Back-to-School: Making + Saving Money as a College Student
Balancing studies and a social life in college can be tricky enough, but toss in a job and it can get really overwhelming. While some flexible full-time jobs, part-time jobs, or on-campus jobs might not be totally out of the question, you probably still won't be making - or saving - as much money as you'd like while in school.
Keep these tips in mind to help keep up with your finances while working toward your degree.
If you're going into school while employed at a full-time job, sit down with your supervisor and discuss your options. Can you switch hours or get certain days off to accommodate your class schedule? Keep in mind that you don't only need to account for hours in the classroom, but hours spent studying, completing assignments, and preparing for exams, too. A general rule of thumbs is that for every one credit hour, you'll spend two to three hours outside of the classroom on schoolwork - per week. So, if you're enrolled for 12 credit hours, you'll need to set aside an additional 24 to 36 hours a week to study. | Read more.
Part-time jobs tend to be a little more reasonable for full-time students wanting to take on an average credit hour load each semester (12-18 credit hours.) If possible, try to take days off in which your class load is the heaviest, or try to work evenings or weekends. | Read more.
On-Campus + Work-Study
There are typically plenty of options for on-campus jobs for students. Meet with your Student Employment Office to apply for jobs that might be open at the campus bookstore or cafeteria, in the writing or tutoring centers, in academic offices, and more. The major benefot of on-campus jobs is that schedules are created around your class schedule and are usually limited in hours. Also, consider applying as a resident assistant at campus housing - in which you usually receive a stipend of some kind on top of discounted, or free, housing. | Read more.
- Work-study opportunities are a little different, and are a part of the admissions process. | Read more.
Creative Ways to Supplement Your Income
If you simply don't have time to get a job, or your part-time gig isn't bringing in enough income, then consider using some of your free time to supplement your income in a creative way. | Read more.
Keep an eye out and you'll start to notice just how much free stuff is actually floating around on campus week-to-week. Welcome back weeks, finals weeks, and homecomings usually bring in free lunch opportunities, giveaways, and discounted or free game entry. And throughout the year, simply walking class to class, you might be handed free gear - bags, planners, t-shirts, sunglasses, coupons. Take advantage!
Follow your school, student organizations, and your specific department on social media. They'll often share information on free snack and meal opportunities, as well as free entertainment and lecture programs.
First off, keep track of your Student ID. It is gold. You'll find that many area establishments - restaurants, theaters, sports venues, and community events like festivals and fairs - will give you a major discount if you can present your university ID.
In addition, there is no better or more affordable time to invest in typically pricey items, like Microsoft products, take advantage of options like Amazon Student to save on purchases, and even travel the globe. Spend a little time shopping around to compare prices - you might find that sometimes the same product is cheaper at the campus bookstore, whereas other times, you'll save online. | Read more.
Coupons + Special Deals
Even if they aren't student-focused, don't forget to take some extra time to use coupons and look for special deals when shopping, especially at the grocery. You don't even have to purchase and clip from the newspaper. Download these money-saving coupons apps and apps from retailers you frequent most, like Target, Meijer, or Walmart - and the savings are right at your fingertips, all the time!
Make sure the money that you do have and are making is safe and that it's growing. Investigate your options for savings accounts that receive high dividends. A great option for college students here at 3Rivers is Livin' Free Savings, in which you can earn up to 5% APY on a balance up to $500 and continue to earn on balances over that! | Apply now.