How To Cut Corners & Costs As A College Student

The cost of pursuing higher education is already expensive, and it appears that it will increase in the next several years. While this fact has become almost common knowledge, what many people fail to realize is college can be more affordable if one learns how to budget correctly.

Proper budgeting begets sacrifice!

One of the biggest college expenses besides booze (we’ll get to that later) is the automobile. Owning a car is a challenging decision for most college students because everyone wants a vehicle but most don’t really, really need one. Besides the initial thousand or so dollars that used cars typically cost, car drivers also have to pay for insurance, city/parking stickers, oil changes, repairs and a car’s lifeblood—gasoline. A car can be an economic black hole, pulling all your funds and resources into it. However, if you are lucky enough to have a car gifted to you it is hard not to accept it. If you are financially sound (meaning you have a job and possibly help from the parentals) then it may not be such an exorbitant investment. Let’s face it, cars are still pussy-magnets and allow you to get to point A to point B quicker than your feet could carry you.

Another expenditure most students could down-size on is clothes shopping. There seems to be a mass belief across college campuses that every day is a photo shoot or red carpet event. I know women who have clothes ordered to their apartments every day of the week and guys who have the new pair of trendy shoes as soon as they are released. Is it necessary to have all the “new, new shit” all the time? If there is an eviction notice posted on your front door because you bought those pair of boots you have been eyeing, then you have your priorities skewed. The objective of collegei
s to graduate and (hopefully) find a career where you can afford most of life’s pleasures, not to become the most Instagramed person at your school. If you are really struggling with your shopping addiction, try thrifting— it’s harder to find what you want but the prices are much more reasonable.

Perhaps the most expensive part of the college student experience (other than tuition) is the forms of entertainment we partake in. Weekends are great but they are often the most expensive days of the week. From bar tabs to that 2 a.m. burrito and condom runs, weekend entertainment adds up really quickly and progressively. It’s not the end of the world to skip a couple of Saturday night bar crawls and stay in. If you’re a college student, I’m sure you have something (anything) you could be working on. Also you should consider going out on weekdays because of the drink specials like dollar night. Just because the culture around you equates spending a lot of money with having a good time doesn’t mean you have to as well.

Although college will take money out of your pocket there are ways to get some of it back. Many students are unaware of scholarship opportunities and where to look for them. Start with your academic advisor and look everywhere. No seriously, look everywhere. There are a plethora of places (including the web) where people are handing out “free” money. It is wise to start applying for them as soon as your freshman year and the worst that will happen is you get declined but asked to reapply in the near future.

Don’t get discouraged by the price tag of your education, as it certainly will pay off in some form at some point in your life. Sacrifice now so you can be the well-dressed, party animal with a degree and career in the future.