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How to Save Money While You’re a Student

Money might be tight when you’re in college, but it’s not impossible to find ways to save. Here are some simple ideas.

Budget
It’s essential to create a spending plan so you know where and how you’re spending your money. This allows for better spending habits. Without knowing where your money is going, it’s impossible to know what to cut back on. Too many dinners out with friends and an unexpected book you have to buy for class and suddenly all the money you have for the month could be gone. Consider downloading a budgeting app to help you keep track of your personal finances. Get started on setting up an emergency fund for unexpected situations, the standard is to have about three to six months worth of living expenses set aside.

Food 
Prepping meals at home can save you a lot of money. One meal out can cost as much as one cooked meal that includes leftovers for two more meals. Never go grocery shopping when you’re hungry. Stock up on sale items you can easily store or freeze to save time and money. Cooking at home is often more nutritious, which can play in a role in your overall wellbeing and performance in school. Even though eating out can be tempting and convenient, try to limit your food expenses and stick to your budget. Take advantage of coupons or special offers when you can to help stretch out your food budget.

Textbooks
Before you go out and buy the newest copy of each book for your classes, check to see if you can get by using an earlier edition. Be sure to shop around for the best prices, websites like cheapesttextbooks.com can help you find books online for the best price and many schools have Facebook group pages where students post their old textbooks for sale. Renting from your school bookstore or from online textbook retailers like Chegg can be another great option. Sometimes you can even find textbooks at the library. If you have to resort to buying a textbook at full price, take good care of it so you can sell it back at the end of the semester.

Entertainment
Staying busy for cheap while in college should never be a problem. Instead of going out and spending money on entertainment, check out the free events that your campus has to offer—concerts, movies, speakers, sporting events. Always check and see if student discounts are available to you. Stay in shape with the free fitness classes or intramural sports that are offered at your school’s recreational center. Join clubs on camps, which can help you learn new skills and open up future opportunities for you. Lastly, ditch your cable—watch shows and movies online. Online retailers like Amazon offer students a six-month trial period for their streaming services and after the trial period is over, students can choose to keep the service for an annual fee of $49.

College is supposed to be fun and about opening up new possibilities for yourself. Even though it can be expensive it’s important to live within your means as much as possible. Try your best to prepare for your future after college and try to utilize grants and scholarship as much as possible to keep tuition costs low. If you do find that you need a little extra financial assistance during college you can take advantage of the Sallie Mae Smart Option Student Loan® that is available to members of Fitzsimons Credit Union.

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