Name: Sarina Garcia
As my first year of college is coming to a close, a common question that is often asked is “Do you have any advice for your cousin who will be going to college next year?” My main key tips I took away from my first year are to use a bicycle, invest in a reusable bicycle, research your payment plan options, know wants vs. needs.
Use a Bicycle:
I lived on campus during my first year and one of the most convenient and budget-friendly items I invested in was a bicycle. I was able to turn a 15-minute walk into a 5-minute bike ride. It is faster and you will easily able to find a bike rack anywhere on campus that is right next to the building you have a class. You will not need to worry about looking for a parking spot which is a common issue for UTSA. (And you won’t need to buy a parking permit if you ride your bike!)
Invest in a Water bottle
A college student should always have a reusable water bottle on them at all times, especially since it is so hot in San Antonio. But when you have a water bottle that means that you will not need to purchase that drink when you’re buying a meal at school. By not purchasing a drink the majority of your cost will be covered by your meal trade and you can pay the rest with your dining dollars. For more information about UTSA meal plan options, the link is below.
Research your payment plan options!
When I was applying for financial aid for school I wish that I knew of the different types of payment plans UTSA offered. There are three main payment types: Pay in full upfront, Installment plan, and Tuition and Fee Loan. But do not apply for the installment plan or the tuition and fee loan until the financial aid disbursement date has occurred. This date is when all of your other types of aid (e.g. scholarships, grants, work-study, etc.) have gone through and you will know the final amount that will need to be paid by you and your family.
Wants versus Needs
Although personally, I am a frugal individual, a very common problem that I have is deciding when it is a good time to buy things (E.g. new video games, clothes, concert tickets, movie theaters, etc.). If you have either an allowance or you work, save a bit of money for a few months before you purchase your items. Wait to purchase these items until they go on sale. A great time at the end of the year to purchase your items are holiday sales, Labor Day, Black Friday, and Cyber Monday just to name a few.
Hope these tips are helpful!