentially save.

Looking for even more brilliant ideas to cut back on your expenses in college?  Try these 151 easy ways to save money!

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