Many students can have a hard time handling money in college. They have their no cosigner student loans, their scholarships, and their federal Pell Grant to fall back on. While the scholarships are free to use, it is sometimes easy to forget that all those loans will have to be repaid. Budgeting well in college is the way to set yourself up for success in the future.
While financial aid might cover all of the living expenses, unless everything is covered by scholarships it is a good idea to take on a part time job while you are in college. Every time you can avoid using loan money, there is less you will have to pay back in the future. Put your loans in the bank and draw from them only when you absolutely have to. Any time you have more than you need, pay it back towards the principle to cut down you post-education debt.
While living in the dorms for at least a year is a great experience and a great way to make new friends, living off campus is often significantly less expensive. Dorms are paid by the room or even by the bed, while many off campus housing areas are paid for by the apartment. If you can find a few trusted friends to share an apartment with, you will significantly cut your cost of living. Just make sure they have a way of paying rent each month, since in this style of apartment everyone will be responsible for making sure the whole amount gets to the landlord each month.
Cooking your own food is another way to save money. While dining halls can be convenient, they are typically more expensive than doing a little budget conscious cooking at home. If you get a group together and buy in bulk you will be paying even less.
Being financially smart now is one of the best things you can do to secure your financial future.