6 Money Saving Tips for Financially Independent College Students

Encouraging your children to become financially independent doesn’t have to be a chore. Help them imagine a world where there are some freedoms, but mainly more control over their lives.

Instead of “kicking them out” when they are 18, leave them with a sense that you are setting them free to do great things. Help them the first few years too, but teach them how to get what they want at a reasonable cost.

Cut the Cord

Chances are that your child is not holding down a $30-40,000 per year job, so cable may not be the best idea. For one small fee, you can get a digital antenna, which will broadcast basic cable channels, and there are a lot more today than the 2,4,5,7,9 and 13 of your heyday.

Other options include streaming movies, which is cheaper and more legal than you think. For starters, you can get Netflix for free as a trial anyway, and some sites stream shows live. Looking for sports broadcasts? They are happening at the student union, in an environment that is safe and will help your kids to find more buddies.

Campus Health Services

New laws now allow children living at home to stay on a parent’s health plan until 26, but for those in dorms and living abroad campus health services are often much more affordable. For anything non-life threatening, the student health center is the place to be. If your child uses any form of birth control, it’s usually available for free or at low cost. Physicals can also be done there, and doctors can prescribe medication for common illnesses.

It’s not a full-service hospital, but it will help your children get some of the care they need away from home.

On-Campus Events

You would be surprised at not just the amount of free and low-cost food available, but the quality of entertainment at on-campus events. But some schools continually attract duds. In a lot of cases, says Steven Kent of Daily Finance, a campus will spend money on bands and acts that it knows. So if your potential student wants more variety or better events, start petitions for them. It will bring the bands they know to their schools and improve the quality of on-campus events for no extra charge.

Change Shopping Behavior

You can save a lot of money at the grocery store if you don’t shop when you’re hungry. Consider eating out less and cooking at home more often, and teach children to cook for groups (it’s much easier to cook for multiple people). When students do eat out, teach them to look critically at a menu and get the most food for their buck. Try to make a fun competition out of who can get the most food for less than $5.

Coupons

The art of coupon clipping can help students stock pile supplies for months where money isn’t so plentiful. There are a variety of coupon websites online, in addition to the newspaper. Take some of the extra cash saved from clipping, and apply it to the next tip.

Saving Habits

Teaching children how to save and how to cut corners in spending will give them a lot more money to play with, especially if they get a part-time job. Some of that money should go toward a savings account, which is always the hardest part of teaching good financial planning. Getting kids to accept that there are reasons to save. One method of motivation is to be open about the bills you pay, and how much money you are responsible for managing each month. It’s hard being open with your kids about this kind of stuff, but the benefits of showing them how it’s done will far outweigh some of the risks.

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2 thoughts on “6 Money Saving Tips for Financially Independent College Students

  1. Betsy @ ConsumerFu

    Good advice even for dependent college students. We have two in college and while they aren’t completely financially independent, they do manage their own money and financial aid. I guess it is like practicing for real life but with a mom and dad safety net. They still learn about managing their own money and trying to get the biggest bang out of their dollar.

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  2. Caryl Anne

    This is all great advice that I’m sure any college student or individual could use. Saving money seems like it could be harder to do than say, but when it comes down to it, it can actually be quite easy. Thanks for sharing!

    Reply

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