All over the world high school students are preparing to graduate and embark on their post secondary adventures. I know all too well how expensive post secondary can be after completing two degrees and accumulating over $90,000 in debt. In my six years of university I have made many financial mistakes but learned something from all of them.
Don’t buy new textbooks. If you are absolutely required to even buy a book at all, buy used textbooks. In my first year I went to the book store and dropped hundreds of dollars on my brand spankin’ new books for my accountancy and finance degree course . What a total waste of money. I could have managed just fine with used or nowadays, digital copies. Always check online at stores like Amazon or Better World Books before succumbing to the campus bookstore. Even better, borrow the book from the library. By year three or so I figured this out and did quite well without books. I went to the library almost everyday, took good notes, photocopied pages I may have needed and went home. This forced me to study and saved money.
Obviously living at home would be an ideal situation but if it’s not an option, find roommates and share costs. While you may think you’ll need a nice big apartment for yourself you’ll end up spending 90% of your time out socializing, in your room
pulling all nighters sleeping or somewhere like the library. As long as you have a room of your own to retire to at the end of the day for some Z’s and a little privacy, shared accommodation should work just fine. If you’ve been accepted into a specific program try to reach out to fellow students via Facebook, Craigslist or other social media outlets and see if anyone else is seeking roommates. Living with someone else within your program means live-in study-buddy!
If you’re responsible for funding your own way through post secondary, getting an early start with a part-time job is a must. If getting loans is inevitable, borrow only what you need! Depending on the program you get accepted to you may have an opportunity to borrow hundreds of thousands of dollars. Even with these funds being offered to you, if you don’t need them don’t borrow.
If you’re able to, make the most of your long summers off and work to save as much as possible. There are many summer job options to college students from working at resorts to manual labour jobs. It isn’t impossible to find a summer-only position. Capitalize on your summers to get a job somewhere you would like to travel to. Children’s summer camps are around the world and always looking for university students to work for them. See the world while getting paid, why not? Plus, it helps you avoid college budget woes!
Though the primary focus of post secondary should always be academics, if you’re able to maintain a part-time job while in school, even better. Anything you can do to offset your monthly costs will help.
If you aren’t already, the most important thing you can do regarding your finances in post secondary is budget. This is especially important if you’re borrowing to pay for school, but even if your expenses are being taken care of by someone else, the monies still need to be accounted for and budgeted appropriately. Learning how to budget now will make the rest of your life much easier, trust me!
Graduating high school and embarking on a post secondary education is an exciting time. It is expensive but there are ways to help off set the costs. Enjoy your new adventures but watch your expenses!
What money saving tips do you have for college students?