Money Saving Tips for College Students

June 29th, 2019  |  Personal Finance

Before your child heads off to University or College, it’s always a good idea to have a conversation with them about their finances. Making a budget and practicing money-saving skills will help them grow into a more financially stable adult. Here are 7 money saving tips for your college student:

Talk numbers

Parents and students should discuss the financial plan for the year. Parents should sit down with the child and set up a budget to help them manage their money. Before they’re sent off to university, go through all the campus expenses for the year and plan their budget. Let your kids know how much their university costs, how much you’ve saved up, and how much you expect them to contribute to the final bill. The entire discussion should be open and to the point.

Creating a spreadsheet is also very help to lay everything out in front of your child. It’s a great opportunity to balance expenses and income in one place.

Make sure your child understands the difference between student loans, grants, and lines of credit. As a family, discuss a timeline of paying back student loans and make reasonable goals to not interfere with other stages of life.

Split the cost of textbooks with a classmate

Students can save hundreds of dollars by buying used textbooks or sharing the cost of a new one with a classmate. Just make sure to decide what you’ll be doing with the textbook once you no longer need it.

Learn to cook

Buying take-out food every night is very expensive for a student. Parents can pass on some of their tips and tricks to help their student cook for themselves more often. A great gift idea is a homemade recipe book with all their favourite recipes that you make at home.

Hone comparison-shopping skills

Grocery shopping can be a lot easier if students know how to find deals. Parents can take them grocery shopping and showing them where they find deals on food. Compare prices to other grocery stores and always look at the price per weight.

Buy used whenever possible

If your student is moving away for school, take them on a trip to a local yard sale or look to buy & sell websites for some of their furniture and décor. Look for pots, pants and small appliances that are easy to clean and reuse.

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Get your first credit card

For a student’s first credit card, look for one with a low rate and no annual fee. Many banks have student credit cards that are ideal for them. Don’t be tempted by credit cards offered in an on-campus promotion. They’re often sold on-the-spot and don’t allow you to do your research. Talk with your child and make sure they understand how credit cards work and always read the fine print. Make sure to set a low spending limit, typically around $500 per month, and set up auto-payment. When the bill arrives, pay it off in full. If you pay off your card every month, you’ll be ensuring that you’ll be able to borrow money at attractive rates in the future.

Choose to live at home

Not all students are going to like this, but it is one of the best money-saving tips while going to university. You’re not only saving money on room & board, but also the cost of utilities and food. The money saved while living at home can be put towards student loans, a future home, or a travel break.

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