What are the best ways to save your money as a college student?

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Answered by: Silvana, An Expert in the Money and Expenses Category
One of the most important parts of succeeding while attending college is maintaining a budget. Since tuition, books, and housing can be so expensive, saving money is helpful for most college students.

Buying used books each semester can save hundreds of dollars, and notes can often be found in the margins that will help during the course. Using the school computer labs saves you the cost of buying and maintaining a personal computer, like a laptop. Obviously, bills including rent, electricity and groceries should be managed before considering other expenses.

There are several steps that can be taken to ensure that money is not spent foolishly, including keeping receipts and bank statements, creating a budget, and avoiding credit cards. If you keep bank statements, it is easy to see which purchases are made the most frequently and make decisions on what areas need to be cut back on. Avoiding credit cards helps students to avoid getting in more debt before graduation. Interest rates for credit cards can make items cost much more than the original cost, especially if only the minimum payment is maintained.

When shopping for necessities, it makes sense to write a shopping list and refer back to it. Only buying things that appear on the list makes it easier to avoid making too many unnecessary purchases. Setting a budget for other expenses, including eating at restaurants or enjoying hobbies works best if one stays disciplined. Sticking to the budget is important to make sure that money is available for an emergency or a card is not overdrafted.

Paying with cash as much as possible, especially when attending fun events or drinking alcohol, helps to ensure that no more money is spent than planned beforehand. Cutting back on soda or other beverages can also help you to save your money as a college student, as you can rely on tap water. This has an added health benefit as well, since no other liquid is better for hydration.

For students in city areas, consider taking the public transit system or riding a bicycle. This will save money on car maintenance, gas, and insurance. Carpooling is another way to save your money when spending a lot of time with friends. Taking turns driving and paying for gas will cut down on emissions and reduce costs for everyone.

Learning how to cook is also a valuable skill, as constantly buying takeout like pizza or Chinese is bad for your health and your wallet. Try cooking food that will last a couple of meals, such as chicken alfredo, stir fry, or spaghetti. These skills will come in handy after graduation, as well.

Have fun shopping in thrift stores rather than buying brand new clothes. This can make a fashion statement while saving money on clothing. There are several benefits to saving money, including becoming less materialistic, healthier, and caring for the environment. Saving your money doesn't have to be a difficult task that makes you feel like you're missing out on anything!

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