Some people think of college as a set of four magical years for young adults to live carefree lives until their graduation. There's parties, there's clubs, there's independence - so in a lot of ways college can be a dreamland if you can afford it. But most students who enroll into college don't do it without taking on some debt to pay for tuition and a space in the dorms. Add to that the cost of textbooks, projects and holiday trips and it can easily turn into a financial nightmare.
To make matters worse, many students do not have the option to apply for a proper full-time job. Those on the receiving end of need-based financial aid cannot take a job without risking losing such a scholarship. And even if financial aid is not a factor, there's the massive amount of school work and activities which can become incredibly time-consuming. So most students have to make a choice between sacrificing their schoolwork or their financial well-being.
The situation can definitely seem bleak when exposed in such a manner, I know. But with the current hardships a young student affronts, it's hard to be positive. Now, pessimism should never get in the way of survival, even if it is born out of a realistic fear of the circumstances. There are, however, ways to make the world seem less hostile if you know how and when to cut back on expenses. This way, even if your income is restrained, you'd be able to stretch it enough to get some space to comfortably make things work.
Frugality as a way of life Going frugal is one of the ways for you to make it through with a tight-budget. Frugal doesn't mean cheap, even though that's a common misconception around it. If you're worried about those kind of appearances, keep them out of your mind. By entering the frugal realm, you're merely opting out of reckless spending and choosing, instead, to go for the best offers available to make your budget stretch out as much as possible.
How to go frugal? It's easy to say shop smart and walk away with a smile. However, there are a lot of complexities behind that seemingly innocent phrase. There are ways in which companies can change their prices to dupe you into thinking you're saving money. We can't entirely bash them for doing it, it's a business after all. But just like it's their business model to make money, it should be yours to save money. Going around pricing spikes is only fair game under these circumstances.
Now, on to some tips:
#1 The advantages of coupons - Again, couponing is one of those things that have an overall negative view in society. However, there are some amazing discounts that can be found within these tiny pieces of paper. Traditional coupons have limited uses, though, for the most tech-savvy and broad spectrum spenders, Groupon can be a fantastic option instead of the traditional kind.
#2 Buy used textbooks - There's nothing glamorous about owning second-hand items, but anyone who has gone through a thrift store can assure you: it's sometimes significantly more fun to do so. When it comes to textbooks, chances are you won't find a hidden gem in another student's bookshelf, but you will certainly find the exact same book at a significantly lower price. You'd be saving a couple of hundred dollars doing this overtime, and use them for your other needs.
#3 Say goodbye to standard tutoring - If you're the kind of student who likes to spend your money on tutoring sessions, this is for you. Tutoring can be incredibly expensive, especially when you are signing up for sessions just to clear out a couple of doubts that you may have. Instead of throwing your money at unnecessarily long sessions, you can opt for websites like Studypool, where you can ask a specific question and get the an answer from an expert tutor. Students can get efficient academic help for questions, and the best part is that you set your own price, and your own deadlines. Studypool offers a %100 money back guarantee.#4 Plan your flights - For those who are studying outside their home state (or even their home country) vacations are usually spent travelling back home to see the people we love. If you need to catch a flight in order to complete this journey, then please do keep this tips in mind: try browsing through airlines' websites with the private mode on your browser and disable the logging of cookies before you go in. Flight websites will raise their prices based on your previous search history, so you end up paying way more for a ticket than you should. By going private, airlines will not have access to your searches and, therefore, will only be able to display the standard (and way cheaper) price. Like with your text books, this will help you save literally hundreds of dollars.
With all this in mind, don't forget the most important thing about smart shopping: prioritize! Always make sure your basic needs are met before going on to spending your money on anything else. This is key if you want any of these tips to work for you, or any other kind of financial planning, for that matter. Trust me, in the long run, you will be able to enjoy your money more by going frugal. If you need any further motivation, just now that the money you are saving now, you will later be able to use as freely as whimsically as you want. For now, though, keep a tight seal on your wallet and make the best out of what you have. In the end, it will be so worth it!
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