Shop Smart & Cut Your Debt
If you are attending college with the help of a student loan, you need to be smart with your spending. Every dollar that you save right now is one less dollar that you have to borrow and pay interest on.
It might be tempting to take a casual attitude with your student loan funds. After all, it probably seems like a lot of money, more than enough to go around and repayment is so far in the distance.
Trust us, it will be here sooner than you think and every dollar you spend today will be collecting interest for the next 4 years. More if you go to graduate school. So, why not do your future self a problem and save as much as you can now.
Here are some simple ways to save money today so that you do not bankrupt your future self.
Besides tuition, this will be one of your biggest expenses when going to college.
The cost of textbooks has skyrocketed over the years with the average student now spending over $1200 a year on books. Because of this, it pays big to trim the fat off of your textbook spending.
There is no value in buying new books, so buy a used book whenever you can.
The trick to buying used is to get your books early. Used books go fast and there are not enough to go around. If you wait too long, you could be out of luck. So, nail down your class schedule and buy your books just as soon as the bookstore opens for business.
Rent Your Books Online
An even better option than buying used is to simply rent your textbooks. Companies like eCampus will rent you the books for a fraction of the cost of buying them new or used. Even better, they make your life easy with their simple ordering process. Just order them online and have them delivered to your home in a day or two. No waiting in long lines and scouring the shelves. When the semester is over, you just ship them back. They usually give you a few weeks to do so, which makes it easy.
Furniture & Houseware
If you are renting, you likely have a lot of furniture to buy and even if you are staying in a dorm, you probably need a few things. Home furnishings can get pretty expensive in a hurry, so here are some ways to save.
If you want to pay pennies on the dollar, you need to be looking at garage sales. Don’t worry, they will not be hard to find. Just take a drive around your city on a typical Saturday morning and you should spot a dozen, no problem.
The best thing to shop for at a garage sale is furniture. As long as you are not too particular about the style of furniture you get, you should be able to score an entire living room set for around 100 dollars. Just have cash ready.
If you have something particular in mind, you can still buy used but you will need to turn to an online classified like Facebook Marketplace. The prices may not be as good as a garage sale, but you can still find some pretty good deals that will surely beat the price of new furniture.
The trick to shopping online classified is to be ready to go. Have cash in hand and a way to pick it up before you even bother negotiating price. Oh and about that price, everyone expects some bartering, so don’t be afraid to ask for a better deal
If you need housewares, a thrift store will be your best friend. Shop for dishes, cooking utensils and all of the little thing and save big. You will also likely be doing a good thing since many thrift stores, such as the Salvation Army, are actually charities.
Basic School Supplies
Now, for the basic school supplies like notebook paper, folders, etc. You will need a lot of this stuff, as will every other American student in every age group. All of these basic supplies go on sale big at the beginning of the year, so saving will not be an issue. That is not to say that you can not maximize these savings.
The trick here is buying enough supplies to last the year. Try to estimate what you need for the entire calendar year because once these “back to school” sales are over, prices will triple.
Heading off to school is a big thing and you probably want to focus more on the here and now. The problem is that what you do right now will have a drastic impact on your future finances. Borrow $2000 now and you will be repaying $2400 after you graduate.
Do yourself a favor and spend as little as you can over the next four years and you will be rewarded with a much more manageable student loan in the future.