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Saving for College? Try 20 Tips

Aug 18, 2013

If you’re lucky, your parents started a 529 Plan before you were born. But even if they waited a few years, you still need to help contribute to your college fund. Consider these 20 tips to save money, limit student loan debt and enter the work force on solid financial footing.

Books


1. Rent textbooks from your university’s bookstore, local library or online source.
2. Share textbooks. All your classmates save money!

Debt


3. Take subsidized loans. They’re interest-free as long as you’re in school, which saves you tons of cash.
4. Consolidate. If you have unsubsidized loans or credit card debt, try to consolidate them under one low-interest loan.
Income
5. Sell your hobby. Tutor exchange students, sing at weddings or build customized furniture.
6. Barter. Paint a neighbor’s porch for groceries, type research papers for rides and pet sit for hair cuts.
7. Save automatically. From every paycheck, set up automatic withdrawals into your college savings account.
Transportation
8. Fill up wisely. Fuel costs keep rising, so save money when you find cheap fuel at gasbuddy.com. Plan to fill up before you’re on empty and take the shortest routes possible.
9. Maintain your vehicle. Rotate the tires, change the oil and drive as little as possible to keep your car in like-new condition.
10. Sell your car. You will save hundreds of dollars a year when you carpool, ride the bus, walk or bike. College is a perfect time to save the money from a car since you can live on campus and catch rides with friends.
Food and Drink
11. Use your campus credit. Why eat out when you already paid for food at the campus dining hall or café?
12. Brew your own. Whether you’re into coffee, tea or beer, stop paying someone else to make those beverages for you, and save dozens of dollars every week for your college fund.
13. Host potlucks. Ask all your friends to bring a taco or pizza ingredient, and enjoy tasty dinner on the cheap.
14. Give up junk food. It’s expensive and unhealthy.
Clothing
15. Buy secondhand. Besides finding awesome vintage clothes, you’ll save tons of money.
16. Learn to mend. Popped buttons, loose zippers and oversized clothes are easy to fix with a sewing kit and your nimble fingers.
17. Wash everything in cold water. It’s gentler on your clothes and helps them last longer.
18. Borrow a friend’s – or your mom’s – laundry room. Give her a few dollars each week instead of feeding the campus machines all your quarters.
Entertainment
19. Couch surf. Your spring break and long weekends just got cheaper.
20. Find free entertainment. In the newspaper, online and through friends, find free entertainment for date night and fun with friends.

With these 20 tips, you’re well on your way to saving during college and graduating debt-free. Which tip will you try first?

Bio: Alicia is a freelance writer and enjoys restoring her Ford Mustang when she’s not working.


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