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5 Simple And Smart Financial Tips For Students To Make It Through College

Photo by Dmitry Ratushny on Unsplash

College can be an amazing time, but only if you have got the money to experience it properly. You are not going to have much fun if you are working 40 hours a week, studying and only just breaking even. A well-managed and up to date budget can change your entire college experience.

We reached out to industry experts who have given us 5 simple and easy tips to improve your financial wellbeing while at college.

#1 Build your credit rating

Students should begin building their credit either through student credit cards or secured credit cards. These will have a low credit limit and don't offer many rewards but are a starting point to build your credit. Make a few small purchases each month on the card and pay it in full every month. The most important thing millennials need to understand with credit cards is to make their payments on time.

Most people start with a student credit card. The other option is a secured credit card. This type of card allows you to build your credit, but you must make a deposit for your credit limit. This is another way to prove that you will make your payments on time, and from here, you can upgrade to a standard unsecured card.

When taking out student loans, you should not only think about tuition fees, room and board, but also the cost of living. If you are planning to take out student loans, you should look into the rates that you would receive and consider what your salary will be after you graduate. Piecing these two numbers together, you should think about how long it will take to repay your loans and make sure you feel comfortable with this.

People should use this repayment calculator to determine their monthly payment amount and total interest paid.

Contributor: Brandon Yahn

Company: studentloansguy.com

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#2 Create and stick to a budget

Obviously, budgets are designed to help you save money, but it can really help you avoid more debt than necessary if you are a student. The way that many students fail to save money is that they simply don't have a budget or they don't follow it as closely as they should.

Start by calculating how much you have, look at your monthly necessity expenses, and then you can figure out how much you can save each month. 

When you create a budget, make sure you put a bit of money aside each month that you can use to spend on whatever you like. This will help you not only stick to your budget, but also have some fun while in school.

Contributor: Alayna Pehrson

Company: bestcompany.com

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#3 Learn how to make your own food

If you live in an apartment, you should learn how to make your own food in order to save money. It may be tempting to go out to eat on a regular basis, but that eventually adds up and can give you real money troubles down the road. 

Not only can cooking at home be good for your wallet, but it can also be good for your health! There are plenty of easy, healthy, budget-friendly meals (like crock pot meals) that you can make. If you live in a dorm, you could look into making non-cook meals like salads, sandwiches, and wraps or you could look up how to make healthy microwaveable meals. 

Overall, if you learn how to cook your own food, you can skip purchasing expensive, processed meals and snacks.

Contributor: Alayna Pehrson

Company: bestcompany.com

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#4 Rent or buy used textbooks

Textbooks, depending on your major, can be pretty expensive (they can range anywhere from $50-$300 per semester). If you absolutely need to purchase a textbook for a class, then a good tip to save money would be to rent the book or purchase it used. New textbooks may look nicer, but they will cost you and you will probably only use them for one semester. For rentals and used books, I recommend checking Amazon.com, your bookstore, and local bookstores. 

You can even check to see if your school or local library will let you borrow the book for a certain amount of time. Overall, don't waste that precious extra cash on brand new textbooks. 

Contributor: Alayna Pehrson

Company: bestcompany.com

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#5 Take advantage of free/cheap campus activities and amenities

The majority of colleges usually offer a variety of free/cheap activities for students. This includes dances, outdoor movies, sports, etc. Instead of paying money to join an expensive, off-campus gym, try looking into your school's gym amenities first (as they will probably be less expensive and more convenient). 

Contributor: Alayna Pehrson

Company: bestcompany.com

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