Budgeting Tips For Students

Looking for student budgeting tips? Then, you’ve come to the right place.

Whether you’re in college or university, it’s high time that you learn how to start budgeting your finances. 

It’s no secret that first-year students are prone overspending on books, take-out and study supplies. 

But by creating and maintaining a budget throughout the year, you’ll be much better able to manage your expenses and set yourself up for financial success in the long run. 

Budgeting Tips

Better Budgeting Tips

While you’re in school, it’s a good idea to keep a detailed logbook of your weekly or monthly expenses. Keep track of this by writing it down every time you spend any money. 

Then, you’ll be able to subtract these expenses from your income to see whether you’re spending within your means. 

Don’t be too alarmed if you come up with a negative balance. It’s important to use this information to help you review your spending and see where you can cut back on your spending.

For example, you might notice that you’re spending an awful lot of take-out food. 

Or, you might even realize that no amount of cutting back is going to help and that you need to earn more money. In that case, a part-time job might be the best solution. 

Having a part-time job can help you better afford your expenses. And part-time jobs are also much likelier to offer a flexible schedule to fit around your classes.  

Learn more budgeting tips here.

Budgeting Tips

Learn About Student Lines Of Credit

Not all credit is created the same. While it’s best to avoid paying your bills with a credit card, using a student line of credit is often a good choice for students struggling to make ends meet. 

Obtaining a student line of credit allows you to access a pre-established amount of cash every year while in school. You’ll still be required to make regular payments on the interest. But you’ll be able to wait until after you graduate to pay back the principal in full. 

And again, it’s best to avoid using credit cards at all costs. They have much higher interest rates and charge hefty cash advance fees, making it much harder to pay off your balance.   

Negotiate Better Rates

We often overlook the cost of our cable and cellphone bills when dealing with our monthly expenses. But the truth is that these services often represent a significant portion of our monthly spending. 

So with that said, it might be worth it to try and call your cable or cell service provider to see if you can negotiate better rates. If not, you might want to see about dropping a service or two to help lower your monthly bill. 

After all, do you really need that extra gig of data? 

Avoid Eating Out – Budgeting Tips

When you’re in school, especially if you’re juggling a part or full-time job at the same time, it can often feel like it’s impossible to take the time to cook a meal from scratch. 

But restaurants and take-out food are expensive, and it’s easy to spend an entire month’s grocery budget by eating out just a few times.  

So instead, try your best to do groceries and pack lunches instead of grabbing food on the go. 

It might also be a good idea to create a separate grocery budget by figuring out what foods you’ll need for the month. Then, create a list of what to buy before heading out to the store and stick to it at all costs. 

Read more student budgeting tips here: https://www.gobankingrates.com/saving-money/budgeting/budgeting-tips-college-students/

Think Before You Spend

Impulse purchases can be extremely tempting. But they’re also the purchases that we tend to regret almost as soon as we’ve made them. 

That’s why we suggest waiting at least 24 hours before making any major purchases. 

If the item is something that you truly need, you’ll stick likely still want to make the purchase after waiting a day. 

But giving yourself a day to think about the purchase will allow you to decide whether it is something you truly need, or if it’s only something that you want. 

It might be hard to deny buying yourself something new, but at the end of the month, when your spending is still within your means, you’ll thank yourself for it. 

Buy Used or Digital Textbooks

It’s no secret that textbooks are often one of a student’s biggest expenses. 

That’s why it’s a good idea to either buy used textbooks or do away with hardcopies completely and go digital. 

There are many places where students can go to look for pre-used, afforable textbooks and there is also an increasing number of schools that are offering digital copies of textbooks. 

Not only will you be saving yourself money, but you’ll also be helping to reduce your impact on the environment. 

Best Study Tips

Put Money Aside – Budgeting Tips

The next item on our list of budgeting tips is to put some money aside and save it.

You never know when you’re going to run into hard times. 

And this is exactly why we recommend trying to put aside at least 10% of your monthly income and not touch it unless absolutely necessary. 

