Hello class, welcome to the first day of the rest of your life! Please find your seat, put your cell phones down and pay attention. Here’s the deal: College is expensive. It’s not kind of expensive, it’ not sort of expensive, it’s Scrooge McDuck going-on-vacation expensive. Fortunately for you, I have compiled a list that will make the $40 dollars in your pocket seem like $400 dollars. I’m going to teach you how to satisfy your champagne tastes with your caprice sun bank account. Without further ado, let’s begin.
Budgeting is an idea that most college freshman are aware of but have not fully applied. I’m pleading with you to budget. When you budget you instantly become aware of the amount of money you need to survive. Fortunately for you, there are plenty of free apps you can download to assist you in bringing order to your financial life. If you are able to successfully budget, you will build a skill that will serve you for the rest of your life. Simply put, budgeting is what successful, intelligent people do. You should always do what successful, intelligent people do.
- Record Each Expenditure
Whenever you make a purchase, be sure to record it! Yes, I know this can be annoying, but it’s better to feel annoyed than to be unaware of your spending habits. When you commit to recording your purchases, you instantly separate yourself from other students and give yourself financial feedback. You will become aware of where your money goes and give yourself an opportunity to learn where you can begin to save. Remember, even an innocent coffee-a-day habit can add up. Small leaks sink big ships.
- Shop Smart
Who said saving money has to be a drag? When you’re a college freshman looking to save money, it’s on you to make intelligent shopping choices. Choose store brands instead of name brands. Buy food that will last for days instead of food that will last for a meal. Buy in bulk. Instead of buying textbooks, rent textbooks or find used copies. Counsel with older students that have had your professors to learn what you truly need. Shopping smart is 100% on you; there’s always a way to save money. A good rule of thumb is, if you cannot purchase in cash, do not purchase at all.
- Get Involved
A college campus is one of the few places on earth where you can become involved with practically any interest you have. The beauty of becoming involved is it allows you to attend events where there are usually free food and other useful items. I urge you to consider becoming a resident advisor as your college career progresses. Resident advisors usually do not have to pay for room and board; this will save you thousands of dollars.
- Utilize Financial Aid
By far the best way to live frugally is to utilize every resource you have available for you to save money. Often times this involves becoming familiar with the financial aid office on your college campus. This office employs people whose only job is to find solutions for you to help you save money. From personal experience The University Of Cincinnati has a terrific financial aid program. In addition to financial aid, spend time applying for scholarships. There is plenty of money lying on the ground; it’s on you to learn how to pick it up.