Save $1,000 this semester

It’s a new semester here at Georgia State. For some, it’s a first semester with new beginnings. Wherever you are in your college career, I want to let you know it’s not too late to get yourself on track to financial success!

To prove this, I want everyone to set a financial goal for the semester. If you’re stuck and can’t think of a goal, I’ve got a great one that will shock your savings system and re-train your brain to start thinking in a fiscally responsible way. We’re going to save $1,000 this semester!

First things first, let’s knock out the easy ones. Cutting our daily spending habits is a great first step. Oftentimes, seemingly small expenses add up. Simply switching to a cheap alternative can save almost $200 over the semester!

Switch banks. This one won’t save you much money, but it will cut out a lot of hassle and annoying fees in your future. Switching to a credit union or online bank, such as Delta Community CU or Capital One 360, with no annual fees and no minimum balance needed is a great way to save. I still wonder why people out there pay fees to Bank of America or Wells Fargo each month when there are so many other banking options that don’t prey on their customers. Savings: $100/year

Don’t be a sucker by buying new textbooks. Unless your goal is to have a bookshelf when you’re retired full of near-mint textbooks, there’s no reason not to buy your books used or rent textbooks. $386 for Principles of Accounting? Hopefully there’s a chapter on bankruptcy in there! Rent books online and save like crazy. Savings: $200-300/semester

Carpool or use public transportation. If you’re a commuter from Cobb or Gwinnett county, their respective transit shuttles are a cheap, efficient way to get to Atlanta each day. Inside the perimeter, MARTA is a great alternative and will save you on gas. If you must drive to school, avoid the exorbitant parking fees and try parking at Turner Field for free if you can avoid the peak usage times—otherwise it’s not worth the headache. Savings: $150/semester

Free stuff at school. Cut back on leisure activities and do something fun on campus—for free! The recreation center will keep you occupied forever, Cinefest screens free movies to students all semester and there are even great art exhibits and musical performances at the Rialto Center that many students overlook. Savings: $250/semester (easily)

Lastly, you could effectively forget all about this and just apply for a scholarship. If you don’t cringe at the sight of the word ‘scholarship’ that is. Scholarships aren’t just for savants and you don’t have to be a child prodigy to snag one or two. Considering the low time requirements compared to high price rewards of your typical $1,000 scholarship, it should be a goal to apply to at least five scholarships per semester. Savings: $1,000+!