College Crunch: How to Save Money Your First Year Alone

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When you've just left home, the freedom of life on your own can be a dangerous thing if you aren't prepared for the challenges of making ends meet. So many college freshmen leave home, get a credit card, and return ten months later shackled in debt. For students hoping to succeed in college, the chains of financial misery can weigh them down until it's almost impossible to cope with study and their money problems. It’s one reason so many people quit school early to get more hours at work. The good news is, it's entirely possible not only to make ends meet, but to save for the future wisely. Here are some tips to help you do just that and stay out of dangerous debt.

A Penny Saved is a Penny Earned

Save Money in College
Remember to treat each penny with respect. Don't love money, but don't disregard it either. The next time you walk by a penny, pick it up. Save loose change. Not only will you be surprised how quickly it can add up, it will train you not to throw money away. Remember to save as well. You’ll have to use most paychecks for tuition and groceries, but you can always save the rest so you have a little cushion for other needs.

Be Willing to Stay Home Sometimes

So what if you can't go to the mall with the gang every time? If going out and splurging often results in eventually having to drop out of college altogether, you'll wish you'd been studying Algebra instead of always tagging along. You want to enjoy your time in college but make sure you do it cheaply by only buying what you need and spending sparingly on movies or frivolities.

Create Friendships with Wise Upperclassmen

Get to know your resident assistant, or any sharp upperclassmen who seem to be on the right track. Chances are they've had their own financial struggles. Even if they haven't, it never hurts to get some good advice from older people who can look at your situation objectively. As long as they are older and wiser, they should be good sounding boards for helping you make it financially. Ask your professors, friends and family for help as well. As your in college, they might be willing to give out a small loan as long as you can pay it back later.

Don't Focus on Your Limitations

If you don't have a car or a job, don't resign yourself to your dorm room in unemployed self-pity. There are plenty of opportunities to make money on-campus, and if you don't mind walking, you can even find jobs not too far off-campus. Riding the bus to work may even give you time to study. If you're ruthless with yourself, you can have quite a bit saved in a short amount of time: just make sure to focus on getting out of any debt you may have incurred. After that, remember to avoid the habits that got you in trouble in the first place.

Expect to Grow

Don't spend most of your budget on purchases that don't really benefit you. Do you really need to buy tokens to make it to the next level on your new app? For that matter, do you even need to buy that new app? This modern age is full of bells and whistles that can bare your bank account in a hurry. Be slow to shop, and even slower to buy. Always remember, if you don't see it, you won't want it. Always keep track of what’s in your account and try to keep it under a minimum.

Figure the Best Deal Before Signing Papers

Be sure to get several quotes before signing up for car insurance in Corner Brook. Check rates before signing with GEICO or that new credit card service. Doing this will also give you confidence dealing in other business transactions. Do your research on these items you might need to buy, but don’t need to be done right away. Steers Insurance Limited says it pays to take your time and search out the best deal.

Give and it Shall be Given

Once you're out of debt, one of the best ways to ensure you stay debt-free and don't become a miser, is to become a giver. They say every man is a friend to him that gives, and it's true. Giving anonymously is a great way to make a difference in people's lives without making them feel embarrassed, and it prevents them from coming to you for handouts down the road. Giving will also make you appreciate gifts you've been given, and will ultimately encourage you to be a better steward of everything you've been given.

Saving is one of the most important lessons you'll ever learn. Capitalize on your mistakes. In a couple years as an older and wiser senior, don't forget to pass on these lessons to struggling freshmen. After all, everybody needs somebody sometime. Becoming your own financially independent person takes hard work, but you’ll be able to do it when you start in the right direction.

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