Is the college student in your life experiencing “flat wallet syndrome?” Many college students will be spending more money than they ever have, but they don’t want to face huge loan payments after graduation. Student debt will pass the $1 trillion mark in 2013, reports Fox Business. Students can give up the morning latte at $4 a cup, which would save $120 each month, as well as subsist on ramen noodles and spaghetti-o’s, but there are more money-saving tips that can actually allow students to have fun in the process, too.
1. Adjust to Campus Life
Chances are good that ID card your student carries around can get them more privileges than they take advantage of. Encourage them to use the on-campus gym rather than paying for an outside membership and take advantage of movie nights, concerts and free activities on campus. Being smart about textbook consumption can save hundreds each semester. For example, if they’re studying to be a vet technician, tell them to find other students with veterinary school majors from whom they can rent or buy materials from each semester.
2. Travel Smart
Encourage your student to skip the long spring break road trip, and stick close to campus instead and opt for a “staycation.” The year 2013 is the year of discovering destination delights in your own backyard at bargain prices. When your student does take that epic end-of-the-school year road trip, encourage them to choose destinations that pack the most bang for their bucks.
3. Start Saving Now
This might seem counterintuitive (how can you put aside money when you don’t have enough to begin with?), but it’s one of the smartest decisions students can ever make. Even if it’s just $20 out of each paycheck, have your student open a savings account, and plan to make regular deposits. It might seem like a hassle now, but the long-term payback is significant.
4. Make Money
Chances are good your students already has a marketable skill they can use to start a small business, whether it’s providing technical assistance to the less-technologically inclined, or doing yard work for residents in the area.
Tech-savvy “college-preneurs” can try designing and selling apps online. At about $1 a pop, it won’t take long to build up some serious pocket change. Budget time around school, and work wisely. Tell your student to charge cheap rates, and exceed customer expectations from the start. They’ll be on their way to building a strong client base if they choose to continue the business after college.
5. Make Over Personal Lives
Students can improve their personal life by changing day-to-day habits. Start by eating well (it’s possible, even on a budget), and getting plenty of sleep at night. Stay busy and get involved. Tell your student to write for the student newspaper, join the campus astronomy club or dive into community-focused Greek life for fun activities that don’t cost much.
Staying busy and involved in school or the community challenges students. Life is more rewarding when you’re challenged, and getting involved means students will be too busy to blow money at the mall. When it comes to romance, encourage students to learn how to do date nights on the cheap, without sacrificing atmosphere or fun.
What ways are you teaching your college student to save money? Share in the comments.