The life of a full-time student is inevitably hectic. Trying to balance life, class, social events and general responsibilities can seem daunting– even to the most organized academic. Throw financial worries on top of the to-do list and life can get out of control pretty quickly. With the cost of school rising annually, and the economy consistently taking unpredictable turns, it’s important that busy students have a method for keeping their budget in check. Here are a few tips on how to be a full-time student and manage to save a little money at the same time.
Buy bargain books
Before a college student even walks into their first class, they’ve usually received an enormous bill for books that are needed on day one. Academic books for a semester’s worth of learning can run students close to $400 or more depending on subject matter and major. Before you swipe the credit card, take some time to research used and bargain books that may be available. Amazon.com and Craigslist often post listings for students that are selling their lightly used books at a significantly reduced price. Similarly, university and college libraries may even lend certain academic books if you’re quick to make a request early. Bookstores usually offer discounts on used versions, and many students will post individual book sale listings on public announcement boards.
Use student discounts liberally
Students can use all the financial help they can get, and a student ID is often the key to reductions in cost. Make sure to ask everyone, from the grocery store clerks to the cocktail lounge waiter whether or not they offer a discount with a student ID. It may not be convenient to carry around, but every time your ID is accepted, you keep money in your pocket!
Skip the theater, head to the library
While it’s tempting to view your favorite flick at the nearest theater, many students aren’t aware that it’s possible to rent movies and musical entertainment from their school’s library at no cost. Instead of handing over your cash at the kiosk this weekend, skip the fee altogether and enjoy a film for free, courtesy of your educational institution.
Just because you’re a full-time student on a budget doesn’t necessarily mean you have to dress like one. Instead of spending large amounts of money on new clothes, host a party where friends bring their new or lightly used clothes to swap and trade amongst each other. Not only is it a chance for everyone to spend time together, but all of your friends walk away with new items for their closet and a balanced bank account.
Consider freelance work
A full class schedule doesn’t always allow a lot of free time for picking up part-time shifts. If you’re looking for some extra pocket change amidst your packed schedule, consider taking on a few freelance writing projects a week. Not only does it keep cash in hand, but contract work allows students to organize a work schedule that fits with their classes.
Scour for scholarships
Just because the year is in full swing doesn’t mean all scholarships are void. In fact, there are new scholarships added to public and private funding websites daily. Taking the time to glance at what scholarships are available throughout the academic year not only gives you a heads up on impending deadlines, but could put you a step ahead of the competition when it comes to lesser known grants or funding that are available. Making time in your busy schedule for these offers could help you end up with a financial gift that just might boost your academic experience.