Living on a Low Budget

With many years of experience through trial and error, people learn a few shortcuts in order to save money. However, it is the college students who tend to find nearly every money-saving shortcut known to exist and with good reason.  Generally, college students do not have very much money to live off of.  So, below are some tips to help those struggling college students hang on to their last nickels and dimes a little longer.

STUDENT BANK ACCOUNT

Get a free checking and savings account with a bank that has special options for students.  Otherwise, the bank may charge fees for anything and everything (too many ATM withdrawals, too many checks written, money transfers, etc.).  Another good idea would be to link the checking account to the savings account with overdraft protection, so the bank does not charge you a fee if you accidently go over.

PIGGY BANK

Buy a piggy bank or just use a large jar to hold change.  Whenever you have a little extra spare change, put it in the piggy bank or jar.  When it gets full, try to count and roll the change yourself.  Be wary of the change counting machines which can rip you off sometimes or may charge you a fee.

BOOKS

Check to see if someone else around school has the book, and see if you can borrow it or buy it.  If not, buy a used book from the bookstore.  Also, you could order the book from online (Amazon.com, Ebay.com, half.com, etc.) After the class is over, you could even sell the book to someone else or online to make some extra cash.

FOOD

If you have a meal plan at the school, use it.  If you are not eating every single day, you could purchase a meal ticket which is much cheaper than having the one-meal-a-day plan.  If you buy your own food, find food that is fast to make, filling, and is affordable (Ramen Noodles, oatmeal, etc.).  Something else to consider is where you buy your food.  For college students, Walmart works well, but also Winn-Dixie has good deals too.

WATER

Stop buying bottled water. Go out and buy a filter that lasts for about three months and replace the filter when needed.  The cost of all that bottled water adds up after a while.  Besides, refilling a plastic bottle with water from the filter is basically the same thing.

COMPUTERS

Use the school’s computers if you do not have your own.  Computers are most likely above your budget.  The school’s computers will get the job done.  Besides, if you wait long enough, someone might just buy you a laptop as a gift.  You never know.

ENTERTAINMENT

If tonight is movie night, you might want to try to go during the day instead.  Matinee showings are cheaper than at night. What is even better would be to rent DVDs to watch with a group.  Super Walmart now has those vending machines where you can rent a DVD for a dollar a day if you have a credit card.  That is much cheaper than any movie at the movie theater.

Not what you’re looking for?  Don’t worry! This is just the beginning.  Check out the following pages for hundreds of more tips on how to survive on a low budget…

118 Ways to Save Money in College

136 Tips for Saving Money in College

50 Smart and Easy Ways to Save Money in College

Top Ways to Save Money in 2009

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