Going off to college is an exciting time! It’s an opportunity to broaden your world and mind, meet new people, and begin the groundwork for your next steps in life. Often college is the first time many of us leave our homes and venture out on our own. This means budgeting your money will become very important! It can be overwhelming but an easy first step is determining what you don’t need to buy or considering lower cost alternatives:
- A printer. Personal printers often take up a lot of space and the cost of ink and paper can really 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.
- Computer software. Most schools have special arrangements with Microsoft and other well-known software companies to provide necessary computer tools to their students for free. Be sure to ask!
- A television. Consider using your laptop as an alternative to streaming your favorite shows!
- Ironing board and iron. Like printers and televisions, an ironing board and iron can take up precious space. To make sure your clothes are always looking interview-ready, consider purchasing a portable steamer instead.
- A car. Check into campus resources like shuttle routes, bikes for rent or purchase, or if feasible, even walking paths to your classes. Don’t get stuck with monthly loan payments, parking fees, gas, and insurance if it means you can save a little!
Another way to save is to keep track of small expenses, like eating out or buying coffee. Those expenses add up over time. For instance, just buying a Starbucks latte (around $4.00) every day means you’ll spend $300 on coffee in one semester! Make a budget and do your best to stick to it. It’ll make saving money much easier and make living on your own a little less stressful.