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Managing Your Money In College

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College may be very fun, but it’s also very expensive. Check out the helpful advice listed below to see how you can responsibly manage your money when in college!

Don’t Spend What You Could Save

Whether it be going to the coffee shop with your friends and buying a $4 latte or buying a candle you like from the store for $7, there are some purchases that are unnecessary. When trying to save money in college, avoid spending money on things you don’t need. Of course, that doesn’t mean you can’t spend money on your wants at all, it’s just important to limit this spending. Use budgeting as a way to set aside money each week or month for fun spending.

As an alternative to eating at restaurants, take advantage of a meal plan or cook meals at home. Ordering food is convenient, but it adds up fast. If you are already paying for a meal plan, use it to its full extent. If you are off campus or do not have a meal plan, try to limit dining out to one or two times per week and cook meals from home instead. The same meal that costs $15 at a restaurant may only cost $5 to make at home.

If you are spending, be sure to take advantage of student discounts! Many restaurants and stores offer them. Even if a discount is not advertised, don’t be reluctant to ask if one is available. Be sure to carry your student ID card with you as proof that you are a student so you can get any available discounts.

Get A Job On Or Near Campus

The best way you can save money in college and manage your spending is by getting a job. Opportunities will be available both off and on campus, so consider available transportation when applying. An on-campus job is the perfect position to make money while not going far from your dorm, and on-campus job supervisors will often be more willing to accommodate your school schedule.

Regardless of whether or not you feel comfortable working during the school year, take advantage of the free time you have during school breaks. Pick up a job during summer or winter breaks to make money without having to worry about classes at the same time. Not only does having a job earn you money, but it can also build your work experience and skills for future opportunities. You may be able to list new skills or experiences on applications for internships or job opportunities after graduation.

Make A Plan For Buying Textbooks And School Supplies

Buying school supplies can be very exciting, but be careful not to go overboard and spend your money on items you won’t use. If you are unsure of what supplies to purchase, check your class syllabus, where professors list the supplies and textbooks you’ll need. If you can’t find this information on your syllabus, reach out to your professor with an email asking what supplies you need to have in class.

Textbooks can add up at universities when the cost is not included in tuition. Before buying them from your school’s bookstore, check the internet to find websites where people will resell their books. The books you need may be available for a cheaper price, provided you can locate the same edition that your instructor requires. Also, at your bookstore, see if there are previously used books available for sale at cheaper prices rather than going straight for the brand new copy. Keep in mind that used books might have highlighting and notes added by former students, which can be either helpful or distracting depending on your study style.

Keep Your Money In A Checking Account Free Of Fees

Keeping your money in an account where you don’t have to worry about monthly fees or minimum balance fees can be a great way to manage your funds. For example, a Smart Start checking account from Royal Credit Union has no minimum balance and no monthly fees, making it easy to experience financial freedom.

Smart Start accounts include two free NSF fee refunds each year and Way-to-Go Rewards for on-time payments on paired auto or home loans. You also get all the digital tools you would expect, including a mobile app with check deposit, real-time account alerts, and surcharge-free access to ATMs in cities and college campuses across the country. Best of all, Royal’s credit union values mean that our team of experts are here to offer honest advice and guidance when you need it, without selling you more services you may not need. Learn more about Smart Start checking and see the full account details and disclosures.

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