College life can be an exciting experience for college students, but when it comes to finances and managing money college students struggle with saving money and budgeting. According to a recent survey conducted by the U.S. Treasury and the Department of Education financial literacy among college students is at an all-time low.
The average college student spends $6,803 per semester.
In an effort to show students responsibility in finances, BookRenter.com partnered with David Levitz of The Rented Life to create a challenge for college students nationwide to become financial savvy.
“The Rented Life was created by BookRenter.com as a social experiment to show college students the many ways in which they can save money, with a focus on the shared economy (renting as much as you can) and budget, bargain and borrowed items whenever rental options aren’t available,” said Levitz.
He was given a budget of $6,803 to use for a semester, with anything left over to keep.
Levitz states that his major challenge was finding budget options for food.
“Finding budget options for food has been my biggest challenge since I don’t have time to cook. I had to talk the large financial blow of buying a meal plan for the semester, which I do not advise my fellow college budgeters since it costs more than double the amount of grocery shopping.”
“Sometimes as college students with tight schedules we have to compromise in ways such as this. This is why budgeting is such a personal process.”
Throughout his study, Levitz created 20 tips on saving as much as possible as a college student.
Levitz leaves this advice to college students who want to change their financial outlook while in college, “Never buy things full price. Ever. Always look into coupons, rental options, student organizations who give things away for free, friends pretty much anything you need for less expensive than the full price.”
Levitz is a sophomore at the University of Minnesota Minneapolis and a double major in acting and journalism. Outside of school, Levitz runs his own personal YouTube channel and participates to The Rented Life.
Tips from David on Saving as Much Money as Possible:
- You can’t afford a moving crew, so be sure to help your friends when they need it, because eventually you’ll have to move and you’ll need their help.
- Sounds simple, but saving your loose change can definitely add up. Get a large container and fill that baby up.
- The coffee shops may look tempting at the beginning of the year, buy a coffee maker and a travel mug and watch the savings add up.
- Use a budgeting app, such as our brand partner Moven in order to track your spending and keep track of your budgets.
- You’ll need a playlist for wandering around campus, use free services like 8Tracks to create your own, personal soundtrack.
- People watch. Some of the best free entertainment that can be found on campus is finding a comfortable spot and watch the weird people as they walk by.
- We all know not to grocery shop when you’re hungry, but I say go hungry and fill up on free samples.
- Consider becoming an RA while in school, they usually get room and board for free.
- Grocery list are not just something your mom did. Creating a grocery list helps you steer clear of expensive things that just sit in your cupboard and get stale or moldy.
- At the beginning of the year, look for classes that you can test out of. No use paying for classes you already understand.
- Get involved on campus. Joining clubs and keeping busy helps stave off boredom. And boredom is the enemy of saving money.
- Make friends with your neighbors and work out a carpool schedule. You’ll both save on gas and have some company for the commute.
- Need to fill up your fridge to start the year? Buy in bulk and use your freezer.
- Really needing an extra couple of bucks? Check out the local blood bank or see if you can sign up for a research project on campus.
- Looking to save money groceries? Go generic. Just because you’re used to seeing name brands in your parents cabinets, doesn’t mean you need them or that you’ll even notice the difference.
- Recycle! Save your recyclables and take them to a recycling center. Some places will give you money for bottles, etc.
- Need a part time job this school year? Go for an on-campus job, they’re fun, easy and most let you do homework when you’re not busy.
- Quit it with the credit cards…did you know that they average college student graduates with over $2,000 in credit card debt?
- Would you like some inexpensive ways to get around town? Check out Spinlister to rent a bike from someone in your area.
- Wanting to spruce up your dorm room? Look for great decorating items at a yard sale, Craigslist or thrift shop.