Sunday, April 25, 2010

Pinch a Penny

College students are notorious for living cheap and being broke. Here are a few ideas on how to save as a student and hopefully not be as broke.

1.     Get paid to learn: Uncle Sam loves students and there are plenty of grants and scholarships that can pay for your tuition. Sign up for FAFSA; even if you don’t qualify for financial aid many other scholarships use the same information and could help you get some kind of grant.

2.     Beat the Bookstore: Nothing is more frustrating than paying hundreds of dollars for books. The on campus bookstore is probably the worst option. Look for other bookstores that make a living off of selling books cheaper than the bookstore. Amazon.com has a great list of used books and for a fraction of the cost. You can even make a profit off of your books. I will post about this in two weeks when I do the in depth analysis’s of this.

3.     “Can you tell me where the library is?” I always find it funny when a student asks me that question, I start to think to myself “seriously you are in college and don’t know where the library is?” The Library isn’t just for studying.

School libraries have huge selections of entertainment materials. Don’t waste money-renting DVDs or buying Cds. Rent them from the library for free, oh and libraries have books you can read also.

4.     If you go to UVU get the free parking pass. The shuttle runs every ten minutes and can often get you to places on campus faster than walking. Using the free lot for 4 years will save you $320 dollars.

5.     Coupons are not just for moms: Every college town has a coupon calendar that is distributed every fall. These Calendars have hundreds of coupons that can save you a ton of money. Do a local search and have one mailed to you.

6.     Save on your looks.: Hair stylist go to the same schools. Rather than spending $30 at a high-end salon, find a local $7dollar hair cut salon. Or if you are a guy cut your own hair. I bought a pair of clippers for $25 dollars 4 years ago and have been using them ever since. This can save you hundreds of dollars.

7.     Make dating about what you do and talk about, not about what you spend. First dates are always a bit nerve racking and can often end up being the last. Don’t waste a lot of money on a first date. Instead do something cheap and fun so you can have a great time talking with your date. Pick up some cold cuts and have a picnic at the park. Throw a Frisbee around and have a good time. A date like that can cost fewer than ten dollars vs. Dinner and a movie being around $40, where you learn little about your date.

8.     Paying rent is like burning money. Find as many ways to ease the burn as possible. If possible add an additional roommate to your place to lower the costs of your rent. If you have a steady income look into buying a place and renting out the other rooms. This will enable you to build equity and let your roommates pay the mortgage.

9.     Where’s your school spirit. Bleeding your schools colors can save a ton of money. Check out your universities activities calendar and go to a few of the activities. They are usually very cheap if not free, and they usually provide food or refreshments. In addition check out any competitions going on around the school. Often they offer prizes that are useful or could be sold for extra cash.

10.  If you haven’t noticed retro is in. Remember your first Power Ranger or Barbie lunch box? Whip it out and fill it up. Packing a lunch from home can save a ton of money. It’s hard to cook for one person, so cook for two and eat the leftovers for lunch. Try to eliminate purchasing two lunches a week. If the average cost is around $5 you could save $520 a year.

If you have any ideas that could be taken into further depth under each category I would love your input. What are you doing or did you do as a college student to save money?