University/College is extremely expensive, period. Is there a better word for expensive? Because I don’t think “expensive” even justifies how freaking costly it is to pay for a bachelors degree at university. Due to the high prices that schools put on courses, lot’s of students don’t even consider applying to college because they know they can’t afford it and don’t want to be paying back loans their entire life. Which is honestly really sad because there’s so many smart people who are held back because the price isn’t right.
I’d say there’s probably 30% of high school graduates that don’t go to college because it’s to expensive. 60% go to university but live unhealthy and nourish themselves off of ramen noodles almost every night. 5% can afford it all and have no money problems. And the final 5% don’t go because they don’t want to or can’t.
(obviously these aren’t real statistics, I just made them up from the stories I’ve heard and what I’ve seen.. don’t take them too seriously!)
I have the privilege of being able to study in Germany, meaning that I don’t have to pay for tuition because the german government covers that for me. However, I still have to pay for my apartment rent, meals, household supplies, internet.. the list goes on. And for a cheapskate like me who would rather skip a meal then spend money, those costs add up and make living soo expensive.
So what I’ve done is, compiled a list of money saving tips, that, well help you save money during college to make the tuition a little more affordable! I’m not in university yet (I start this April!!), but I still use these tips to help me save. I will definitely continue to use them, once I’m in university.
Before I start…
keep in mind these tips won’t help you save thousands of dollars but they will make it worth it in the long run, especially for people like me who cringe when money is withdrawn from their accounts.
Scholarships are the reason why high school grades are literally everything. I’m pretty sure every high school gives out money for the high school graduates that get high grades in school. My school had given out CDN $50,000 worth of scholarships to the students. Not bad right? The more effort you give in high school = higher grades = more scholarship money = happy non-struggling student. It’s as easy as that!
If you struggle with getting high grades, don’t worry because there’s other ways of getting scholarships that don’t require high grades! Getting involved at high school is the best way you can get more money for college without having high grades.
Ways to get involved:
- sports teams
- music band
- any type of clubs offered at the school
- craft club?
- green team
- trivia team
- LGBT club
Every high school offers different types of teams and clubs that you should consider joining. You’ll become more noticeable to teachers and principles if you’re in a bunch of clubs and teams, and much more recognizable for a scholarship.
If good grades aren’t a problem for you and you’re involved in a bunch of clubs, then you’re already ahead of the competition!
Outside of school scholarships
High schools aren’t the only ones who give out money for college. Banks, clubs and teams all have some money to share. You’ll have to do your own research for different types of scholarships in your country that you can apply to. Use this portal to find scholarships for (USA) students.
Some of the scholarships, you’ll just have to apply and provide some information including official documents stating your parents income. But, the majority of the scholarships you’ll have to either write an essay or create some creative photo or video. The rules are really simple, and you can easily win a couple thousand dollars (if your essay is good of course).
I’m pretty sure every country has student loan programs, that students can apply to, to get money monthly to help with living costs and college tuition. The ones I’m aware of are OSAP for students in Ontario Canada, and Bafög for students in Germany.
I know loaning isn’t always the best option because you’ll have to pay the money back. However, I do have some good news for you. A lot of the loaning programs only make you pay back half of what was loaned to you, depending on your financial situation.
So what you should do is, only use half of the money that is being paid to you. Open up a second bank account and put the other half of the money in there. So once it comes time to return the money back to the loaners, you’ll have it ready and you won’t have to take money from every paycheck you receive from your “real” job after college.
So if I get $600 every month, I’ll only use 300 of it for myself and put the other 300 in a bank account. Therefore, after 3 years I’ll have $10,800 that I need to pay back and a total of 10,800 saved in my account!
Make a Budget
You should definitely set a budget to how much you will allow yourself to spend each month. Maybe even set up a credit card max. so that you can’t go over the limit. It’s so easy to go over your limit if you don’t set a bar. Spending a couple dollars here and then a couple there and then another couple over here doesn’t seem like a lot of money at each single transaction, but at the end of the month it really adds up and you’ll be looking at your balance and say “oops”.
When making your budget…
Take into consideration food, transportation, household items, leisure activities, sports or any hobbies when you make your budget.
An example of my university budget that I’ll follow:
- food: 75 – 100 Euros
- transportation: 50 Euros
- household items: 25 Euros
- leisure activities: 20 Euros
- Sports/Hobbies: 15 Euros
Grand total of: approximately 210 Euros/month
Another good tip would be to document in a spreadsheet everything you spend your money on. That way you can track exactly how much you spent and where you spent it.
I remember I went on a school trip to Manitoba and my mom gave me a little notebook and a pencil so I could write down everything. At first I thought it was a dumb idea, but in the end I knew exactly where my money went and had the exact amount I was supposed to have, left over.
Use your student card
You’re student card will become your best friend in college. Seriously, once you get the card, you should never leave the house without it. Put it in your wallet or in the back of your cell phone case and leave it there.
So many stores give students discounts on clothing, electronics, school books, etc. Even restaurants offer lower prices, which is perfect if you don’t want to eat from your meal plan every single day.
a couple of those are:
The list goes on, and a lot of these places have special offers at certain times in the month, so definitely sign up for a newsletter from the store to keep updated.
Apps & Website
Do you like earning money for completing simple tasks? Or like couponing? Well, there are tons of apps and sites that will help you earn some cash and save some cash. Filling out surveys for opinionoutpost will earn you a couple bucks for a variety of stores like amazon. And RetailMeNot & SnipSnap are apps that let you search and save coupons for stores in your area! With SnipSnap you can even take a picture of printed coupons and turn them digital.
Another App/Website that almost every student in the world has is UNiDAYS. This app has it all. I honestly don’t even know how to explain how useful it is for discounts. You just need to download it and browse through it yourself.
If you want to join UNiDAYS, click here to join for free!
Find the alternatives
Be creative and think of some alternative things you could do to save money. If you need help, just ask my mom she is the queen of saving money and energy. Seriously.
Some Ideas for you
- Transportation: instead of taking the bus or subway, invest in a bike and ride to school everyday. Exercise and saving money, a win win here.
- Always pay in cash: leaving your debit card at home and only buying things in cash will set a limit to how much you can spend on a shopping spree.
- Group dinners: cook meals together with friends. You’ll be dividing up the costs of the ingredients making it a little cheaper.
- Sell: find some clothes or electronics that you don’t use anymore and sell them on Etsy, Amazon, Ebay, etc.
- Online: make money online by creating a youtube channel or a blog and monetize it!
- Thrift: there are so so many thrift stores that sell high quality branded clothing. No one will ever know you purchased it from the thrift shop. *que Macklemore Thriftshop*
It’s so much easier than you think to save money to make college tuition a little more affordable. You just have to do some work and research for those discounts! I wish you the best of luck and don’t worry to much about money. You can do it, if you think and spend smart!
I’m honestly so excited to start university. I’ll be starting in April in Germany. Are you going to college/university? If so, where?
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