Go West this summer and get ahead.

The Freshman Wallet

As a student who is new to both Georgia State’s campus and college, the following ten tips can be helpful to you. Your parents won’t be there holding your hand anymore, so it is crucial this year to create a strong financial base to guide you on your path to a college degree.

#1 Skip the meal plan unless you are legally bound to have it with your housing situation. Even then, I wish you could just break the law and still opt out. Forget tuition! The meal plan is the most overpriced product the school sells. Unless you plan on eating 3 square meals a day, every day, 7 days a week, then avoid the meal plan like the plague.

#2 Park at Turner Field. Nothing says amazing like FREE* parking in Atlanta! Save yourself $200-300 per semester by just parking at Turner Field! The busses run non-stop and there are only a few days each semester the lot is off limits. Trust me, unless you have classes 7 days a week, your parking deck pass won’t be worth it compared to Turner Field- and yes, it’s worth the 20 minutes it takes to ride the shuttle.

URGE Abortion

#3 Use the gym. Use everything! Get this: you pay over $1,000 in fees per semester for things like recreation, transportation, and technology. You’re paying for these things whether you use them or not- so use them a lot!

#4 Get a job. This one may be easier said than done, but GSU has job and career fairs one or two times a semester. With some help on building a resume at GSU’s own Career Services, tackling a job fair should be a piece of cake. Just remember to dress sharp and have one quality that sets you apart from the rest. Holding a part-time job in college can be a lot to handle, but I feel it helps add variety to the school year and having a healthy work ethic now leads to future success in the workplace.

#5 Never buy a full priced movie ticket again. This may not seem life-changing, but you can buy discounted movie tickets (as well as tickets for many other events around Atlanta) at the information kiosk in the Student Center. It’s an underused service that any savvy freshman should use before heading to Regal at Atlantic Station or AMC at Phipps Plaza. For an even better deal, check out Georgia State’s own Cinefest, which shows great movies, many not even out on DVD yet, for free to students!

#6 Netflix is your best friend in college. If you live with roommates, have one of them buy a Netflix subscription (Streaming is the best bet at only $8/month), split the bill, and share it on all devices in the house (TV, Xbox, Computer, etc.). It’s the best entertainment you can get for $2-3 a month!

#7 The all-powerful ‘student discount’: Many places around campus will give you a student discount if you ask! From the Subway and Chinese spots by Aderhold to the movie theatre on weekdays. When in doubt, whip it out! (Your Panther ID, that is.)

Wake Forest University

#8 Start that retirement account now! Forget those cheesy “teen savings accounts” most banks have these days. You’re an adult now, so start handling your money like one! Open up a Roth or Traditional IRA as soon as you can get $500 to start one. Any investing website or bank should have the simple option of starting one. I can’t stress enough the importance of opening one now. Every year you wait to start it means the difference in retiring with $500,000 and retiring with $5-10 million. Which one would you choose?

#9 Rent your textbooks on Chegg.com! No matter how much advertising and persuading the school puts into buying and renting new and used textbooks through them, it is still nowhere near the low cost that Chegg sells for. If you’re not a fan of Chegg, there are other sites such as abebooks.com where you can buy and sell books on the cheap. Whatever you do, don’t do it directly through the school. For extra savings, go to class a few times and find out which textbooks are absolutely required and which ones you can do without. Take it from me, I spent $250 on renting textbooks my freshman year that I didn’t touch a single time!

#10 Know what classes you need for your major. Even if you haven’t picked one yet, focus on the essential core classes before you go off taking random classes that won’t count for anything down the line. Most students have a misunderstanding of where their scholarships and the money they pay for tuition goes. It mostly goes to pay for college credit hours. If you take a 3 credit hour class at $260/credit (current cost at GSU), then that class is costing you $780! Keep this in mind the next time you don’t think going to class is important or worth it!




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