As September approaches and students begin to prepare for the fall semester, we feel this is an excellent opportunity to share ways that they can be smarter with their everyday expenses.  With limited resources, college students can benefit immensely by learning to stretch their dollars. Aside from the classes they take, the independence of college gives them a place to hone their personal money management – a helpful experience that is arguably as important as the very classes they are enrolled in. Listed below are a few ways that students can be smart with all their hard earned summer wages, their loans, or your occasional allowance:

  1. Avoid buying brand new textbooks.  Useful sites to find secondhand textbooks include:
  2. Visit a local bank. Ask about checking and saving accounts offered for college students.  Some will offer a very low minimum balance requirement and having your account locally will save on ATM fees.
  3. Cut out cable. If they’re staying off campus this could be a huge savings.  Sharing accounts on streaming sites like Hulu and Netflix is a great way to stay up to date on movies and television series without the egregious monthly cost of cable.
  4. Buy a coffee maker.  This may seem silly, but can be a smart financial decision.  It’s amazing how fast those little expenses add up.
  5. Pay all bills on time.  Have them get in the habit of paying their bills on time, every time, to avoid unnecessary late fees.
  6. Use your student discount. Before they purchase an item they need, research if they offer a student discount.  Personally, I found this extremely helpful when purchasing my 1st laptop as well as my car insurance (extra motivation for a high GPA!)
  7. Leave the car at home. Paying for parking, gas, and unexpected repairs can break the bank.
  8. Most important – Create a Budget.  Use your money for rent, bills and groceries first.  Then look ahead to upcoming expenses.  This will give them a reality check on how much they actually have for discretionary items.