Nov 18, 2019 02:13 PM EST
10 Clever Tips for Saving Money as a College Student
As well as keeping up with your studies, college life means trying to save money where you can. By being smart with your finances, the money you get from part-time work, parental contributions, and other sources can go further.
But saving money as a college student is difficult if you don't know where all your money goes. This is why your first step should be to make a comprehensive list of all your expenses, as well as how much money you have coming in each month. Once you've done that, it's then much easier to see where you can trim down on your outgoings.
Read on to find out how to save money while in college and make your limited student budget go further.
1. Shop Smarter
Amenities like kitchen facilities make living off campus much cheaper since you can store groceries and cook your own food.
But, one of the best money-saving tips for college students is to shop smarter. Ways to do this include forgoing named brands in favor of supermarket value ranges and bulk buying non-perishable products such as shampoo and detergent.
You should also take advantage of multi-buy discounts as much as possible. If that means buying too much for one person to get through, split the goods and cost with a friend.
2. Make a Packed Lunch
With a kitchen full of groceries, there's no excuse for not taking lunch with you to college. Yes, it means being organized and either preparing food the night before or waking up early to make a packed lunch. But trust us, it's worth it when you consider that it could save you as much as $1,500 a year.
3. Hit the Library
The campus library can prove a great place to study if you're easily distracted at home. But beyond that, you'll also be able to save on the price of expensive textbooks by checking them out for free.
Or, if the library only has them as resource books, save on photocopying costs by taking photos of essential pages with your tablet or smartphone. This is also much better for the environment as you won't be wasting tons of paper.
And don't forget to join the local library in town too. There, you'll find plenty of free entertainment options in the form of books, movies, and even video games.
4. Take Advantage of Student Discounts
Your student ID is more than just a class pass. Many food outlets, stores, gyms, theaters, and other businesses offer a discount for students. This discount might not always be advertised though, so make a point of asking even if you don't see a sign.
5. Skip the Stationery
Instead of spending money on unnecessary school supplies such as notebooks and folders, use technology to your advantage.
Keeping notes on your laptop or tablet is one option. But, since we recall handwritten information better than typed information, an electronic reusable notebook is the best way to go. It's a win-win for the environment, your wallet, and your backpack will be a lot lighter too.
6. Walk or Cycle Everywhere
Keep fit while saving money as a college student by ditching your car and walking everywhere. Or, if the campus is a little too far away to walk to, consider getting a secondhand bicycle and using that as your main method of transport.
7. Use Campus Facilities
Save money on going out by taking advantage of the facilities your campus has to offer. Many campuses are more like small towns these days, offering students access to movie nights, museums, and other social activities for a cheaper price, or even for free.
If you're a regular at the gym, you should also switch to the campus sports center. The equipment might not be as good as the gym in town, but the membership fees are often much cheaper. And, to avoid having to wait for equipment, try hitting the gym in the early morning.
8. Sell Your Belongings
One of the best saving for college tips is to sell your unwanted belongings. Chances are, your old bedroom back home is full of clothes, accessories, CDs, books, and other items that you didn't need or like enough to take to college with you.
When you visit your folks for the weekend, dedicate a few hours to sorting out unwanted belongings that could make you money online. There are plenty of apps and websites, such as Decluttr, thredUP, Craigslist, and Amazon, where you can sell everything from tech items to used clothes.
9. Drink Water
Whether you're at the store or dining out, forget the soda and stick to water. It's free and much better for your teeth and your waistline.
And, to ensure you don't have to resort to buying water and other drinks when you're out and about, carry a reusable water bottle with you at all times and fill it up whenever you see a water fountain.
10. Stream Movies and Music
Don't waste money on cable and music downloads. If your parents have a subscription to online streaming services such as Netflix, you'll be able to access these at college to watch movies and series for free.
And, you can take advantage of the free services offered by streaming sites like Pandora and Spotify to get access to all the latest music.
Great Tips for Saving Money as a College Student
Saving money as a college student doesn't have to mean pulling tons of extra hours in your part-time job, reading by candlelight, and eating cold food from cans.
You can still have fun, keep healthy, and dedicate the majority of your time to studying without running up huge debts. As these great money-saving tips for college students show, all it takes is a little more organization and some smart budgeting.
Looking for more advice like this? Be sure to check out our other blog posts!
Join the Conversation