The graduating class of 2015 finished college with an average $35,000 in student debt, according to The Wall Street Journal. If you are packing your bags and books and saying goodbye to mom and dad, pay attention to your wallet to lessen the financial burden of college.
TaxSlayer’s saving experts want to help you conquer college with these five tips for wisely spending and saving money. Exercising financial prudence during college can jumpstart savings for life after you walk across stage with a diploma.
Here are five tips to start saving:
- Go on a cash diet. Overspending is just like overeating. To stay on a budget diet, take out an allotted amount of money for the week or month and only spend what’s been taken out. If your entertainment budget is $100 per month, withdraw $100 cash at the beginning of the month. Once the cash is gone, you are done.
- Try the 52-week money challenge. Have money left over from the cash diet? Open a savings account. Start off week one by saving $1; then week two you save $2; week three you save $3, etc. Continue for 52 weeks and your savings would add up to $1,378.
- Be a social deal seeker. Many of your college friends are cash-strapped, too. Keep activities fun, but low-cost. Picnics, pickup football games and free outdoor festivals help keep your pocket in-check. Or, invite friends for a home-cooked dinner or fresh brewed coffee in your dorm kitchen or off-campus apartment. Also, look for deals on sites like Groupon, LivingSocial and Gilt.
- Take workouts outdoors. A gym membership can cost anywhere from $10 to $100 per month. Instead, ride your bike to class, jog in a park or walk around campus. Don’t forget to see if your school offers a free gym and exercise classes for enrolled students.
- Cut down on cable and book costs. Rather than shelling out upwards of $80 per month for cable, opt for an online video streaming service for TV shows and movies for about $10 per month. Also, visit the college library to borrow movies and books. When the book you need isn’t available at the library, research ways to rent books for an entire semester or the last two weeks of finals. Renting books can cut costs in half and save hundreds of dollars.