By Ryan Velez
The tale of the broke college student has become a regular staple of higher education, and with the school year coming to a close, a whole new group of students will be preparing for their first year at college. Whatever year you are in, a recent Black Enterprise article has some practical tips for college students to lower their expenses while living on campus, giving them a little more financial wiggle room for these special years.
The first tip applies not just to college, but life, but college is a great time to start—putting together a budget. There are many different ways to go, but the article specifically mentions the jar system. Set up categories for the various different areas of your life, including necessities, play, and more. Separate your money accordingly, and should you find yourself running out of one category, do not ever transfer, just stick it out until the next cycle.
Naturally, you’re going to want to find fun things to do between classes, but entertainment can lead to a huge cost. Make use of your college campus to use its free perks whenever possible. A lot of campus entertainment comes at a discount or is free with your ID. Not to mention, you can know your campus peers better and find lots of different opportunities. When you do go out, do your research and see if there are student discounts, and never be afraid to speak up and ask for it.
Depending on your arrangements, you may find yourself needing to stock up on various items. Note that buying bulk isn’t just for families, as you and your roommate(s) may want to shop as a team as well. Whether you use a parent’s membership or split the cost in getting your own, you can save a lot of money on essentials including laundry detergent, soap, napkins, tissue, and more.
While this may seem a bit odd, sometimes, asking strategically can do a lot to help you avoid a large cost for certain times. By this, it means to try to ask for certain things with a big price tag for a birthday or holiday rather than shouldering the bill. This isn’t always going to work, but it can’t hurt to try. Naturally, doing this as little as possible will help your chances.