As a college student it always baffles me how expensive everything is. Right now I'm trying to see if I can move into a nicer place than I am in now, and in that process the costs keeps stacking up. One of the things my parents ingrained into me is how to save money, and how to spend it wisely. I come from a middle class home which is good but also difficult; college has always been in my plans but paying for it without going into great debt to do so, is tricky. In no way am I an expert on the subject, and am I worried about paying for next year--yes!!, but there are a few tips I do know that have helped me and will hopefully help you.
#1-The most obvious, and told a thousand time, yet hardest to follow is- If you don't need it and don't have the cash to get it, don't get it. Now, if you have the money to go on a shoping spree don't let me stop you, but if you're like me everytime I pick something up that I'm iffy on I think, "hmm it's $12 and that's like two hours of work- I don't like it that much."
Another side note- If you don't spend any money and put it all towards college- you will be miserable so don't put the shirt, or dvd, or whatever down every time- but if you don't love it + you don't have the money for it= don't buy it.
#2- For books- check online or see if you have a friend in the class that can split the cost with you, or even see if you need the book at all before you buy it. My first semester of college my chemistry book (why I thought taking chemistry in my first semester, when I didn't even know how to get to my classroom, was a good idea I don't know) was $120. The bookstore said they would buy it back for half price, so I though $60 isn't bad. However, at the end of the semester when I went to sell it back they said $20 was the best they could give me. Ya I didn't sell it back but went to and online site and sold it for half price, so check those sites too.
#3- BOGO for food is your best friend. I don't have a meal plan so paying for food can get expensive. One way that has helped is to look for buy one get one at the grocery store. If you know you like cereal, go with bogo and save money.
#4- Doing things with friends doesn't have to equal a ton of money. Try a movie night, invite all your friends, make popcorn, get snacks, and have fun. This way you can talk durring the money and not get "shhh," usually.
#5- Have something to look forward to. Remember when you were little and would talk about christmas for months, use that anticipation to your advantage. Have something to look forward to when you're frustrated about your lack of money. Buy tickets to a concert you want to see, or plan a trip for the summer. It will help when you're studying and just want to give up because you're not understanding it, or when everyone is going out and you have to work.
#6- Work out- Find someway to have physical activity during your week. Join a dance club, go to the gym, do a marathon. The endorphins you get will help with stress!! I don't like working out at all!! but when I get frustrated it helps to put my ipod in and run.
#7- LAUGH- don't freak out about the unimportant things in life
#8- Try thrift or second hand stores- There really are some good things in those places, and it's unique one of a kind stuff. You also get the opportunity to make it your own- paint it, decorate it, cut it. You can get both furniture, household items, and clothes. Also ebay or another online site is an awesome way to get good items and not pay way too much for them. I actually just got a dresser on one of those sites and it cost me $30!
#9- Try, try again- It is hard to get scholarships but if you get them it will help a ton! (I'm saying this for myself too because I only have one scholarship and need more as well!)
#10- Don't let finances keep you from going to college. If you have to get student loans it's ok just do the best you can to avoid it.
#11- " Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light." Matthew 11: 28-30. It's my favorite verse from the Bible and it's nice to read and remember Jesus is with me even when I get stressed and freak out because I have a lack of money.
I know I've missed tips and you know others I don't so share :)