Students can cut spending

June 12, 2015 Commentary, Editorials Print Print
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It’s no secret that college is expensive, but many college students are overspending in ways they don’t even realize. Spending a little money here and there is as easy as the click of a button or the swipe of a piece of plastic.

Most people pursue a degree so they can make more money, but they often develop poor financial habits while working on that degree. Students need to be aware of where their money is going so they can see potential ways to cut costs. Or, as Fox Business simply narrowed it down: “Realize you’re not a Kardashian.”

DARLA KILHOFFER

DARLA KILHOFFER

Dave Ramsey, author of Financial Peace University, reports that Americans spend an average of $21 per week on coffee trips. You don’t have to be a mathematician to see that making coffee at home can save you about $84 per month.

Then there’s the big kahuna: entertainment. According to Study Breaks College Media, 66 percent of college students are spending $1,200 or more on entertainment per year ($100 per month) on restaurants, movie tickets, bars, marijuana and live music.

It doesn’t sound like an absurd amount of money until additional expenses are added, such as groceries, rent, utilities, textbooks, tuition and travel expenses. And still, people wonder where their check has gone by the end of the month.

Forbes.com lists 13 ways college students are wasting opportunities and money, one of those being not maximizing discount programs.

Many businesses offer student discounts when you bring a photo ID, such as movie theaters, amusement parks and even select technology companies like Apple and AT&T.

Since few people want to cut entertainment altogether, there are other ways to enjoy life on the cheap side. Catching a matinee showing of “Jurassic Park” will save a moviegoer up to $5.

There are a variety of resources — from apps to printable worksheets — that can help students gain better control of their finances. Financial apps such as Mint and Left to Spend enable users to track and limit their spending.

By writing down every purchase made, consumers might be surprised to find they’re spending an extra $25 every week on small purchases they don’t need.

Debt.org says developing a budget is easy — it’s sticking with that budget that most people struggle with. A budget should be realistic but flexible enough to adapt to changing circumstances.

Also, students can find many resources online and on campus to help them save some cash. Websites like scholarships.com and fastweb.com provide search engines for financial aid.

Many scholarships require little time to apply. Every dollar counts! Remember, 100 percent of scholarships you don’t apply for, you won’t receive.

Forbes.com also says while buying textbooks are a necessity, the $200 new price tag may not be. Don’t wait until the last minute to buy those books. Shop around to find the best deal or rent a used copy. You also can use social media to get connected with students who are selling their used books.

College is expensive. Everyone gets that. But don’t make it more expensive than it is. Now is the time to develop great financial habits and to use every resource available to you.

That way, when you start earning the big bucks, you’ll know just how to spend — and save — that cash.

 

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