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College: 5 Tips for Saving Money This Semester

By 9:30 AM

College is expensive (in case you didn't already know). From tuition fees to paying rent each month, it really adds up, especially if you're attending a four year university. Although there are some fees you really just can't avoid, there's several things you can do to help keep extra costs down. A lot of debt comes from unnecessary spending, like buying overpriced books and staying at expensive apartment complexes. Here's 5 tips for saving money this semester (and every semester to come!)

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1. Make a budget.

I know it sounds horribly boring, but making a budget for yourself is really the best thing you can do to keep track of how much you're spending and to keep costs as low as possible. Just sit down one day and write out everything you spend money on, from rent to meals.

The key is to make your budget flexible enough to allow unexpected costs that might come up (like the occasional parking ticket, perhaps), but you need to be tough on yourself in order to make it effective.

Because creating a budget is pretty taxing, I found this awesome website that will help you create a budget for yourself. It even includes a printable worksheet that's easy to use! Check it out here.

2. Don't buy textbooks at the bookstore on campus.

If you're in college, you already know how overpriced campus bookstores are. There are some courses that update required materials every year and have university-specific books; for those classes, you'll have to stick with the campus bookstore unfortunately.

However, for the majority of general and major courses, you can opt for buying or renting your textbook from an online store. These stores will have cheaper options available for you.

A great option for buying or renting books online is ecampus. This site is regarded as the #1 website for buying or selling books and has great reviews! 

TIP: Not all courses will even use the required textbooks on the syllabus. I'd recommend waiting at least a week to see if you even need to purchase the book. Why waste money on a book your professor never uses?

3. Cook meals at your apartment.

If you live on campus, you're probably required to purchase a campus meal plan so this doesn't necessarily apply to you. However, if you're living off campus and have your own apartment, cooking your own meals will really help you save money and even eat a little healthier if you choose to.

The key to making this work is to plan meals weekly, budget them, and make them easy to whip up in a flash. If you need recipe ideas, check this site out for 19 recipes for college students.

If you need more advice on planning meals every week, you should also check out this website for some help on planning meals and preparing for each week with a budget in mind.

4. Plan your schedules ahead of time.

One of the biggest ways that college students waste money is by wasting time, point blank. When you don't focus on school, choosing a major or giving yourself enough hours per semester to complete, you end up spending well over four years to complete your degree. Spending more time than necessary in college usually ends up with the student being in major debt.

The main thing I did to complete my time in college in a timely manner was by planning my schedules out in advance.

As soon as I chose my major, I sat down and completed a rough schedule at least two semesters ahead of time to help me determine when I'd complete my courses.

I know it doesn't sound appealing to think about the future, but it will really help you make the most of your time and keep from spending extra money on courses you don't need or have time for.

If you need help planning, check this site out. It offers great tips for getting ahead with planning.

5. Carpool/walk to campus.

Another way students end up spending a lot of extra money is buying gas for their cars to get to school. If you don't live on campus, considering carpooling or walking to campus is a great way to save money.

Find friends who live near you and plan out weekly schedules for taking turns driving to campus. 

You might also have an option to use a transit bus to get to campus, which I'd highly suggest trying out at least once to see how it works for you.

Also, if you want to get in shape, walking to campus is a great way to get in exercise!

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I hope these tips help you all out! If you want anymore advice about school related subjects, go like my Facebook page and leave a comment letting me know what you would like to read about next!

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