College is a big money-drainer, but you probably already know that. Now that you’re an independent adult, you’re going to have to learn to navigate the confusing world of money on your own. You don’t want to have to rely on your parents to bail you out for the rest of your life. It’s time to take charge of your own personal finances. When you leave college, the idea is that you’ve already gained the necessary skills to prepare you for the “real world” (whatever that means). There will obviously be many new lessons to learn along the way, but you should have mastered the essentials, such as doing laundry, cooking, cleaning, and saving money.

The best way to manage your finances in college is to focus on the small changes you can make in order to have a big impact on your funds. You don’t have to live solely on noodles, despite what other students might say. You shouldn’t deny yourself the bare necessities in order to reduce your expenses. There are many other ways to cut back on food costs without denying yourself the sustenance you need. Costly aspects of your college years such as travel and textbooks don’t have to cost so much either. We’re going to discuss it all in this article. Here are some small ways to save big money in college.

Stop bad spending habits early on.

It’s good to learn this lesson at college before you enter the big adult world. Debt doesn’t magically appear out of nowhere; it comes as the result of people having to borrow money to cover their bad spending habits. The best way to avoid such a situation is to start practicing smart spending whilst you’re in college. You might not deal with the utility bills in your dorm but it’s good practice to turn off lights when you’re not in rooms, put on extra layers instead of turning on the heater, and reduce showers to a few minutes to save money. When you have your own house one day, doing these things will massively reduce your monthly energy and water bills. Budgeting is also helpful because you can better keep track of your expenditures and make sure they don’t exceed the money you have available.

Of course, there are types of debt that we intentionally accumulate in order to afford those big costs in life. For example, your student loan might have been necessary in order for you to go to college, and you’ll one-day likely need to take out a loan to afford your house deposit. Not all debt is bad but you need to plan ahead. You need to be sure that you can afford the regular repayments before you take on any new debt. And if you do pay back the money on time then that means you’ll have a better credit score. In turn, this will make lenders more inclined to give you a loan because they’ll see you as trustworthy. So debt isn’t always bad. Sometimes, it can help to improve your credit and give you more opportunities in the future. But you just need to plan ahead and only borrow money you know you can repay.

Ditch the bus pass.

You most likely need to get transport from your accommodation to the college campus, and most students travel by bus. Of course, a yearly bus pass is incredibly expensive and unnecessary given other ways in which you could travel to college. Cycling is free, for example, and often quicker if there’s a lot of traffic on the road. There’s no point in wasting money when you could take a free form of travel and get some exercise. Of course, if the route to college from your dorm is a chaotic cluster of traffic and pedestrians then cycling might make you feel unsafe.

Maybe you’ve tried cycling before, and a bad experience left your bike battered and bruised so you went straight back to the bus. However, you could do some research into making cycling accident claims because you could be due compensation for both your injuries and your damaged bike. Whether you want to cycle again is up to you, but you don’t have to suffer twice. In any case, you don’t need to get the bus; you can always walk, at the end of the day. You might have to leave the dorm a little earlier but it’ll be worth it to spend the huge amount of money you spend on a bus pass every year.

Search around for dreaded textbooks.

Most students will tell you, with a tear trickling down their face, that they had to forego nice food in order to afford the necessary textbooks for their course. It’s insane that something you need in order to study effectively should break your bank account for the foreseeable future. The best way to get around this is to search around for the textbooks your course requires you to buy. Don’t just get the full-price versions straight from your campus library. Head to some used bookstores and see if you can find a better deal there. Obviously, you still need to make sure you’re getting the most recent copy of the book; you don’t want to be absorbing out-of-date information and make mistakes in your coursework. Check the year that the copy was released and you’re good to go. You don’t need to spend a fortune on your necessary textbooks.

Utilize student discounts.

As a final piece of advice, you need to utilize one of the few monetary perks available to students: discounts. One of the beauties of being a student is that you can get money off in so many stores simply for being enrolled at a college. How great is that? It’s really great if you actually make the most of this potential. Make sure you always ask if there’s a student discount available before you make any purchase because you need to be saving money however you can. You can get discounts on movies and, sometimes, clothes if you look in the right stores.