Financial Management Tips for College Students

Photo Credit: yoodz
(Creative Commons)
The cost of college tuition continues to rise, and more and more students are graduating with crippling debts and no job (or with a job that doesn’t pay nearly enough). Learning smart financial management habits while you are in college – and finding ways to spend less money and take on less debt – can help ensure that you get a fresh start after college instead of finding yourself mired in debt.

Here are a few financial management tips to help you through college to emerge with as little debt as possible:

Get Grants and Scholarships

Grants and scholarships are free money to help you pay for college. Unlike loans, you don’t have to pay back grants and scholarships. There are thousands of grants and scholarships available based on your characteristics such as your race, gender, religion, or even sexual identity, as well as your academic merit and financial need.

There are grants and scholarships for every student and in varying amounts, which can either help you to buy a few books one semester or can help you pay for your entire education.

Live and Eat at Home

After tuition, a large part of your expenses while you are at college will be your room and board. If you are attending school near home, and if you’re parents are inclined to let you, go ahead and keep living at home. You’ll save thousands every year on rent, helping you put a big dent in your budget.

Don’t squander those savings on eating out. Cooking meals at home can help you save a significant amount of money – and it’s healthier for you, too.

Buy Used Textbooks

Textbooks can cost you thousands of dollars per year if you buy them new. Fortunately, there are multiple venues for purchasing used textbooks, including online outlets like ebay or Amazon, used bookstores, and even your fellow classmates.

Some other ways to save on textbooks include renting them, hosting a swap with classmates, or purchasing the electronic versions instead of the printed versions.

Work Part-Time

Any income you can generate while you are in college translates into less income that you have to generate later to pay back loans. A part-time job can help you to pay for items like textbooks or groceries. You can find quality part-time jobs that pay well and provide some experience by working with your school’s career development or work study office.

Also consider finding ways to make money online, such as blogging. This can help you to make more money than you would working part-time, and it will provide you more flexibility in your scheduling.

Take Courses Online

Online courses offer you the flexibility to study at times that suit your schedule. That means that you can fit your studies in around work and family responsibilities. When you take courses online, you have the freedom to also work full-time, allowing you to earn the money you need to fund your own education and possibly avoid taking out any loans at all.

Whether you are in college or not, smart financial management is smart financial management. The key is to find ways to lower your expenses while also finding ways to increase your income. These tips will help college students lower their debt burden so that they can get a fresh start when they graduate and start building the life they want.

About the Author
Chloe Trogden is a writer and manager for, where she has recently been researching college guides. In her spare time, she enjoys camping, swimming and playing her guitar.