Easy ways to save money: Student discounts and tips to cut your top five money wasters

Money management tipsIt’s no fun running out of funds when you’re only halfway through the month. Are there any easy ways to save money? You bet there are. Student discounts are just the beginning. Now that you’re responsible for many, if not all of your own expenses, every penny counts. Here are a few ideas to help you get on track and take control of your money.

1) Empty calories and tobacco

If you want to start saving money, first figure out where the leaks are and plug them. In a September 30, 2012 article for the Business Insider titled, “13 Ways Americans Throw Away Money,” authors Jill Krasny, Gus Lubin and Shlomo Sprung identified Americans’ top money wasters.

The list includes several money wasters that may apply to students:

  • tobacco: $44 billion spent each year
  • alcohol: $50 billion spent each year
  • soda: $76 billion spent each year
  • candy: $29 billion spent each year

What makes them money wasters is that they have no nutritional value and may even hurt you. Needless to say, cutting down on sugary drinks, snacks, booze and tobacco will not only save you money, it will help you be healthier.

2) Textbooks

This one comes as no surprise to students. Selling books back is no consolation as they typically go for peanuts. But there are easy ways to save money on your textbooks. An alternative would be to rent your book.

According to textbook publisher Cengage Learning , “At CengageBrain.com, students can now rent textbooks for up to 70% off the suggested retail price, and purchase print textbooks, eTextbooks, individual eChapters and audio books.”

It’s worth the extra time to shop around and find the best deals on textbooks. Waiting until the last minute to buy them at the bookstore will definitely cost you. A short trip online could make all the difference in your budget this semester.

3) Technology for students

You can hardly get by without a laptop or tablet, a smartphone and an iPod. Then there’s all the software. You’ll be able to stretch your dollars further with a few savvy moves.

Web sites such as Studica, JourneyEd and the Academic Superstore offer special pricing to students on software and hardware. You’ll have to send them proof that you are a student with one of the following:

  • a current student ID
  • a current class schedule with your name and school name
  • a currently dated letter from your school on school letterhead

Major manufacturers also have special deals for students including:

  • Sony
  • Dell
  • HP
  • Apple
  • Lenovo

For example, go to the Apple Store for Education and fill in a form to find your school. If it’s on the list then you can shop for yourself and get a $100 App Store Gift Card. If you buy an iPad or iPhone you’ll get a $50 card. That’s all in addition to saving with the education pricing.

4) Bank fees: Credit card charges and ATM fees

A little credit card debt is actually a good thing. It helps you to establish a good credit history making future borrowing for homes and cars easier. That is, if you handle your debt well. The trick to saving money and staying out of trouble is to do the following:

  • pay off credit card debt as soon as possible
  • never miss a payment due date
  • find a card with low fees
  • only have one or two credit cards
  • only use ATMs that are in your network
  • keep track of ATM withdrawals

The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) puts out a handy guide called, “51 Ways to Save Hundreds on Loans and Credit Cards.” The guide is full of tips to help you save money and manage your credit.

5) Miscellaneous: Clothing, travel, food

Your student id card is as good as a “golden ticket” when it comes to saving money. Be sure to take it with you wherever you go and always ask for a student discount. You’ll be surprised at how often the answer will be, “Yes.”

In a December 12, 2012 article for TeachThought.com titled, “103 Organizations That Offer Student Discounts,” the authors revealed how students can get discounts on everything from technology to travel. “We’ve found stores that offer discounts on school supplies, clothes, food, travel, and much more. Print papers, get art supplies, pick up notebooks, and more with these locations that offer school supplies at a discount for students,” the authors said.

What are your top five money wasters and how will you get them under control?

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