What with juggling classes, studying, jobs, and a social life, college students have a lot to deal with when it comes to managing finances. It can be hard to buy everything you need for classes, pay tuition, pay rent, and have money left over for miscellaneous costs without going broke. If you’re a college student moving into an apartment soon, you probably have your bank account on your mind. To keep from having to give up your whole paycheck every month, check out these 6 tips to keep your credit cards under control and still get everything you need for the year.
1. Make an Apartment Budget
It’s hard to save money if you don’t know how much you’re spending in the first place. Set up a monthly budget for apartment living so you’ll be able to allot your expenses more efficiently. Keep track of your spending with paper and pen, Excel spreadsheet, smartphone app, or via your online bank account—whatever works for you.
2. Use Apartment Ratings to Find a Good Apartment from the Start
Finding the right apartment can make a huge difference when it comes to saving money in college. When you start your apartment hunt, shop around using online apartment ratings to find an apartment in a good location for a good price. With apartment ratings you can determine cost versus value and find out the opinions of other student renters. Renting an apartment at the right rate can be the difference between draining your bank account every month and being able to save up throughout the year.
3. Ask for Perks When You Renew Your Lease
If you’re a renewing renter, ask your landlord about renewal deals. Even if you can’t get a discount on your rent, he or she may be able to offer to do things like waive your parking fee, give your apartment a fresh coat of paint, or pay to have your floors cleaned professionally. It never hurts to ask!
With a little creativity, you can rent a college apartment and still have an apartment with great décor. For tips for decorating on a budget, check out our guide to decorating a student apartment for less.
5. Save Money on Weekend Fun
Going out for dinner or drinks once in a while isn’t a problem, but going out every weekend could put a real dent in your savings. Instead, host a movie marathon at your apartment, find free activities to do around town, cook dinner for your friends on a Friday night, or put on your own cocktail party. It will be cheaper than going out, and you’ll still have fun.
6. Rent, Borrow, or Download Textbooks
Books are a major recurring cost for college students. To save money on textbooks you can rent your books for the year, trade or borrow books with a friend, purchase an e-textbook for cheaper (just clear it with your professor first), or buy your books secondhand from the campus bookstore or local discount bookstore. And while you’re on the hunt for this year’s books, put the word out to friends and classmates that you have books from last year’s classes that you’re willing to lease.