School is a time for instruction. It can also be a time of financial chaos—from the windfalls of grants to the pits of misspending—students stay on a fiscal roller-coaster. But with some thought, planning and a bit of willpower, you can also coast through college on a steady path toward financial stability.Discounts
Most movie theaters offer student discounts. So do coliseums, skating rinks, museums, art galleries, and all sorts of entertainment venues. The discounts get deeper with computers, cameras, and other electronics. Additionally, many travel agencies and airlines offer student specials—take advantage of these while you can. On a more everyday level, restaurants and local shops typically offer discounts to students.
We all have to eat. Be on the lookout for student discounts at area restaurants. Also, hunt deals and specials, plan your meals according to daily deals at eateries. As a previous financewand.com post indicates, “eating cheaply does not mean that your diet has to suffer, it just means you need to take more care in buying the right foods at the right times.” Remember that eating out isn’t the only option. Don’t fear the grocery store or farmer’s market. Farmer’s markets are great ways to keep your cash circulating within the community and pick up quality food options for a fraction of the cost of traditional super-market shopping.
Living a cable-free lifestyle can literally save hundreds a month. The internet is essential to study and offers a world of broadcast possibilities at a fraction of the cost to subscribe to cable or satellite television. Besides, watching a little less TV frees up time for students to engage their community, see live music, or at least spend the same time watching their favorites shows on the web—mostly for free.
Fighting the urge to buy brand-new items one of the best tools in student’s wallet. Be thrifty—hit up thrift stores or consignment shops. College-areas typically have the best thrift stores around. Vintage is always stylish and there are second-hand stores which only accept name-brand merchandise (for all you label hunters out there.) There is often little difference between the quality of brand-new versus gently-used, but the difference in cost can be substantial.
DIY & Home repair
Saving a trip to the appliance store can save quite a bit of cash for students living outside of the dorm. Often students find themselves with older home equipment. Keeping older appliances in good condition may be as simple as ordering a few parts and a screwdriver to repair loose handles or burnt out coils. Also, students often lose their rental deposits due to simple neglect. Holes in walls from posters or shelving can be repaired with drywall puddy and a bit of elbow grease. And carpeting can be patched with glue and scissors.
Taxes and Finances
Student taxes are unlike any other. Understanding the proper deductions or credits to which they are eligible is essential come tax-time. If done correctly when they file taxes, students can see significant amounts of their tuition reimbursed. Additionally, establishing credit is easier for students as credit card companies are eager to grant small amounts of credit to students on the assumption that all students are irresponsible with money. However, the financially-savvy student can reap the rewards of stereo-typed irresponsibility.
Katei Cranford is a recent UNCG graduate and freelance journalist who’s making her mark beyond academia and advising others not so far behind. Her twitter profile kateichan