Going off to college is an exciting time!
Your world is about to open wide, providing you with new opportunities to expand your mind, meet new people, and begin the groundwork for your career (or figure it out). One very important skill you’ll need is learning how to save while living on your own. The easy first step is finding out what you don’t need to buy.
- A printer. They take up too much space, and the cost of ink and paper can add up. Check with your college to see if they have a printer allowance (usually included in the school’s technology fee), giving you access to the school’s printers. In addition, many professors prefer that you turn in your papers electronically through the school’s educational portal (e.g., Blackboard or Moodle.)
- Computer software. Most schools have special arrangements with Microsoft to provide the Office Student to their students for free.
- Digital. Your laptop and phone will be able to stream most of your favorite shows, so skip buying the TV if you do not have to. You can also see about sharing streaming subscriptions with your roommates or friends instead of everyone having separate logins, and best of all, it’s cheaper than cable.
- Grocery Lists. By making a list, you can cut down on random purchases or plan dinners with similar items so you can make the most of what you buy and leave nothing to go to waste. You can buy some items in bulk to save, but make sure they are nonperishable. We recommend toilet paper! If you have a meal plan, use this to the maximum; try your best not to miss a meal. NEVER GO SHOPPING HUNGRY; trust us, it’s a trap.
- Always buy used. Thrifting or buying textbooks used is a great way to save money. While this can take a lot of shopping around, you can always search for the textbooks you need online and compare prices.
- A car. You are going to spend most of your time on campus, so there is little reason to pay for monthly loan payments, parking fees, gas, and insurance. In addition, most colleges do not allow new students to have a car on campus. You can always use public transportation or a bike to get to places too far to walk.
Another way to save is to keep track of small expenses, like eating out. Those expenses add up over time. For instance, just buying a coffee (around $4.00) every day means you will spend $300 on coffee in one semester. We are not saying not to treat yourself. If your form of self-care is your daily coffee, do what makes you happy! However, what we are saying is look at your costs and determine what a necessary purchase is for you and what can be reduced from your spending.
You can start organizing and prioritizing your spending by making a budget. A great way to start is by logging into the R1CU online and mobile banking. You will be able to make a budget and track your spending to find out exactly where your money is going. It will make saving money much easier and make living on your own a little less stressful. Use the link below to watch our video on making a budget in online and mobile banking.