Hey guys! Today I’m sharing a guest post from Caitlin, the blogger behind Lemonade Press Blog. She is sharing her best financial tips to help you stay on top of money in college! Without further ado, I will let her share her ideas and tips.
It’s no secret that college these days is expensive. The price of four-year college continues to increase. There are tuition rates, food and housing, as well as all the fees! Not to mention buying books. The financial burden of college can definitely be overwhelming and a lot to process, but here are some easy ways to help you save while in college!
Know your financial situation when choosing a college
The biggest takeaway for planning financially for college is to know your budget. Look at schools to determine if they fit your budget. Will the school give you enough scholarships or financial aid to help you attend? Or will you be in debt after college? Do you have financial support outside of the college? It’s important to look at your own financial situation before looking for colleges in order to really understand what school is in your price range.
Look for scholarships every year
This may seem a bit like a no-brainer, but many college students who are in their second or third years of college don’t do this! Even though they’ve already started college, there are plenty of scholarships out there they can keep looking for. The best place to start is looking on Google or at the scholarships your school has. You may be surprised by what you find!
Participate in work study or get a job
With extra-curriculars, classes, and studying, it may seem a bit intimidating to work. However, putting in a few extra hours a week, working either on- or off-campus, can give you some wiggle room in your budget. Many colleges and universities offer a work study program, where you work a set amount of hours on campus each week. This allows you to put that money you earn back towards your tuition. You might also consider being a Resident Assistant, which could help with your room and board.
Know your spending budget each month
Sometimes the biggest place that catches college students is the extra spending outside of tuition, books, and fees. Make sure that besides knowing your budget for tuition, you are also aware of your budget for your spending money. Find things to do with friends that are free around campus. When eating out, try finding lower priced restaurants that you can still enjoy without overspending. When you live off-campus, try to keep grocery costs low.
Find cheaper options when buying books
Books and supplies have a tendency to add a big financial burden each semester. One easy way to lower those fees is to look for your books on Amazon or Ebay. You can also ask your professors if they have any extra copies of the textbooks. Even students who have already taken the class may be happy to hand over their copy of the text for a lower price. There’s usually a cheaper option to buying books than getting them directly from the campus bookstore!
Look for paid internships during the summer
Although this may not be feasible for all areas of study, looking for a paid internship gives you both the experience that is so valuable to have on your resume, but also allows you to earn money for your time throughout your summer breaks. Don’t waste your time in the summer when you can be building up some savings!
Find the best bang for your buck in a living situation
Most colleges require you to live on campus for the first year, and then allow you to choose your living situation afterwards. With this option, there is the ability to look for a place to live on- or off-campus. Depending on the school and the area the school is in, there may be an obvious answer to choosing a cheaper option. Look around your city and see which is the cheaper option. Make sure to factor in food & utility costs as well as rent/housing fees for living on campus.
While there is a great deal of financial weight of college, just by being responsible and knowing your options, you can easily stay on top of this!
Do you have any good financial tips for the college student?
Thanks so much to Caitlin for sharing her financial tips for college students! It is so important to stay on top of your financial situation while in college! I’ve definitely struggled with some of this over the years, but I have always found a way to make it work. If you want to know more about Caitlin, you can check out her blog here, or follow her on Instagram!