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College can be expensive, but it doesn’t have to break the bank. There are plenty of ways for students to save money and stretch their dollars. In this article, we will discuss 20 money-saving tips for college students! Follow these tips, and you’ll be able to afford that textbook or coffee shop trip without breaking the bank.
Don’t Buy New Textbooks
One of the most significant expenses for college students is textbooks. Don’t be fooled into buying a new textbook when you can find a used one for cheaper. Check online, at your campus bookstore, or even with classmates to see if anyone is selling their old textbook before buying a new one.
Rent Textbooks- If you don’t want to buy a used textbook, consider renting one instead. Renting can be a great option if you only need the book for one semester. Just make sure to return it on time, so you don’t get charged extra.
Meet All Scholarship Deadlines
One way to make college more affordable is to apply for scholarships! There are plenty of scholarships out there that can help you cover the cost of tuition, books, and other expenses. Make sure you meet all the deadlines, so you don’t miss out on any money.
Buy Necessities in Bulk
If you’re buying things like toilet paper and laundry detergent when you’re grocery shopping anyway, consider buying them in bulk. Buying in bulk can help you save money in the long run. Just make sure you have enough storage space for all your bulk items!
Start Investing Any Disposable Income
Investing can be a great way to make your money work for you in the future. If you have any disposable income, consider investing it. There are many different ways to invest, so do some research and find an investment strategy that works for you.
Take Advantage of Cashback and Rewards Programs
If you’re going to be spending money anyway, you might as well get some money back! Many credit cards offer cashback or rewards programs that you can take advantage of. Just make sure to pay off your credit card bill in full every month, so you don’t get charged interest.
Utilize Campus Amenities
Your college campus likely has a lot of amenities that you can take advantage of for free! For example, many colleges have fitness centers that students can use for free. There may also be other resources like libraries and computer labs that you can use at no cost.
Choose Housing Wisely
One of the most significant expenses for college students is living expenses and housing. If you can, try to live in an off-campus apartment or house. Living off-campus can be cheaper than living in a dorm room. You may also want to consider roommates to help split the cost of rent and utilities.
Avoid Driving Whenever Possible
If you have a car, you may be tempted to use it all the time. But gas is expensive, so try to avoid driving whenever possible. See if your campus has a shuttle or bus system that you can use to get around. You can also save money by carpooling with friends.
Keep Your Student ID With You At All Times
Your student ID can get you discounts at many places, so make sure to keep it with you! Many stores and restaurants offer discounts to students, so always ask if your student ID will get you a discount.
Attend Free Events on Campus
There are often a lot of free events happening on college campuses. Check your campus calendar to see what’s happening and take advantage of all the free entertainment! There is usually something going on, from free concerts to comedy shows that you can enjoy for free.
Try a Part-Time Job
If you need some extra money, consider getting a part-time job. Many college students work in retail or food service. You can also look for jobs related to your field of study. Getting a part-time job can be a great way to gain experience while earning some extra cash.
Do Your Best to Avoid Overdraft Fees
If you have a checking account, make sure you keep track of your balance. Overdraft fees can be costly, so try to avoid them if at all possible. You can often link your checking account to your savings account so that you can transfer money if you need to.
Fill Out FAFSA Every Year
You should fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) every year if you’re going to college. Filling out FAFSA every year can help you get grants and loans to pay for college. The sooner you fill it out, the better, as some financial aid is awarded first-come, first-serve.
Utilize the Library
The library can be an excellent resource for college students. You can check out books, use the computers, and print things out. The library can also be a great place to study or do research.
Sell Back Textbooks When You’re Done With Them
If you’re no longer using your textbooks, sell them to the bookstore! You can often get a decent amount of money for your books, which can help offset the cost of buying them in the first place.
Buy Electronics That Come With a Student Discount
Many stores offer student discounts on electronics. If you’re in the market for a new laptop or tablet, be sure to ask about any student discounts available. You can often save a lot of money this way.
Print on Campus
If you need to print something out, try to do it on campus. Many colleges have printers that students can use for free or for a small fee. Printing on campus can be cheaper than printing at home or with an off-campus printer.
Take Advantage of Your On-Campus Meal Plan
If you have a meal plan, be sure to use it! Many college campuses have dining halls that offer all-you-can-eat meals for a set price. Using your on-campus meal plan can be a great way to save money on food.
Use the Campus Gym
If your college has a gym, be sure to use it! Using the on-campus gym can save you money on a gym membership. Many gyms offer student discounts, so be sure to ask about any deals that may be available.
Start a Side Hustle
If you need some extra money, consider starting a side hustle. There are many ways to make money online or offline. You can start a blog, do freelance work, or even start a small business. Be creative and see what you can come up with!
Use Free Transportation
If your college offers free transportation, be sure to take advantage of it! Utilizing free transit can save you a lot of money on gas and parking fees. Many colleges offer bus passes or discounts on public transportation. Be sure to ask about any deals that may be available.
Learn How to Travel Cheaply
If you want to travel, there are many ways to do it cheaply. You can often find deals on flights, hotels, and car rentals. Be sure to do your research, and you’ll be able to save a lot of money on your next trip!
Look At Alternatives to Flying
Taking alternative forms of transportation can be a great way to see the country without spending a lot of money. You can often take a bus or train for much less money. Flying can be costly, so consider alternatives to flying if you’re looking to travel.
Live With Roommates
One of the best ways to save money in college is to live with roommates. Living with roommates can help you split the cost of rent, utilities, and other expenses. If you’re not sure how to find a roommate, ask your friends or family if they know anyone looking for a place to live.
Negotiate Utilities and Rent
If you’re living off-campus, negotiate your utilities and rent. Many landlords are willing to work with students on these costs. Be sure to ask about any deals that may be available.
Protect Your Security Deposit
When you move out of your apartment, get your security deposit back. Be sure to clean up before you leave and take all of your belongings. Having access to your security deposit can be a great way to save money on your next place.
Avoid Making Impulse Purchases
One of the best ways to save money is to avoid making impulse purchases. Avoiding impulse purchases will give you time to think about whether or not you need the item. If you see something you want, wait a few days before buying it.
Also, try and avoid shopping online, and make sure your bank account information is not saved on any websites or apps.
Cut Back on Eating Out
Eating out can be very expensive, so cut back on eating out if you’re looking to save money. Try cooking at home more often or packing your lunch for work or school. You’ll be surprised how much money you can save by eating out less often.
Buy A Cheaper Cell Phone Plan
If you’re looking to save money, consider buying a cheaper phone plan. There are many affordable phone plans that offer great features. Compare different plans and find one that fits your needs and budget.
Don’t Buy Unnecessary School Supplies
One of the most significant expenses for college students is buying school supplies. Be sure to purchase the supplies you need and avoid purchasing unnecessary items. Many stores offer sales on school supplies, so be sure to take advantage of any deals that may be available.
Don’t Take Expensive Vacations
If you’re looking to save money, don’t take expensive vacations. There are many affordable vacation options that won’t break the bank. Be sure to do your research, and you’ll be able to find a great deal on your next vacation.
Saving money in college can be difficult, but it’s not impossible. There are many ways to save money if you’re willing to put in the effort. Be sure to use these tips, and you’ll be on your way to saving money in no time.
Claire is a student turned financial enthusiast who has a passion for helping others. Her goal is to help as many people reach financial independence and early retirement as possible. When Claire isn't working on her blog, you can find her buried in a good book, testing recipes in the kitchen, or outside playing with her ducks.