Think about it as an emergency fund. 

So whether your car unexpectedly breaks down one day or you simply need help coming up with your share of the rent next month, you won’t have to go calling mom or dad to beg for a handout. 

Struggling With Student Debt?

If you’re struggling with debt or need budgeting advice, don’t wait to find help. 

If you’re facing any type of financial difficulties, it’s important that you speak to a school or financial counselor as soon as possible. They’ll be able to advise you on any issues you may be having and point you in the right direction to help you get back on track. 

3 Easy Ways to Save Money in College

We’re sure you’re well aware of all the buzz surrounding college tuition. With an average price tag of $20,000 for four years of school, it goes without saying that higher education is expensive. 

However, this doesn’t mean that you can’t cut costs in some areas of school. Today, we’re going to show you a few tips on how to save money in college (wherever possible). Let’s cover three proven tips that’ll help you get your degree without spending more money than you have to. 

1. Avoid Paying Full Price for Textbooks

College students spend an average of $655 per year on textbooks, according to the National Association of College Stores. That totals to about $2,620 in 4 years. Could you think of something better to spend that money on?

I bet you can.

So what’s the alternative to buying brand new textbooks from your college’s bookstore? Here are a few solutions:

Sometimes there is no way to get around this like a physical workbook that you need to write in and turn in, or online content that is registered to your student ID.

Sometimes you just can’t get around the new edition of a textbook. Maybe there’s a physical workbook you need for assignments, or the increasing trend of online materials that come with your textbooks. No matter what you decide to do, just make sure that buying brand new textbooks is always your last resort. It could save you thousands of dollars in the long run. 

We offer one of the largest databases online for searching for textbooks and academic media at the lowest price—browse our textbook search engine at Textbook Nova.

2. Get as Much Free Money as You Can!

Start saving money early by applying for as many grants and scholarships as you can. It might seem like scholarships are only available to straight A students, but you’d be surprised to learn that are thousands of ways to qualify for rewards.

You can begin by searching for…

  • Federal grants 
  • State grants
  • Employer scholarships (this is a hidden gold mine!)
  • Volunteer grants
  • Institutional grants (churches, temples, organizations)
  • Academic scholarships 
  • Skill-based scholarships
  • Hobbies or club scholarships
  • Local awards
  • And much more…

Scholarships and grants don’t have to be paid off and can go towards your college education.  So apply for them as early as possible. And leave no stone unturned! Trust us, when it’s 10 years down the road and you’re trying to pay off your education… every dollar adds up.

Likewise, you can get help from your financial aid counselor. They’ll happily walk you through the grant application process to see what you qualify for. 

Want to avoid the hours spent on online searching? Check out The Ultimate Scholarship Book 2020. Not only will you find the details on over 1.5 million scholarships and grants—including how to apply for each one—but you’ll also discover tips on how to best search for awards, writing a remarkable application, and how to avoid scams.  

Find your copy of The Ultimate Scholarship Book 2020 here:

3. Let Your Advisor Lead the Way

It’s reported that the average graduate of a four-year college takes the equivalent of a full extra semester of classes, meaning an extra 12 to 15 credits.

In a time where the cost of college tuition is only rising, it’s crucial to make sure that you’re not wasting money (or your time) on classes that you don’t need in the long run. The sooner you graduate, the sooner you can launch your career.

And this is where your college advisor comes in.

Talk to them about creating a pathway that highlights the classes that are actually necessary for your degree. It’s common for students to get lost in a sea of information during their first two years of school. We can 100% relate. However, this lack of proper guidance can lead to making costly decisions. 

If you go straight to your advisor early on, you might be able to avoid the same mistakes. Their advice could save you hundreds or even thousands in the long run. 

It’s inevitable that your finances will take a hit from college. 

But if you take the initiative, you might find yourself in a minority of students. These students avoid spending hundreds, if not thousands, in unnecessary expenses. Do you have other tips on setting aside some extra cash during school?

