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4 Ways to Save Money in College

Turn your pennies into dollars without touching a single package of Ramen Noodles®.

Make a budget and stick to it

Determine what you need to cover the necessities – rent, education expenses, loans, etc.  Create a budget.  Even a simple budget can help you avoid overspending on a night out when you needed money for a new textbook.

Consider cheap text book options

Did you know you can rent textbooks? Rent a book for as long as you need it and return it when you are done. Check out sites like BookRenter,, eCampus and CampusBooks. Selling your used textbooks is a great option too. It never hurts to get a little bit of cash back to put toward your next semester.

Different living options

Sometimes room and board can be more expensive than tuition.  So how can you try and lower the cost if you need a place to stay? If you work as a Resident Advisor (RA) you can get significantly reduced costs on room and board and in some cases RA’s rooms are free. If you’re rarely near your own room, look into dorms with fewer amenities.  Even though staying on campus may be a bit pricey, it is nothing compared to staying off site. Yes, you may have a cheaper rent, but when you add utilities, internet, transportation, etc., it can actually be more expensive.

Use your student ID for discounts… EVERYWHERE

Make the most of your student status; take advantage of your student discounts. Save on electronics, enjoy discounts for clothing/shoes, movies, printer ink, fast food/pizza, gym memberships and even traveling.

If you put all of the money you saved into your savings account and didn’t touch it, how much do you think you could really save in a month or even a year? I challenge you to put that money away and see what you can reward yourself with at the end of a month or even a year.

Next week, “Making the Cut: Groceries on the College Budget.”


“24 Ways to Save Money in College” shmoop. College 101. 04 Dec 2013 <>.

How to Choose the Right Credit Limit

As it may be flattering when a card issuer has given you a high credit limit, that does not mean that you have to accept it. Being new to credit cards or not having a steady income can create issues whenever it comes time to pay your credit card bill. With a higher credit limit, you can be tempted to charge more than you could possibly pay off. So how do you decide what limits you should have for a credit card? A good rule of thumb is to do what is called the “20-10 rule of limiting debt.”

What is that is the 20-10 rule?

You should never borrow more than 20% of your yearly net income (money after taxes) and your payments shouldn’t exceed 10% of that monthly net income. It is really that simple and here is an example on how to figure this out in your own life.

If your net income is $500 a month, you would multiply that by 12 months to find that your annual net income.
$500 x 12= $6000.

Then you would calculate 20% of that amount and use that as your limit of what to borrow.
$6000 x 20% = $1200 credit limit (So, you will never want more than $1200 outstanding in debt and this is a good idea of what you should set as a credit limit.)

Also, you would not want your monthly payments to be more than 10% of your monthly take home pay. Starting again with your $500 a month of net income, you would calculate what 10% of that would be and you would not want to exceed that in monthly payments.
$500 x 10% = $50 per month

Having these rules will help to ensure that you will be able to pay off your bills on any loan (yes, a credit card is a type of a loan) that you sign up for, but a good idea to gauge your credit limit. You can always adjust the credit limit later down the line if needed, but these rules will always help at any point in your life.

Source: Lesson 4: Credit Cards/Practical Money Skills for Life  <>