Many students are feeling the heat of rising tuition costs and living expenses. The good news is that there are plenty of ways to save money that require minimal effort.
We wanted real examples, so we sent out our team of Frank college interns from around the country to find the best ways to save on college essentials. Here’s a list of 12 tips to help you keep more cash in your pocket.
1. Save money on your new laptop.
There is no need to ever pay full price on a laptop for school. There are plenty of great places to find deals for students when it comes to laptops and software, like StudentEdge. This company actually finds where you are located by GPS and finds the best tech deals near you.
2. Don’t buy new textbooks.
If you haven’t looked into the cost of textbooks yet, you’re in for a shock. Before you hit the campus bookstore, see if you can borrow books from an upperclassman or from the college library. Another option is to buy them used. You can find great deals on Amazon, or you can rent them from Barnes & Noble’s textbook service. Another option is to order digital textbooks through sites like iFlipd.
3. Be cautious with credit cards.
It’s surprisingly easy to get approved for a credit card when you’re a college student, but paying it is not so easy. If you do get a credit card, choose one with the lowest interest rate possible. Always pay your bill in full and on time to avoid interest fees stacking up against you. A credit card can be a great to begin building credit, but only if you know how to use it.
4. Watch application dates.
Remember that financial aid awards are granted on a first-come, first-serve basis, so watch out for those deadlines. Set alerts before the deadline if your’e afraid you’ll forget.
5. Limit eating out.
This should be an obvious one. Although you might get sick of eating dorm food, the savings are incredible. Cooking can also be a lot of fun. It’s totally fine to go out and splurge once in awhile, but don’t make eating out a habit. The costs add up quickly.
6. Stay focused on your schoolwork.
The cost of another year of school or even one more semester is devastating if you aren’t planning on it. You should always know where you stand in relation to graduation. Stay on top of your credits and everything will be smooth sailing.
7. Choose housing carefully.
For the majority of schools, it’s usually cheaper to live in the dorms as opposed to living off-campus. By opting to live with a roommate, you can even save even more by splitting the costs.
8. Get a coffee maker.
All those Starbucks and Dunkin charges (though delicious) add up after a while. You’ll have much more cash in your pocket if you invest in your own coffee maker.
9. Visit a local bank.
Ask about their checking and savings account options for college students. They can sometimes have no minimum balances and lower fees. Be sure they don’t hit you with big charges for things like using the ATM. Important: Use online banking to track your account balance and avoid overdraft fees—otherwise, that’s a costly mistake!
10. Say goodbye to cable.
With so much to stream on your computer, you definitely don’t need to pay for cable. A Netflix account is only a few bucks a month. If you find yourself needing much more than that, we suggest getting back to the books. It’s too easy to binge, so you should limit the amount of time spent watching television. Your grades (and your wallet) will thank you.