Article | 2:41 min read

How to Save Money While in College

Life Events

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Members of the millennial generation have a lot of going for them, but they still face some challenges. About 22.3 percent of millennials between the ages of 18 and 34 have obtained a bachelor's degree according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Unfortunately, they are still facing financial difficulty following graduation. Steven Rattner, a Wall Street executive, wrote an opinion for The New York Times in which he said members of this generation often deal with student loan debt and for the time being, stagnant wages.

Knowing these prospects, today's students should strive to save as much money as possible while still enrolled in school. Whether you're attending community college or a four year university, every student can follow these helpful savings tips.

Buy Used Books
You cannot realistically go through your entire college education without purchasing the required textbooks. How else will you complete reading assignments, homework and study for tests? Textbooks are expensive, with the average student at a four year, in state public college spent $1,225 on textbooks during the 2014-2015 school year according to the College Board.

Students should always check for used books first at the bookstore or online. They can also rent them from popular services such as Amazon and Chegg. If you do some searching and exploring around online, you may find older novels that are free through Apple's iBooks, Google Play Books and Amazon Kindle. However, you may find yourself enrolled in some classes where you cannot buy a used textbook.

The same mindset also applies to clothing. If your college town has a thrift store, head there first if you're looking for a new shirt. The clothing is very affordable, and you never know when you'll strike gold.

Learn to Budget
One habit you should develop while in college is budgeting. As a freshman, you may not have to worry too much about this, since your housing costs typically include everything. It's a different story for upperclassmen who live off-campus.

At the beginning of every month, you should grab a cup of coffee and create a monthly budget. Start with your monthly income, which may come from financial aid, scholarships or jobs. Then create a list of your expenses, starting with the most important - rent, utilities and groceries. Create a fund for social activities and you should try to put whatever is left over in a savings account.

Above all, you have to stick to your budget, wrote Jacqueline Curtis of Money Crashers. You are only hurting yourself if you dip into your savings account so you can have money to go out on the weekend. Even spontaneous moments, such as a grocery shopping on an empty stomach, should be avoided. There are numerous online services students can utilize to help them create a budget, such as personal financial management tools like Money Manager.

Get a Job
Your parents have probably told you to get a job quite often, and they're right. Getting work, even if it's part-time, will give you monthly income and help you become even more independent while in school. That monthly income can teach you financial responsibility. A majority of your time in college is - hopefully - spent learning new ideas. Personal finances can, and should be, included


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