10 Ways College Students Waste MoneyOctober 7, 2019
In college, you don’t have much disposable income, so you must find ways to reduce your outgoing expenses. While it’s easy to pretend that your financial decisions don’t count until after you finish college, being smart with your money in college will save you thousands. Here are ten common ways that college students waste money.
1. Eating out too often.
Spending $5, $10, or $15 for each meal starts to add up pretty quickly. While fast food and takeout present themselves as reasonably convenient options, they truly aren’t worth the money (or your health). We know it may seem like a hassle to cook your own meals, and sometimes your campus dining hall might not be the most appealing (if you have a meal plan), but choosing these options could save you hundreds each month.
2. Buying new textbooks.
New textbooks cost significantly more than used textbooks. If your campus bookstore doesn’t have a used copy, take the time to look for it online. You could also share a book with a friend or borrow one from someone who’s already taken the class. You could even download a digital copy. This will save you significant money over the semesters.
3. Not using campus resources.
Beyond the cost of tuition, colleges often have fees you must pay for specific services on campus. These include fees for health services, the campus center, technology, fitness center, etc. These services are meant to support the academic environment and provide value to you. Take advantage of these services that you’re already paying for. Use the health services when you are sick, use the campus fitness center instead of buying a gym membership, and get your computer fixed on campus if they provide services.
4. Skipping classes.
If you divide the cost of your tuition per semester by the number of classes you attend, you’ll likely be surprised at how much you are paying per class. Take advantage of the money you’re spending by attending class and getting the knowledge you went to school for.
5. Withdrawing from classes after the drop date.
If you’re going to drop a class, make sure you do it before the drop deadline. This is typically about two weeks after the start date of the course. Dropping a class after the drop deadline means that you’ll be forfeitting that portion of your tuition.
6. Failing classes.
One of the most costly mistakes that college students make is failing classes. Make sure you study up and don’t miss your lectures. If the course that you fail is required for your major, then you’ll have to pay for the class twice. If you foresee difficulty in a class, make sure you find a study group, tutor, or friend that can help you get through it with a passing grade.
You obviously want your home away from home to be cozy, but don’t go overboard here. There are plenty of cheap decor superstores around that can bring your dorm to life. Consider setting a tight budget for your dorm decor before you start decorating.
8. Using credit cards.
Since you typically don’t have a ton of bills in college, don’t use a credit card for anything other than emergencies. Some studies have shown that college students with credit cards rack up $3,000 to $5,000 in credit card debt by the time they graduate. Get in the habit of using a debit card or cash only. Here are some more tips for avoiding credit card debt.
9. Visiting expensive spring break destinations.
While a spring break in Panama City Beach is on many college students’ bucket lists, it’s really not necessary. Consider taking a trip to visit a friend’s hometown, going on a camping trip, or even going home to visit your family. Once you graduate and have a full-time job, you’ll have plenty more opportunities to visit tropical destinations.
10. Missing out on student deals.
Whenever you’re about to buy something, remember to break out your student ID! Many companies offer exclusive benefits to college students, generally in the form of discounts. Finding out where these deals are could save you a decent amount of money while in school (and possibly after school too). For online services (such as Apple Music and Spotify), you may be able to use your student email address to earn a discount.
While college days can be seen as a time to be care-free, the financial decisions you make now, as well as the habits you build, will affect your life after college. Be sure that you’re doing all you can to save money in college. Your bank accounts (and your parents) will thank you.
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