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3 tips for students who feel broke

By Paula Pant · Bankrate.com
Thursday, May 22, 2014
Posted: 3 pm ET

As a student, you're probably a master of frugal living. You drive a beater car or ride a bike, live in a small apartment (or at home with your parents), and wear thrift-shop clothes.

You cook most meals at home, don't have cable and generally maintain a bare-bones lifestyle.

It would be nice to save more money, but it's hard. Most students can't work full time. After covering basic expenses (such as gasoline, car insurance, groceries and rent), there's not much money left at the end of the month.

But don't worry. Here are three financial tips tailored to help students earn and save more:

1. Work more during your breaks

If you don't already have a job, it's time to find one. Even a minimum-wage gig where you put in 15 to 20 hours a week is better than nothing. During summertime, winter break or spring break, ask your employer for more hours.

If you work 20 hours per week during the school year, and 50 or more hours per week during the summers and holiday breaks, you can almost work the equivalent of a full-time job over the course of the year.

2. Score odd jobs

To help further build up your cash reserves, consider taking on odd jobs like you did when you were a kid.

Cutting neighborhood lawns, walking dogs and baby-sitting the neighbor's children can help you save money faster. Best of all, you can perform these "odd jobs" on your own schedule -- in between your current obligations like school, sports and clubs.

Cut back on lawn-mowing or baby-sitting during final exam week, while ramping up your hours after exams are finished.

3. Work for your parents

Are you living at home? If so, ask your parents if there are any jobs around the house that you can do for them.

They may be happy to pay you for bigger jobs they don't want to tackle themselves, like cleaning out the garage or repainting the house.

The best way to save money is by increasing your earnings while continuing to live in the same style as you did before you accepted those additional hours. All those "extra" shifts at work then will translate into direct savings.

Paula Pant helps people ditch the cubicle and live on their own terms. She's traveled to 30 countries, owns six rental property units and hasn't had an employer since 2008. Her blog, "Afford Anything," is the gathering point for a tribe that refuses to say "I can't afford it." Follow Paula on Twitter: @AffordAnything.

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