Why Are College Textbooks So Expensive?

Why Are College Textbooks So Expensive?

Are you sick of tired of paying hundreds of dollars for a textbook you might only crack open once all semester?

Yeah, I thought so.

We all know textbooks are expensive by now. That part doesn’t really come as a surprise to us anymore. On the other hand, that awareness still doesn’t ease the sticker shock of adding up your book costs for one semester.

So why DO textbooks cost a small fortune? Let’s find out.

 

Why Are College Textbooks So Expensive? 

According to the College Board, the average college student in a four-year program pays $1,250 per year on textbooks. That’s a serious obstacle for students who are already dealing with rising tuition costs.

Why Are College Textbooks So Expensive?

The American Enterprise Institute also investigated the rising prices of textbooks. They found that the cost of recreational books, like novels, has gone down.

While college textbooks have gone up nearly 200%. Who’s to blame? There are a number of factors.

 

College Professors Level of Awareness

Professors frequently assign book titles without considering how much the text cost the students…or how much their students will actually USE the books that semester.

It’s not that professors are out to get us. They just might not be aware of how expensive the book really is–or they don’t think about the price at all.

Book publishers pressure educators too. They have sales reps that come onto campus and push the latest edition, bundled with software. At the end of the day, you professor really has no reason to keep the costs of their book down.

In this case, we have to educate our professors as well.

Ask them at the beginning of the semester (or prior to the start of it) if you REALLY need the latest edition of the textbook–or if you can get through the semester with a used copy. Explain to them that you want to do well in their class but the cost of the textbook is holding you back.

 

Book Publishers Want Profits

Publishers play the main role in driving up book costs.

Did you know there are only 5 major book publishers that run the textbook market? That’s right, 80% of the market is controlled by these 5 textbook publishers.

And they’re hungry for profits. They bundle textbooks with software and unique codes that forces students to buy the latest edition.

These traditional publishers don’t make money off you purchasing used books–so they do everything in their power to make those older editions “out of date” and useless.

Why Are College Textbooks So Expensive?

Campus Bookstores Markup Retail Prices  

Your campus bookstore wants to make money too. Book publishers are hungry for profit…but so are universities.

Campus bookstores usually mark the retail price of a textbook up by 25-28%. Depending on how much your book costs, this markup can be significant. That means a $200 textbook becomes $250 at the bookstore.

Look closely at your college bookstore website. You’ll probably come across a pricing policy section that explains what their current markup is.

However, this isn’t to vilify your campus bookstore. It costs them money to run the bookstore–they have overhead like paying their employees. To be honest, many campus bookstores are owned by Barnes & Noble anyway.

 

It Depends on Your Field of Study

Information changes rapidly depending on what field you’re studying. If you’re in a field like medical or science? They’re constantly discovering new information and the textbooks have to be updated as a result.

However, if you’re studying a field like math, you’ll find the information doesn’t really change. With this in mind, you can most likely get away with an older textbook version.

 

Search via Textbook Nova

Fortunately, the internet is changing the textbook industry. Website search engines like ours–TextbookNova.com–can save you money.

Search for your assigned text via the ISBN. The ISBN is the bar-code number for the textbook; it should be 10 digits or 13 digits. Why is this so important? Well, it lets you know that you’re getting the right version/edition of the book.

Once you’ve the right textbook, you’ll see options for buying it full price, used, or renting it (usually the cheapest). If you want to go with a used edition, you can price compare multiple price range options based on the condition of the book.

 

What’s Next?

All in all, today’s textbook publishing model and the rising costs won’t last. It just isn’t sustainable. Open-sourced material is spreading online and the internet has given students far more options for price shopping.

The more we understand about why we’re paying so much for a textbook, the more can do to influence the current system.

 

How to use Textbook Nova

Textbook Nova is a search engine dedicated to helping you find the right books you need for school and educational purposes. If you are having trouble finding the correct books for this semester, have no fear; Textbook Nova is here!

