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Wednesday, August 21, 2013

College tips: How to stretch your dollars

To save money on housing costs live off campus
Cooking food bought in bulk and avoiding restaurants saves money
By Jennifer Dalenberg

College can be quite expensive. There are student loans to think of, credit card debts to settle, and money for food and accommodation. The more money you borrow to sustain you through college, the more debts you incur, and the longer it will take for you to pay all of them back. There are ways though that you can cut down on your expenses, decrease your debts, and still have some money left for your savings.

Save money on food

You will be surprised to know that one of the biggest expenses in college is food. Hundreds of dollars are being funneled into food expenses each month, the cost climbing if you eat at restaurants. If you can direct some of the food costs to your debts, then you can pay your loans off sooner. Below are some ways that you can save money on food.

Eating at restaurants is very costly, but you can save some money though by cooking your own food. Not only is it healthier than restaurant and fast foods, but it is also a skill worth developing. There are a lot of easy-to-cook recipe that you can download from the internet, and the best thing about it is that the ingredients are not that hard to find and the steps are not that difficult to follow.

When you shop for the ingredients, you can save more money if you purchase food and other supplies in bulk. The quantity may be too much for a single person, but you can split the cost with your roommates though.

When cooking food, cook in large batches and simply store the leftover food in your freezer. After your classes, you only have to reheat some of the leftover, and in no time at all, you can enjoy hot food. This saves you not only time and effort, but money as well.

Finally, avoid buying from vending machines. The items are more expensive than those sold at the grocery stores. If you want to save money on snacks and drinks, then buy them in bulk at your local grocery store.

Earn extra cash

Off-campus housing is cheaper than on-campus ones, and if you want to save more money on rent and you have some extra space in your apartment, then why not rent the space out? This gives you extra cash that you can use to pay for your student loan faster or extra money to go into your savings. Of note though; before you go this route, be sure to read up on the pros and cons of having roommates. Weigh the advantages against the disadvantages. You do not want to regret your decision later, especially if having a roommate proved to be more of an inconvenience to you.

Finally, look for a summer job. There are a lot of summer jobs that you can choose from, but if you want to use the opportunity to build a better resume for when you look for a job after graduation, then choose one that is in line with the college course you are taking. One example of a lucrative summer job that can also help build your resume is a sales representative position.

About the author: Jennifer Dalenberg is a freelance content provider for business and financial blogs. If you are looking for a summer job, she recommends a sales representative position such as those offered by Vantage Marketing Opportunity.

Image license: Dave Crosby; CC BY-SA 2.0