Entering college is expensive, no matter what you do. There are some creative ways that you can save though! Some of these ideas may seem small but done together they all add up. I am doing the best I can to save money as a college student and also trying not to obsess over every penny…
Here are 15 ways to save money in college:
Rent or share college textbooks or borrow them from the library!
I rent most of my books because of the savings but never even considered borrowing them from the library! It’s worth looking into but my library system didn’t have any of the books I need for this semester.
Live in a campus dorm room or live at home.
I’m living at home in order to go to college debt free. As much fun as it might be to be on campus I just can’t afford it and I’m not going into debt for it.
Take advantage of the amenities/entertainment on your campus.
Colleges and universities have all sorts of programs during the week and on the weekends for their students. Why spend money going out when you can do something fun on campus with friends especially if it’s free? Most campuses also have free wifi, fitness center, tennis courts, pool, etc that students can use for free.
Free refills on basic coffee and tea at Starbucks.
If you like to go to Starbucks and study this is a great deal. Unfortunately they don’t do free refills on frappuccinos but if you get a basic drink you are set!
Pack a snack instead of buying expensive campus food.
Thinking ahead can pay off when it comes to snacks or meals. Plus, the food you bring from home is probably a lot healthy for you as well!
Cook in your dorm/apartment/home instead of going out to eat.
Again, healthier and a lot less expensive. If friends are going out you could always eat before you go and just order a dessert.
Buy generic items at the grocery store – it will save a ton of $.
Brand name really doesn’t matter on most things and buying the store brand will generally save you at least 30%.
Work at a restaurant for free food!
Most restaurants give their employees free or deeply discounted food. Think of how much you could save just getting one meal a day!
Resell second hand items at the end of the semester.
I have a friend who has done this with a lot of success. Hang around at the end of the semester and just watch as people throw away perfectly good stuff! He has found textbooks at the curb that someone was just throwing away. He took them to the bookstore and sold them back! You can find furniture, electronics, books, all sorts of stuff that is in perfect working order!
Shop at the Dollar Store.
I do this all the time. Shopping at the local dollar store can save so much. They have plenty of school supplies, paper goods, even party supplies. Why pay almost 5 bucks for a pack of plates at the party store when you can get some for a dollar?
Save every $5 bill you get.
My friend Chelsea has a fantastic savings plan. She saves all of her $5 bills! Maybe you can’t afford to save your fives but you could do dollar bills or all of your coins. Just choose something and stick with it. We save our change and it adds up to be close to $200 a year!
Join a credit union instead of a bank so you don’t pay any fees for your accounts.
There are so many benefits to joining a credit union for college students. I don’t pay any fees on any of my accounts with 121 Financial Credit Union!
Do not use a credit card for living expenses.
In fact, you might not want to use a credit card at all unless you have a lot of self control and will pay off the full balance every month. Nothing keeps on giving like credit card debt and who wants to take the next 5 years paying off movie theatre tickets and new clothes?
Shop at places that give a student discount.
There are probably a lot of local businesses that give a student discount if you have a student ID. You can check with your school for a list, or simply ask whenever you are making a purchase. You might be pleasantly surprised.
Don’t buy music – use Pandora or Spotify instead.
This really doesn’t need an explanation…
Do you have any other ideas about how to save money as a student? Please let me know!