Home Page

When you first come to the textbook nova homepage you are presented with two simple search options.

You can choose to either enter text for your search in the top bar or select a category from the drop down menu. If you choose to select a category, you will be brought to Search Results page as soon as the menu closes. If you need to locate a book by using the title, author, or even the ISBN number you can enter your query into the text box and then press the Search button. When you perform any type of search the website will bring you to the Search Results page, unless you are looking for an ISBN-10 or ISBN-13 number. In that case if the website finds the book assigned to that ISBN number it will bring you directly to the Details Page.

Search Results Page

Once the site does a search for your query or category you will be brought to a page with a list of books that fit your criteria.

In this example we have searched for “Computer Science” and see that we have a few results already showing up. If you click on any of the rows in this table it will bring you to the Details Page.

Details Page

In this page the specifics about one book are shown to the user.

A large image of the book cover is shown to the top left and underneath that are the two ISBN numbers assigned to this book. On the right-hand side you can see the full title, author, publisher, binding type, and other details about this book. To see where to purchase the book click on the link at the top of the page or on the book cover.

You are also able to rate each book depending on how close it was to what you are looking for. If this is exactly the correct book for your class you can give it 5 stars, if it is nowhere near what you need you can give it 1 star.

Underneath the book details page is another place where you can vote to say what you are using the book for. This feature helps shoppers confirm that this is the correct book for the class that they are taking. If you are looking at a book you need for a High School class, but the votes indicate that it is mostly used in Master’s programs; then you know something is wrong. To place a vote use the drop down menu and select what type of degree you will be using this book for.

If you scroll further down on the Details page you will also see other helpful things like a description of the contents of the book, user reviews, and similar books.

Five mistakes to avoid when buying textbooks online

Often times people whoare trying to buy the textbooks they need for their classes, they will make a mistake…. and often times a very costly mistake. Textbooks can be expensive and places that buy books back from you often will give you a mear fraction of what you paid. You’d be lucky to find a place that will give you your money back within 30-days, but even then if you have purchased your books well in advanced (like the punctual person you are!) then you might not be able to refund all the money you just spent. Here are the most commonly made mistakes when purchasing books online:

  1. Make sure you get the right version. It’s extremely common practice for textbook publishers to keep the same cover to a textbook when they change editions, so if you are purchasing a book online make sure you confirm that you are looking at the correct edition for your class… don’t assume just because it looks like the right book that it is. And always remember, “don’t judge a book by it’s cover”
  2. Fail to use the ISBN search. Textbook stores like textbooknova.com and a few others allow users to search for their book based on the ISBN (either a 13 or a 10 digit number to uniquely identify a book). Using an ISBN search is the number one most accurate way to find your textbooks, and if you are on a website that doesn’t allow you to do ISBN look-ups, don’t even bother spending any more of your time (or money) on that marketplace!
  3. Fail to match the title of the textbook. Another frequently made mistake among textbook buyers is that they do not match the exact title that is required for the class. There could be a billion textbooks called “Chemistry” but if your class needs the book “Earth Chemistry” or any variation like that then you need to make sure you are looking at buying the correct book.
  4. Price shop around! Often you will be able to find the correct book, but if you fail to attempt to find your book at a few other marketplaces, you might end up spending way too much money! Make sure you do your due diligence to find the marketplace with the best price for the textbook before you buy it online. Fortunately for you, if you are searching Textbook Nova then you can rest assured that we offer some of the most competitive prices available.
  5. Buying a used copy without checking for the quality. You wouldn’t believe how many times I’ve tried to save money by purchasing a used textbook, only to find out half way through the semester that someone had torn pages out on an important chapter. How many times have you seen someone bored in class doodling inside their book? Who even knows where that textbook has been! If you are buying used textbooks online, make absolutely sure you can check to see the quality of the used book and try to find the ones closest to new.

We hope these tips have been helpful for anyone purchasing books online, and hope you have a great semester of classes!