Being a college student can be a financial challenge, can’t it? You have to worry about paying for tuition and books while still maintaining healthy physical habits and trying to keep up with friends and family. Furthermore, most college students change their majors at some point during their college experience—which leads to more financial burden.

Some students have it even worse if they live in an expensive state. In order to get a good job in certain fields, going to a great school can be necessary. That being said, HackCollege has a few tips for you to follow if you’re among those who live in an expensive state.


It’s simple: spend less than you make. Save a portion of your money each time you get paid. For example, if you make $400 a week, use this example:

  • $250 for bills
  • $50 for savings
  • $50 for random expenses
  • $50 remaining

This allows for maximum savings coverage. Obviously, things come up. Life happens. But if you’ve already started saving, you’re on the right track.

Credit cards

Traditional advice says to get a credit card, use it sparingly, pay off your debts as soon as you can and you’ll be good to go. If you’re a college student in an expensive state, sometimes your credit card can be used when you’re in a tight spot and have no other alternative.

No matter what, make sure to pay off your outstanding balance and always work towards being debt free. Misuse of a credit card can result in years and years worth of damage that you do not want to spend time repairing.

Car insurance

Being a student and having car insurance can sometimes be overwhelming in terms of finances. Shopping around for various car insurance, especially in expensive states, can be beneficial to your pocketbook. For example, New Jersey has the second highest auto insurance rates in the country, which makes it important for students in New Jersey to know their options.

Do your homework. Give yourself time to find what fits for you. No matter the state you live in, you’ll be in good shape.

Food budget

Whether you live in a residence hall or off-campus, food is always going to be important. Having a meal plan definitely has its perks but it may be more convenient (and less expensive) to buy and prepare your own food. This is where eating healthy becomes important. It’s cheaper to buy fast food and it saves you time. But in the long run, it becomes detrimental to your overall health.

Knowing how to budget is a great place to start. This guide to the $100 diet allows for healthy eating while still maintaining a low budget. You can also track your expenses with the Mint app, designed to help you manage your money wisely.


Overall, going to school in an expensive state isn’t a challenge easily conquered. Using these tips, you’re well on your way to thriving no matter where you are. Have more to add? Tweet us at @hackcollege and let us know or leave a comment below.