This post was written by Jessi Stickel of Uloop.
Many college students resort to student loans when paying the expenses of college. However, it is smart to start paying them off as soon as possible, even while you are still attending college.
Students can save money to help pay off their student loans while they are in college by changing minimal things in their everyday lives.
Here are 10 small, daily changes to make to help you save money to pay off your student loans.
Tips to Save Money on Your Student Loans
1. Avoid Eating Out.
Probably the biggest expense of a college student’s daily life is his or her meals from fast food joints or restaurants. It may be quicker and easier and better tasting to eat out every day, but those $5 to $10 meals can really add up. Buying groceries to make your own meals is much cheaper and healthier as well. This can save you a lot of money each week, which you can put towards your student loans.
2. Make Your Own Coffee.
For a quick pick-me-up, many college students purchase coffee from places like Starbucks on campus. However, this is an expensive habit if you buy a coffee each day. A single coffee can cost anywhere from $2 to $7 when you buy it out, so a great way to avoid this expense is to make your own at home. If you buy or borrow a simple coffee pot, it can cost you less than $1 per pot. This can also save you a fair amount of money each week.
3. Make Your Own Snacks.
It is typical to go to a convenience store to buy snacks in between classes; however, individual snacks can cost you a lot more than buying it in a bigger size. You can buy a small bag of chips for $1, but you can buy a family size bag for about $3 at the grocery store. If you portion out the chips in plastic bags for snacking, you are saving money. This is a simple way to save money for the small everyday purchases.
4. Buy Drinks in Bulk.
Drinks like sodas, teas and juices are the same; instead of running to the soda machine every day and paying $2 for each soda, pay $4 for a six-pack of your favorite drink. This saves you approximately $6 to $10 a week.
5. Rent Your Textbooks Online.
It is typical to have to buy at least one textbook for every class you take in college, although these books can be very expensive. Renting instead of buying your books is the better way to save money, but even when you are renting them at the school bookstore, they can still be marked high in price. Resort to online book renters because they are more likely to have your textbooks much cheaper. You can use sites like Chegg, ecampus, Uloop, or even Amazon for more information on renting textbooks.
6. Buy Off-Brand Essentials.
You may be used to buying and having branded products such as cleaning products, toilet paper and beauty products; however, these brands can be costing you a significant amount each time you make a trip to the supermarket. It may be necessary to buy a certain brand with some essentials, although for items like paper towels, disinfecting wipes and dish soap, it may not make a huge difference. Purchasing off-brand items at each store visit can save you a big chunk of money to go towards paying off those student loans.
7. Walk When You Can.
Even though gas prices have significantly decreased in the last year or so, filling up your tank each week can decrease your bank account and savings. If you live on campus, try to walk when you can (especially when the weather is nice). This will save you a little more at the pump and give you some good exercise.
8. Use a Reusable Water Bottle.
Most campuses have bottle refill stations and/or water fountains all over campus for students to use. This will save you money from having to buy a case of water bottles every week or so. It also is environmentally friendly by reducing the use of plastic. You may also find yourself drinking more water when using a reusable water bottle, which is good for your health.
9. Use Wi-Fi Instead of Data.
Make sure you take advantage of the free Wi-Fi on campus, not only with your laptop, but with your phone as well. Mobile data charges are outrageous today, and if you go over your data usage each month, it can really cost you. If you connect to the school’s Wi-Fi when using the internet on your phone, you can avoid any extra charges on your cell phone bill each month.
10. Choose to Go Out When it’s Cheaper.
It is almost impossible to cut out all entertainment spending, even when you are really trying to cut back and save. For those infrequent days or nights out, choose times when activities are cheapest. This includes things like going to movies: if you go to the movies before noon it can be almost half the price of going at 8 p.m. If you are 21 or older, and want to go out for some drinks with friends, go to a bar’s happy hour for cheaper drink prices.
Author: Jeff Gitlen
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