College is one of the best times in your life. Things are nice and easy, allowing you to transition from your childhood into adulthood nice and gradually, picking up more and more responsibilities as you go about completing your higher education. If done right, college can be a time of true learning and discovery. There are also plenty of easy mistakes to make in college, which is why it’s a learning experience in the first place. We’ll talk about a few ways you can get the financial competitive edge, however, with a few frugality-minded tips that that will help you to avoid some of the most common money mistakes college students make.
- Going Student Loan Crazy
Student loans can be really attractive, especially since you usually don’t have to start paying for them until about half a year after you graduate. That can seem a long way off to someone who’s beginning their college career. If your parents aren’t cosigning on the loan with you, then you’ve got to be incredibly careful to take note of things like the interest rate and other important details. If your parents are cosigning, it’s likely they’ll discuss this with you, so that you understand exactly how everything works. It’s best to avoid going too crazy with student loans, as you could wind up accruing a very unpleasant amount of debt in the future.
- Not Looking for Grants & Scholarships
Believe it or not, there’s a pretty good amount of free money out there, all you need to do is actively look for it. It’s likely that there are plenty of grants and scholarships for which you’re eligible. All you need to do is make sure you’re getting out there and looking for them. If you partner up with the administration at your university, the Financial Advisor on staff can help you find the resources you need.
- Incurring Credit Card Debt
A credit card can be a great way to manage and afford extra purchases when you’re in college, but you should be very careful about allowing yourself to run up any kind of considerable debt. Credit card debt can mount faster than you might realize, and coming to rely on your credit card for non-essential purchases can wind up seriously costing you in the long run.
- Paying Full-Price for Books
Never pay full-price for new books at your university’s bookstore. It simply isn’t sustainable anymore. Books seem to become more wildly overpriced with every passing semester, and now there are a great deal of websites and online resources that will help you find your textbooks at incredibly discounted (or at least much more manageable) prices. Sites like chegg.com and half.com are just a couple of the resources you can use to find used books, and books that you can even simply rent for the duration of the semester at a fraction of the full price.
- Not Taking Advantage of On-Campus Resources
You’re paying for a bunch of services and resources that your school’s campus offers just by sending in your tuition check each semester. Take advantage of them! Unless you’re working on your MBA online, your school likely has a gym, health services, and other great things that you can avoid paying money to use elsewhere.