Enjoy this guest post today from my blogging friend Glen at www.howtosavemoney.guru.
Avoid borrowing more money than you need
When I was first told that people in the US borrow money to go and live on campus (essentially borrowing to pay rent), I actually couldn’t believe it. Not only that, but my friend (who is from the US) told me that it is common place for students to do this.
I live in Australia, and while there certainly isn’t as many colleges to choose from as there are in the USA, the idea of getting a loan to pay for accommodation close to college just wasn’t an option.
Instead, I decided that I would attend a local college and utilize the public transport system to get to and from my classes. I had to plan my journey to fit within the transport timetable, but I also saved so much money.
The one thing that I do really like about the US system that isn’t available in Australia, is that there are so many loan types to choose from if you do end up needing financial assistance. Whether it be federal loans, private bank loans, peer to peer loans, state loans or even school loans, there is an abundance of choice for students. The only difficult bit would be selecting which option to go with.
Buy used textbooks
I personally found that one of the best ways to save money at college was to stop buying brand new textbooks wherever possible, and start buying secondhand ones. I did this for almost all of my classes and I found that in many cases I was saving over 50% of the cost of buying a book brand new. As I’m sure you’re aware – books aren’t cheap! Some textbooks can cost hundreds of dollars, so it is worthwhile seriously looking into secondhand books as a way to save some cash.
Make money in your spare time & network
When I was studying full-time, I found that if I could arrange my schedule so that most of my classes were lumped together, I ended up having a few days of time up my sleeve. I used some of this time going to a part time job at a local fresh produce department of a supermarket.
Having that extra money helped me to not only save money for when I was finished college, but it also meant that I was better able to network with others outside of classes, as I had more disposable income available to me. It might seem a bit odd to go and spend money socializing, but some of the connections you make at college can have a big impact on your ability to get a job when you want to enter the workforce. The way I saw it, the money was well spent, and to date, it has held me in good stead.
If you are interested in finding work, Brian recently posted 20 flexible part time jobs for college students, which I found to have some really great ideas that pretty much anyone can do regardless of if you are on or off campus.
If you do land a part time or casual job, be sure to carefully consider how much time you can afford away from your studies without your grades slipping. Money is good to have, but it really must be balanced with your study commitments.
Author Bio: Glen owns and operates the website www.howtosavemoney.guru, a personal finance website designed to help people save money wherever possible.
Editors Note and Questions: I can’t emphasize enough the importance of networking. Many times finding that perfect job goes back to the old adage, “It’s not what you know but who you know.” Take time to connect with people and build those relationships. They will pay off in the end.
What’s your best money saving tip for college students? Did you borrow money for school? How have you seen networking prove fruitful in your own life?