Student Tips: How to Save Money
These cost-saving tips have been compiled by AU students for AU students:
Use your meal plan — Don't get in a habit of eating out. Also, if you're not using all the meals in your plan, cut it down. This can be done prior to the start of any semester or during the first two weeks.
Use the fitness center and participate in intramurals — Instead of paying for a gym membership, find ways to stay fit on campus.
Get full use out of your credit hours — Audit a class that might be of interest to you, such as painting or rock climbing.
Become best friends with the APB — The Activities Programming Board brings fun, free activities to campus for all students. They also take students to off-campus events throughout the year.
Get involved on campus — There are many organizations on campus that would love to have your participation. If there's not one that's of interest, start your own. Student activities are a great way to be productive and socialize.
Get a part-time job — Don't sleep your days away. While school should come first, having a job can help your day feel more structured. You may be able to take out less in loans if you can pay a little more out of pocket from your earnings each week.
Carpool — Minimize the amount of wasted gas and money by sharing rides. If you're a commuter, alternate who drives and cut the cost in half.
Buy used books — Whether from the bookstore, the Internet or other students, buying used books minimizes a necessary expense. There are even book-renting Web sites. And interlibrary loans can be a good tool for classes that involve reading novels. See a librarian for more details.
Waive the school's insurance — If you have personal health insurance, you can fill out the insurance waiver found on AU's Web site.
Use the Spartan Spot — There is a pool table and big-screen TV always available for student use, as well as games. Get friends together and have some fun!
Wellness Center — The Wellness Center is a smart first stop when you're feeling under the weather. They'll assess what's going on, give recommendations and often start you off with some basic over-the-counter medication.
Counseling Services — Everyone needs help now and again. Don't let money keep you from getting the help you need. While you are a student, counseling services are free!
Keep an expenditures record — Monitor your spending habits so you know where you can cut back. Make a list before going shopping. Avoid impulse buying. Buying things such as magazines and candy while you're waiting in line can be tempting, but they are leaks in your budget and add up quickly. Buying generic can also help you save, as will avoiding the vending machines on campus.
Be aware of your bank balance and know when bills are due — If you know how much you have, you can prevent overdraft charges by not spending when you're low. Creating a bill calendar can keep you on track and prevent late fees and bad credit. Use your bank's ATM machine.