In a few short weeks students will be heading off to college — some for the first time.
Unless you’re getting a free ride — and most aren’t — it behooves you to know how to save money when the fall semester starts. Here are three ways that can help.
- Track your expenses and make cuts on unnecessary expenses. Setting a budget and noting where every penny is spent can go a long way toward saving money, which can amount to an extra several hundred dollars each month, according to CNBC. Ditch the trendy coffee shop and make your own coffee. Use your school’s meal plan, which is almost always cheaper than eating out. Take advantage of campus activities that are often free, like movies, concerts, tailgate parties and dances. Buy used textbooks through local bookstores or from a number of online book resellers. Rein in credit card use. It’s easy to pay with plastic, but the bill always comes later, with interest. Avoid interest by paying your balance off each month.
- Make extra money. In addition to scholarships and financial aid, check out internships and work-study programs at your college. Plus, college towns typically have a plethora of part-time jobs. Illinois Community Credit Union awards college scholarships to its young members annually, helping them succeed and reach their full potential in life. The awards are presented to high school seniors and current college students who have demonstrated hard work, courage, perseverance and dedication to academic excellence while finding time for extracurricular activities and volunteering in their communities.
- Put that money away. Deposit any additional money you realize from cutting expenses and/or a job, into your bank or credit union. Small amounts add up over time. CNBC recommends using the automatic transfer option, if available, from your job. You’ll be less likely to spend it there. Find a checking and/or savings account with no fees, minimum balance or monthly deposit requirements. Open an interest-bearing checking account at a credit union, advises Best Value Schools.