Congratulations on getting a place at college – even if it wasn’t the college of your dreams.
Now that you’ve graduated to the world of the grownups, you’ll soon realize that your first consideration will be – money! Whether you are studying sciences, humanities, medicine, engineering, or doing a TEFL work placement abroad– you’ll have to watch those pennies. Read on and learn how to save money while you are at college.
If you want to get laid, go to college. If you want an education, go to the library. – Frank Zappa
Tip 1 Accommodation – not necessarily just a place to crash out or take your date
You probably had your own bedroom when you were living with your folks. Well, you’ll still have your own bedroom when you are at college – but without your folks! That can’t be bad.
What you need to do is to check out the available accommodation: college campus accommodation, one bedroom self-contained apartment (the most expensive type of accommodation), or a room in a shared house.
Pick the one that is cheapest for you but which also reflects your life-style. For example, if you are into partying, then sharing a house could be for you. Okay! I’m only joking, but my advice is to start with campus accommodation and see how it goes from there. Don’t forget to factor in the utility bills: gas, electric, water, chicks (joke), and tax. Fortunately, these are all paid for if you live on campus.
Tip 2 Transport – this isn’t just about getting to parties and gigs
Another thing you should take into consideration is the distance of the accommodation from your college: you don’t want to end up cycling twenty miles a day five days a week. Imagine what your folks will think when they see you – they’ll think you are suffering from anorexia nervosa.
Alternatively, you don’t want to be spending a fortune on transport. So make sure that your accommodation is near the college campus. You could buy a car, but if you could do that – you wouldn’t be reading this article. Get yourself a good bicycle – it pays off in the long run.
‘Borrow’ a family member’s bike if you don’t have one: just make sure it’s not too small. If all else fails – take up walking.
Tip 3 Eating – this isn’t just about stuffing your face at an all-you-can-eat restaurant
You’re a gourmet. No kidding! Well, like all people with a discerning palate – you only eat the very best; unfortunately, the very best costs.
Well, kiddo – you’ll have to start eating what the rest of us eat; otherwise, you’ll soon start to feel quite hungry when the dough runs out.
Stick to staples, tasty fruit and vegetables, and moderately priced cuts of meat.
Learn how to cook: it will save you a fortune, and you’ll be able to enjoy those delicious steaks that cost the earth in those fancy restaurants. Eat at the college refectory – but in moderation.
Shop from supermarkets: it’s cheaper than shopping from the local grocery store and you won’t get dirty looks when you don’t spend much. Incidentally, don’t shop on impulse and NEVER go shopping when you are hungry.
If you have to go shopping when you are hungry – drink lots of water before you go; this will kill your hunger and your bladder but save your wallet, so make sure the supermarket has a john. Also, limit the number of times you eat out.
Tip 4 Drinking – this isn’t just about binge drinking
There is a tendency for heavy drinking among students – this can be expensive, so try not to get too inebriated or engage in binge drinking. If you can, avoid binge drinking all together. When you go out for a few drinks, always share the costs. In fact, it’s cheaper to buy a few drinks from a liquor store and enjoy them at home with your fellow students.
Tip 5 College books and materials – this isn’t just girlie magazines
Once you get your book lists from your professors, make an excuse to leave the seminars or just sneak out of the lecture theatre and run as if your a*se is on fire for the university second-hand bookshop and scoop up what you need before the hordes descend on the bookshop.
Avoid buying books you will only need for a short period – look for them in the library first. Before you go to college, impress your folks with your IT skills – that way you might get them to buy you a laptop. Make sure that you unsubscribe from any expensive internet sites that you really don’t need: especially the risqué ones.
Tip 6 Fitness & Gym – doesn’t mean getting ready for a spell at San Quentin
We all like to keep fit and healthy. If you’re into ‘pumping iron’ or running on a treadmill like a laboratory rat, then becoming a member of a gym is only natural. Don’t head for those expensive gyms with saunas and sunrooms and beautiful bronzed chicks and dudes: use the boring college gym; it will be cheaper – it may even be free – and more convenient.
Tip 7 Dealing with money – if you have any left, you’ll need to know how to deal with it
Open a savings account and a checking account: keep your spare money in your savings account to earn interest (that’s a joke nowadays) and keep your day-to-day money requirement in your checking account.
Make sure that you have an agreed overdraft and beware of an overdraft reserve (if you go into your reserve, you will be charged weekly until you get out of your reserve).
Try to pick a bank that has a timid bank manager: it’ll be better for you when you have to explain why your checking account is in the red again.
Tip 8 Shopping – I think; therefore, I shop (not said by René Descartes)
Always try to shop from places where they give credit and discounts to students: just flash your student identity card and say something like, “Student MIT PD” and you should get a good discount. Make sure that you pay all your bills and credit cards on time so that you don’t have to pay penalties and/or get charged (extra) interest.
Tip 9 Get an accountant – you have to be joking!
If you’re a dummy when it comes to math and can’t keep a proper track of your finances, get a free online ‘accountant’ such as the student budget calculator at ‘FinAid’ or ‘Mint.com’: you’ll soon get out of the red.
Tip 10 Don’t throw things away – it’s a sort of Schwarzenegger mentality “If it bleeds, we can kill it.”
Before you throw it in the trashcan, ask yourself, “Can I sell it?”
You’d be surprised at what you can sell: anything from old books, pet crocs, old Barbie dolls, Charles Manson memorabilia, and so on. You can also sell your stuff online at sites like ‘Poshmark’ and ‘Craigslist.’