5 Tips to Save Ton of Money : College Students Only

tips to save moneyThis is part 4 of  Income, Expenses and Savings article series in USA. Following tips to save money for college students is shared by Nibin based on his personal experience.

  1. Coupons
  2. Loan
  3. Tax Filing
  4. Credit Cards
  5. Phones

Coupons Save Money

You could also care much on coupons. Unlike India, in US, price is not really proportional to quality. Also the price varies much in different shops.

For eg. In Khols, you will get the mail coupon of 30% discount. Use that coupon while they have the $10 back for $50 purchase offer.

Say you are purchasing for 200 bucks, and 30% will bring it down to $140. You will get a cashback of $20 which can be used next week for an addon purchase 🙂

In JC Penny, there were coupons for $20 off $100 purchase. I used to take multi-prints of this coupons and split my checkouts to set of $100s. I saved a lot, but I think now they don’t have that offer.

Car Loan

Regarding auto loan, don’t ever go with car dealer finance. Plan ahead of time. Go to nearby credit union and signup a savings account.

Be with them for 6 months as a loyal customer. After that apply for a loan. My loan rate is 2.99% from ACU! Much lower than nearest competitor.

Tax Filing

Regarding tax filing, select a good CPA. I know some CPAs which blindly file the returns. Find a reputed CPA (preferably Indian, because native CPA’s wont do much tricks) and sit with them during your filing process.

Together you could discuss much personally and save a lot in tax. Most Indian CPAs know much about the tricks to save legally. Also if you are doing any freelancing works, consider registering a business with IRS. This could help you to claim many bills and expenses as non-taxable.

Credit Cards

Don’t pay interest for credit cards.

Use balance transfer wisely. Some cards offer very good plans.

I got Commerce bank credit card balance transfer for 0% interest and $0 fees. Big DEAL for 24 months!!

Save on Phone Connections

Phone rates also can be saved much. Vonage will give you 50 hrs of call to India each month.

By convincing the customer service, you could get it for $24.99(inc tax).

If you are smart enough and can work a little more, go to walmart. They do have vonage reps sitting there. Signup for a 3 month contract @9.99 per month.

After 3 months do the same again, and call customer service to transfer the old number.

Do you know what I did? They give you Motorola 3 set phone device free. I used to do this long back. I sell those in Craigslist for $30. Net effect 3 months vonage charges $0!!

But that is a little over:) I used to do that before settling with family. Now I am subscribed to normal $24.99, but I would say students could try these tricks!!

Hope these helps, and I would post more if I could recollect my past even more :))

Income, Expenses and Savings  – Series

Got more creative money saving tips to share with us?

16 Comments

  1. Sai Suresh on August 7, 2013 at 4:58 AM

    Great Raghu..good tips to save money especially for college students,being one among them i will surely follow these tips whenever i can.Thanks a ton.

  2. munna on July 26, 2013 at 11:46 AM

    1) Always refer your friend for Bank account. Walk with him to bank to open his/her account. You will get some reward/money from bank. Same thing may apply for cell phone connection.

    2) See if your University is eligible for student discount on AT&T or any other carrier and your bill can be reduced.

    3) If your credit card has APR and you are paying your bills on time. See if you can negotiate with them by calling them and try to convince them to reduce your rate of interest.

    4) Be very vigilant while buying car. just dont blindly look at craiglist and borrow money from friends and buy car. Calculate initial repairs like Battery, Tires. I remember once one friend bought a car whose Transmission system was not good. He had to spend 1100 dollars to fix that. People are so lazy that they dont even check whether windows/doors are opening properly or not in car and then they have to spend hindreds of dollars on that.

    5) Keep a hawk like eye on University scholarships. Do some research and there are many scholarships for which Graduate Students and International Students are eligible but noone applied for it. When I was a student, I used to get refund back from University as my scholarships were more then Tuition/fees.
    There are sometimes scholarships for Graduate Students who are not getting any funding. There are sometimes fundings for those students of a particular field. Sometimes even Indian origin students may have some fund. Some scholarships are there just for joining Student Senate, Rotaract Club etc. Keep your eye open and try to meet Counselors at scholarships office of your University.

  3. Albert on July 26, 2013 at 6:36 AM

    Bravo Raghu!
    Loved this post. Thanks a ton.

  4. Harsh on July 25, 2013 at 4:56 PM

    Why are not allowing any of my comments Raghu??

    • Raghuram Sukumar on July 25, 2013 at 5:57 PM

      Can’t approve comments that are targeted at specific community or hated speech.

  5. Nibin on July 25, 2013 at 11:22 AM

    Also another way for phone saving is magicjack. Purchase one and send to your parents. Its 24.99 per year. You will get unlimited free calls. See details at http://www.magicjack.com/

    If you buy one for you and one for your parents, it works better. You will get unlimited calls to anywhere in US and also to your home. Vonage also has this device, but I think it is expensive. Thanks

    • Raghuram Sukumar on July 25, 2013 at 11:32 AM

      Magic jack is pain to use for parents. Computer should be powers in to receive calls. When parents are not tech savvy, sending them lower Vonage plan will be better.

      • Nibin on July 25, 2013 at 11:35 AM

        I think magicjack has a “no computer required” model also. Just connect the internet cable directly. Just plug and play!

  6. Nibin on July 25, 2013 at 11:18 AM

    @Rahul

    We should not abuse any company or policies. Using the trial period efficiently is not abuse. Just speak with vonage representatives in walmart. They are there for doing this 3 month trick only!!

    Vonage management knows this trick. When you call to change the number, they used to offer STUNNING DEALS to prevent you. That is their strategy of business. About 60% of people on trial will end up with their STUNNING DEALS and signup for an year contract.

    I didnt tell to return goods after use. But use offers and opportunities effectively.

    And be aware that saving mentality can not be seen much in US, otherthan in some asian community. And moreover you are here to save. And anything without violating rules and policies will help.

  7. vish on July 25, 2013 at 10:56 AM

    Just to add to credit card and auto loan thing:
    1. Try to never have a credit card debt (please please live within your means, I know it some times feels embarrassing when you can’t get stuff your class mates have, but please try to live with it. In USA you are not judged by those things)
    2. For Autoloan, the best way is to work your credit to atleast 675 before you get a loan. This said, you should open a couple of credit union accounts as soon as after you have got your SSN. This way when your credit score is about 675, you will have 8-9 months of relation with the credit union.

  8. Rahul on July 25, 2013 at 10:27 AM

    Please dont abuse the system in usa .

    Like for vonage , apple i phones , returning the goods after use etc

    If you abuse , you only get a stricter rules like deposit , dont offer satisfaction guarentee for Indian people etc .

    This is the reason why many people look down on us .

    Bcoz of our Indian mentality , businesses in india cannot offer good services in India to customers .

    • vish on July 25, 2013 at 10:52 AM

      Hold tight, where did Raghu say anything about returning the goods after use?

      • Raghuram Sukumar on July 25, 2013 at 11:12 AM

        I think it’s about Vonage plan change every 3 months.

        I hate intentional purchase to return after use.

        • vish on July 25, 2013 at 11:16 AM

          Precisely, I think Rahul got it wrong.

  9. Ravi Lothumalla on July 25, 2013 at 10:17 AM

    if you are doing any freelancing works, consider registering a business with IRS. This could help you to claim many bills and expenses as non-taxable.
    This is NOT a good idea as it may end up impacting while the Green Card is in process.
    Just a suggestion

    • Raghuram Sukumar on July 25, 2013 at 10:40 AM

      Thanks Ravi. Under F1 and H1B visa one cannot work without proper work authorization.

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