Ever hear the phrase “starving student?” Well, it didn’t come from nowhere (and certainly not a fat-cat). College students are notoriously broke, but it doesn’t have to be that way. These 25 tips will put more (er, some) money in your pocket.
1. Make a Budget, Check It Twice
This is number one on our list for a reason. It’s easy to let money fritter away. Thou Shalt Not Fritter. A nightclub cover charge here, a dinner out with friends there, a book you didn’t know you had to buy for class thrown in the mix and suddenly all the money you have for the month vanishes in a cloud of shame.
Getting a basic idea of how much you’re spending each month and where you can cut back is one of the most fundamental financial lessons you’ll learn while in college. This worksheet will help you brainstorm your expenses while Mint.com can track your spending.
2. Rule the School
Aside from tuition, room and board are going to be your next biggest expense. At some schools, room and board costs even more than tuition. Hey, they’ve got to pay for those ungodly expensive dorms somehow.
Students who work as Resident Advisors frequently get free or significantly reduced room and board in exchange for their work. Considering that the average full-time student attending an in-state public school pays $8,535 per year in room and board according to The College Board, working as an RA can be one of the most lucrative gigs on campus.
It happens every year—unwitting freshmen buy hundreds of dollars worth of text books then virtually cry at the end of the semester when they’re worthless. Watch the faces of students in line at the book store. The ones who look devastated are those who haven’t figured out that textbooks are expensive as heck and get sold back for pennies on the dollar.
The College Board reports that the average student pays $1,137 for books and supplies every year, but you can check the same books out of your library for free. If the campus library isn’t an option, sites like eCampus, Chegg, and CollegeBook Renter will rent you books for a semester while sharing with a friend can cut the cost of buying books in half.