College is expensive. Pretty much everything about college costs a lot of money, so instead of getting nickeled and dimed, you’re probably getting ten’d and twenty’d. A lot of young adults are overwhelmed financially when they depart for college, but that doesn’t have to be you. If you’re concerned about student debt, paying for groceries or credit cards, there are some hacks that you should know about. Here are five tips to help you financially for the next two, four or however many years you’ll be spending in school.
5. Small Balances Come First
When you’re a student, the likelihood of you having to take out a massive six figure loan over the course of four years almost seems inevitable these days. It won’t all be in one lump sum, though, so it’s important to look at all of your loans (which also includes credit cards). The smaller a balance is, the quicker you’ll want to pay it off before you start looking at the big ones. Interest rates vary so consolidation isn’t always the answer, and hitting one loan at a time to a $0 balance will work wonders.
4. Pay More Than Minimum
A lot of us want to pay the bare minimum that’s due while we work toward a future where we’re getting paid enough to just zero out a student loan or credit card balance. Instead, you should be paying as much as you can now to make things easier for you in the future. If you’re able to pay toward your principal balance right from the get go, you won’t have to worry about high interest payments. Start early and start often. If you have extra cash that you’re not using, put it toward your balances.
3. Pick Your Books Wisely
Let’s just get it out there, college textbooks for the most part are a scam. Every semester a new copy of what’s practically the same book comes out and costs students an arm and a leg. Instead, do your best with an older secondhand copy that you can get from a local bookstore and save yourself hundreds of dollars in the process. The newest version might be required, but the internet is here to help you get around that peskiness.
2. Don’t Go With Name Brands
Of course you have to eat when you’re a student. It’s not like your appetite suddenly vanishes. With that said, be mindful when you’re at the grocery store. You don’t need the name brand of everything, and don’t be too proud to shop at a dollar store for snacks and other small items like utensils. Grocery stores like Aldi are a lifesaver when you’re a college student (or anyone with a budget, really).
1. Use Those Student Discounts
When you think of discounts, you probably tend to think about those that are in the military or senior citizens. College students, however, have a slew of discounts that they can pick from. Always browse online to see if there’s a student discount available for you as even the biggest companies provide them. Amazon, State Farm, Best Buy, you name it. Even if you’re a sports fan you can get discounts as the NFL television package is much cheaper and doesn’t require a satellite television subscription.