If you’re a college student you already know how tight finances can get. After tuition, books, fees and other expenses related to your education materials are met, you likely find yourself limited on money. This is, if you are not already living off negative balances in your account.
The good news is there are various ways or tips you can try and counter your money struggles to put yourself in a goof financial position. To decrease your financial burdens it takes some positive planning and some work, but with this effort you can successfully ease the burden of your money struggles, keep a positive balance in your account and not end up carrying too much debt.
Here are some important tips and ways for Financially Struggling Students-
Apply for financial aid and work study programs:
This is a smart move even if you think you won’t qualify due to your parents’ income, or if you’re working, your own salary. Several students pass up the opportunity to file for financial aid for several reasons and this is one of the biggest oversights students make. Even if you do not qualify for full tuition, you might be granted some money which may at least cover partial tuition or even some books, but you will never know unless you apply!
If you are denied financial aid, by at least filing you are also generally eligible for low interest loans which will save you in the long run. Several students are also offered work study chances which also relieve financial distress as you are given a job without having to pound the pavement looking for one.
Apply for Scholarships:
Several foundations and corporations generously give away thousands each and every year, but lots of students aren’t aware these wonderful opportunities exist. If you take the time to ask your college’s financial office about scholarships and do some extra research on the websites, it is probable you will find numerous scholarships you can apply to. It is a lot of work, but worth the effort.
There are various excellent sites dedicated to scholarship searches. Most will ask you to register first, but stay away from sites which ask you for any sort of payment as most reputable scholarship search engines will never ask for money.
Buy used text books:
The required and important textbooks for classes can result in severe sticker shock if you buy books at the university bookstore, but you can simply cut these costs in half if you buy used books. Several students are extremely happy to sell their used textbooks to you at a fraction of what you’d pay for new. Another good avenue is to search online; the Internet is a superb opportunity to comparison shop and finds good prices for used books.
Sell your text books:
Once you are finished up for the semester, place your textbooks up for sale while they still have some value before new textbook editions come out. Place flyers at your college, network with other students and organize a swap, or put them up for sale on website which facilitates used book sales.
Eat on the cheap:
Food is a huge area many students spend money on and if you are not playing it smart, you are probably throwing money away. Take-out, vending machines and pre-made foods are more costly than if you were to just make it yourself. If you live in the dorm, stick to a purchased meal plan or/and create a small pantry area to keep food; preparing your own snacks and foods is cheaper and more nutritious too.
Students who live at house or are a returning non-traditional student with parents, it is easier to prepare your own foods from home. One trick is to reserve few hours a week to cook several meals and stock up in the freezer; this makes homemade meals a snap on those days where you are tempted to order-in or go out to eat. By avoiding purchasing take-out, this will save lots of money. It is healthier for you too.
Don’t shop on credit and pay cash wherever possible:
It is common for students to get stuck in the abyss of credit cards when so many are offer tempting low introductory rates or free gifts. Do not fall for these ads! Several students find themselves severely in debt once they start opening many accounts because it is much harder to keep track of spending when you use plastic. Instead, keep one card for emergency use only and make every effort to pay it off monthly when the bill arrives.
Live within your means:
Maintain a running balance of what you are spending money on and how much, even for the small things you usually wouldn’t account for like a bag of chips, a bottle of your favorite beverage and some gum. You’d be stunned how much you spend and if you keep rightful track of your money, you will quickly discover where your limitations are. This is where you can cut out wasteful spending. Once you see where your money is really going, you can create a budget which will assist you keep better track of unnecessary spending and then you can put that money back in your account.
Keep an eye on your monthly expenses:
Do you actually need those extras on your mobile plan? If you have your own account, do you need all those cable channels which cost additional per month? Gas can be a huge expense, are you taking your car when you can walk? Can you take campus transportation instead? By examining where your money goes each month for regular essential expenses, you can simply pinpoint ways you can cut back and save money.
Research student discounts:
Many programs or/and companies provide student discounts on books, computers, travel accommodations, electronics and even movie tickets for the occasional night out. Look for shops that offer student discounts. Most of the time all you will need is to have your student ID on you for verification.
Money struggles are tough when you are in college, but by taking a proactive approach to money and plan your expenses, it will be a lot easier to manage your money and keep away from coming out of college in massive debt for unnecessary expenses. Some of these above tips for financially weak students should increase your cash flow, at least a bit.