The first week of college can be an incredible experience for new students. There are countless people to meet, unfamiliar places to see and new things to do. It’s an exciting and unforgettable experience.
That first week is also a time of money-saving opportunities. Even though most students have already signed up for their financial aid packages and signed off on loans by the time they’re sitting in their first class, that first week offers opportunities for students to improve their finances and set themselves up for a better job after college.
Check online before buying textbooks. This is something that you can do even before your first day of classes. Often times you can find used textbooks at a much lower price on your local Facebook Buy, Sell, Trade or even Amazon.com. Search around before buying new from your campus book store.
Take advantage of student discounts.
Don’t forget that Amazon.com offers Prime Membership discounts to students. Order your text books, coffee, shampoo, phone charger, etc. all delivered straight to you! This is an especially great option if you do not have a vehicle to drive to the store. Many businesses offer discounts to students, all you need to do is ask or search online for a list of stores/restaurants
that offer student discounts.
Start paying off interest now. If you take out student loans to help you pay for college, you may or may not be aware that your interest begins to accumulate the day you sign for the loan, NOT after you graduate. Start paying down interest (even just $10 a month) to help you save money in the long-run.
Use campus Amenities. Before you spend money going out on the weekend, check your campus for activities going on. Usually you can find free movie night, free fitness classes, or even free concerts.
Limit dining out. This seems like a no-brainer but you may find that once you begin trying to balance classes and work that you run out of time to prepare a meal. Try to get into the habit of planning out your weekly meals and grocery shopping accordingly. Meal prepping can save you money, time, and frustration of what to eat each day. Even purchasing a cheap coffee maker for $20 can save you big time! An average 12oz. cup of regular black coffee from Starbucks will cost you roughly $2 per day, 5 days a week ($160 per semester). Purchasing a $20 coffee maker and a $12 can of Folgers coffee grounds will give you coffee for 5 days a week for TWO semesters and only costing you a total of $32!! As previously mentioned, this tip is a no-brainer.
Visit your bank.
Be sure your bank has your back when you head off to school. Look for checking accounts
that are free, reimburse your ATM fees, allow for easy mobile banking (including mobile deposits). You may even be interested in a student credit card
that offers perks to college students.
Fill up your calendar with scholarship application dates. This is an important tip that should not be overlooked. Scholarship application deadlines are spread throughout the year. Spend some time looking into scholarships and their application deadlines, then mark them down in a calendar. Set up reminders so that you remember them several days in advance. A pile of little scholarships can take a huge bite out of your student loans, so this little task can pay enormous dividends if you follow through on most of those scholarship deadlines.
If you combine these strategies, you’ll drastically cut the cost of your food, drink and books and set yourself up for enormous college savings and career benefits down the road. Even better, you can do all of these things during the first week on campus.