It’s tough being a student, no really it is! The perception of living the high life, lounging around all day drinking beer and occasionally attending the odd lecture is alas outdated. Today a student has a lot of pressure on their shoulders, it comes from many sources – academic, socially and perhaps worst of all financially.
Unless you are lucky enough to come from a very rich family, chances are that both you and your parents are making significant sacrifices to put you through college. It has always been the case of course, but in the current economic climate it is imperative that your college experience pays dividends.
So as a student it is essential that you minimize those expenses. Of course there’s many that you have no control of but it is possible to live quite frugally and still have a good time. For those who are concerned about the environment then a lifestyle that is based less on consumption and more about how you can reduce, reuse and recycle will cost you and the planet a lot less.
Think about what you buy and what you consume. Paying for that coffee and sandwich every day may seem essential to get you through those lectures. However a flask of coffee and a prepared snack will be much cheaper and won’t involve plastic packaging. Small savings on things you buy regularly have a huge impact on your overall expenditure.
Try and focus on essential items, look for ‘green’ alternatives they will nearly always be cheaper. I used to spend a fortune on printer cartridges for my printer. One day a friend told me that you can buy a kit that allows you to refill toner cartridges – works a treat and saves about 80% of my printing costs.
Use the internet, there are many resources you can use online to save you money. Obviously you shouldn’t go downloading pirated films and games but there’s lots of legitimate entertainment available for free. For instance if you live outside the UK check out this web post here about how to watch BBC Iplayer abroad – http://dotslash.hubpages.com/hub/Watching-BBC-IPlayer-Abroad, it’s dead easy to do and loads of entertainment available every single night.
Buy in bulk – a girl I knew at college suddenly realised that she was buying an awful lot of potatoes to eat every week. She decided to ask a local farmer for a price for a few huge bags that would last her the entire term The savings were huge, she ate well all term for about 25% of the cost previously.
Of course college is also about having fun and socializing – so you can’t spend the entire time penny pinching. But saving money where you can will allow you more freedom in other areas and reduce your debt when you do graduate.