Many college graduates get "buyer's remorse" when they find themselves with a large amount of post-graduation debt. However, you can avoid such a predicament by responsibly managing your money and expenses during your college years. Here are some tips that can help you "live on the cheap" and save enough money for your expenses.

SEE: How Being A Student Saves You Money

Buy or Rent Textbooks Online
Your textbooks can cost hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars per semester. To reduce that cost, you can skip your campus bookstore and instead purchase the books online. In some cases, you may even be able to rent your book for the semester. Renting books is often a better deal than buying, as you may be unable to sell your books when the course calls for a later edition. There are websites that allow you to rent and purchase books for a fraction of the cost.

Use Your School's Meal Plan
This is a tip that might be hard to swallow, but it is definitely a major way to save money in the long run. If you're a freshman, then your college might have a meal plan. You should take full advantage of the plan, as it's usually much cheaper than buying food on your own. That doesn't mean you should be afraid to treat yourself on occasion. Just try to avoid dining at expensive restaurants or overspending when you eat out; ask yourself if you really need those few extra drinks when you go for wings, or that slice of cheesecake to fill you up after dinner.

Pool with Friends to Shop
Buying items in bulk, even from wholesale club stores like Costco, only makes sense if it saves you money in the long run. Also, it's usually best if you only purchase items in bulk that are non-perishable. If you're not able to afford this on your own, you and your friends can always pool together funds and share the food. However, to really save money, you need to make sure that the items you buy aren't wasted, or used by students who did not contribute to the purchase. This will also keep the contributors happy and make them more willing to pool their money again to pay for food.

Get a Job
Working while in college is something most students would want to avoid, as it can be stressful. However, if funds are low, then it may be necessary to find work. You can work part-time, and limit working to days when you have a light course load or only a few hours of classes. Most companies in college towns understand that many of their current or potential employees are attending school, and offer flexible work schedules to accommodate students. For a healthier work-and-school balance, look for a job with your college.

The Bottom Line
Proper management of your finances, including living within your means, can help to lessen the amount of debt you'll need to repay after you graduate. If you practice making sound financial decisions and money management strategies while in college, then you could develop responsible spending habits by the time you graduate.

Related Articles
  1. Insurance

    5 Ways to Lower Life Insurance Premiums

    Learn several effective methods for lowering life insurance premiums. These include quitting smoking and considering term life insurance.
  2. Budgeting

    The 7 Best Ways to Get Out of Debt

    Obtain information on how to put together and execute a plan to get out of debt, including the various steps and methods people use to become debt-free.
  3. Budgeting

    10 Ways to Save Money at the Farmers' Market

    Strategic shopping can help your budget as well as your health.
  4. Personal Finance

    How To Get That Entry-Level Financial Analyst Job

    Landing a job as a financial analyst takes study, strategy and a lot of hard work. Here's how to hone your competitive edge.
  5. Personal Finance

    Does It Make Sense to Go to College in Europe?

    If you're deciding whether to get a degree abroad, first do your research and talk to alumni who have completed the same program.
  6. Savings

    6 Ways to Save Money on Back-to-School Stuff

    Those school-supply lists just keep getting longer each year. Here's how to shop smart.
  7. Home & Auto

    4 Areas to Consider Roofing Material Types

    Roofing your home is very important, that’s why you should choose a roof specifically designed to handle your area’s climate.
  8. Savings

    6 Ways to Save Money on College Supplies

    Tuition and room and board are big expenses, yes, but the cost of textbooks and supplies can add up, too, unless you strategize.
  9. Savings

    A Look at the Cost and Tax Treatment of College

    Is there more we can do to improve the affordability of post-secondary education? We take a look at how students and colleges are taxed today.
  10. Insurance

    How to Shop for Home Insurance

    Tips for getting the best protection for your place and possessions.
RELATED TERMS
  1. Cost Accounting

    A type of accounting process that aims to capture a company's ...
  2. Internal Rate Of Return - IRR

    A metric used in capital budgeting measuring the profitability ...
  3. Good Student Discount

    An auto insurance policy discount available to young drivers ...
  4. Whartonite

    A graduate of the Wharton School of Business at the University ...
  5. Linked Transfer Account

    Accounts held by an individual at a financial institution that ...
  6. Equitable Division

    A legal theory that guides how property acquired during the course ...
RELATED FAQS
  1. Can mutual funds outperform savings accounts?

    A mutual fund can – and should – outperform a savings account. In most cases, it should not even be a close race. Savings ... Read Full Answer >>
  2. Can I use my IRA savings to start my own savings?

    While there is no legal reason why you cannot withdraw funds from your IRA to start a traditional savings account, it is ... Read Full Answer >>
  3. Can I use my IRA to pay for my college loans?

    If you are older than 59.5 and have been contributing to your IRA for more than five years, you may withdraw funds to pay ... Read Full Answer >>
  4. How soon should I start saving for retirement?

    The best answer to the question, "How soon should I start saving for retirement?", is probably, "yesterday," and the second ... Read Full Answer >>
  5. Can I use my 401(k) to pay for my college loans?

    If you are over 59.5, or separate from your plan-sponsoring employer after age 55, you are free to use your 401(k) to pay ... Read Full Answer >>
  6. Can I use my 401(k) as a collateral for a loan?

    Although federal Internal Revenue Service, or IRS, regulations prohibit using a 401(k) account as collateral for a loan, ... Read Full Answer >>

You May Also Like

Trading Center
×

You are using adblocking software

Want access to all of Investopedia? Add us to your “whitelist”
so you'll never miss a feature!