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The Broke College Student's Guide To Saving Money

Being in college is one of the most exciting experiences of a person's life, with plenty of opportunities to expand your horizons, make new friends and work towards your career goals. It can also be a fairly costly endeavor. Expenses can add up in college, from tuition to textbooks and more. Don't get too stressed out by it, though. Instead, think of it as a prime opportunity to learn budgeting skills firsthand. Here are the top five ways to save money in college.

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1. Get student discounts

Being a college student has its share of plusses. One of the biggest is being able to receive discounts from a variety of retailers. When starting a new semester, it's always advisable to look for discounts or major expenses, such as textbooks or furniture for your dorm room. During the school year, you can use your student I.D. card to take advantage of discounts offered on things like movie tickets. Not making use of the student discounts that are available to you is like having massive coupons that you just ignore for no particular reason.

2. Start a budget

You might think that a budget is some sort of complicated process that's best suited for older professionals with a household and a family. That's not true. Anyone who has money should have a budget. As a college student, you're learning all about how to become an adult. There are even college student-specific budgeting worksheets you can use to make this process all the easier. When budgeting, it's vitally important to be realistic. Don't overestimate or underestimate your income. Nor should you try to downplay how much you can realistically spend. A budget needs to have a means you can work within. Otherwise, it won't do you any good at all.

3. Look for savings on car insurance

Not every college student has or needs a car, but if you commute to class or have a part-time job (another great way to get money!) that you need to drive to, then a properly functioning car and affordable insurance is an absolute necessity. You should be able to find a decent vehicle for a few thousand dollars. However, insurance can put a hole in your wallet if you don't get a good quote. Since college students are typically in their teens and early twenties, insurance providers are likely to give them higher quotes than they would for older drivers. However, if you're able to provide evidence that you are a safe driver, such as having no record of tickets or accidents, you're more likely to get a lower rate. Look into free insurance quotes and find a provider that will give you the best possible option.

4. Put money aside

When you receive money, you shouldn't think of it as something to be spent. Instead, you should think of it as something to be invested. You will have to spend money on things like expenses and recreation, which is understandable and expected. However, if you get caught in the trap of spending money just to spend money, you're going to find yourself scrounging. On a weekly basis, you should first take care of any necessities, such as bills and groceries. Then, put aside no more than about $20-30 (depending on your income) for any recreation. Finally, put your extra money aside. You can start a savings account, which will pay off handsomely when interest begins to accumulate.

5. Don't be afraid to say no

College is full of fun, but fun can get expensive. If you have friends who are always going out and badgering you to come along, you might be dealing with a huge money sinkhole. When you start saving money, you will have to make sacrifices. Be honest and upfront with your friends and tell them you can go out and spend money as often as they'd like. You can also suggest they look into free or less expensive activities instead.

Saving money doesn't have to be a pain. Instead, it can be a great way to exercise your discipline, in a way that will pay off in the future. College is all about learning. SO, why not learn about how to save money?

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