College is riddled with unseen expenses that can leave students broke before they even hit midterms. Being smart and avoiding unnecessary spending can help you save money in college. Remember these five money saving strategies to stay comfortable without breaking the bank.
Smart Grocery Shopping
Skip the pizza and constant eating out. These habits will not only hurt your wallet, they’ll be harmful to your health as well. Make regular trips to your local grocery store for dietary staples and fresh produce for a healthy diet that won’t break the bank. Avoid the frozen and prepared foods sections–these are not the bargains they appear to be. Cutting down on meat as well will help you further reduce grocery expenses and maintain a healthy diet. Be smart at the grocery store and you’ll save more than you expect.
Buy Used Textbooks
Textbooks are one of the greatest rackets in the world of academic business. New editions of texts are churned out quicker than the old editions can be read, and the new prints rarely offer more than a fresh cover and sometimes an extra chapter. Cut your textbook expenses to a fraction by renting or buying used books in older editions for a fraction of the price. If you have friends in the same classes, you could save even more by splitting textbook costs and studying together.
Commute By Bike
Students who live on or near campus and don’t have a significant distance to commute really have no need of a car. The expenses of gas, insurance, and repairs amount to a significant amount of money that doesn’t need to be spent. Commuting to school by bike is not only cheaper than driving, it can also be faster and easier. Imagine never being stuck in a traffic jam ever again, never circling campus looking for parking, and never pouring money away at the gas station. The advantages of bicycle commuting are endless for those who make it work.
There are bound to be parties at college–it’s quite simply unavoidable, but with a little bit of thinking you can actually make the party life work in your favor. Collecting empty bottles and cans after a party and cashing them in at recycling stations can bring in some extra cash if you live in an area that offers this option. You can even put this practice to work in your own house. Rather than throwing your trash away, turn it into cash. You can get paid to help the environment; who could ask for anything more?
Avoid The Coffee Shop
If you’re like many other college students, you may be guilty of visiting the campus coffee shop one or more times a day for your caffeine fix. It may seem innocent enough, but imagine how much this spending habit adds up in the long run. Skip the coffee shop and make your own at home. Pick up a good thermos if you need to take your coffee on the go. If you are pursuing online masters programs at home, there is no reason you can’t do this.
As you can see, there are numerous ways you can save money in college.
What have been you tricks to save in college?
These are great tips! I know that Greg found an internship during college where he could live for free as part of his “pay.” That was extremely helpful to us as we didn’t have to worry about rent payments while he was finishing his schooling.
That is awesome. Good for him. I know for my brother scholarships really helped with limiting his costs of board etc.
I would add socialize at home or in your dorm. We were a group of 10 and we organized rotating dinners so that each one had one big cook once a week with 10 guests.
There was a student bureau that had cheap tickets for movie and concerts.
And take your student ID everywhere, there is often a student discount or special.
Those are awesome ideas. Thanks for sharing. I love the cooking rotation idea. I have to share that with some of my friends that are still in school.
The ID thing is great too. I remember when I used to be able to use mine. I got tons of great deals on things – especially clothes.
Other tips are to stay at home and get a job. I think those two along with getting scholarships are the biggest ways to save money.
A couple of my friends did this and it definitely helped them come out ahead. I guess it depends on what school you get into and if it is close to home.
College is definitely expensive. Buying used text books is a must!
If you can buy them. I found I couldn’t for my classes. It sucked.
Great tips! I always tried to do what I could in my dorm as the opportunity to spend money there was limited. Having a part time job can also be helpful as well.
Card games, movie nights, etc. area all possible in a dorm room.
My biggest budget buster in college was eating out on a daily basis (multiple times a day). I’d so loved to have been more discipline back in those days, so I hope some college students will take in this advice! Partying all the time was also an issue though… lol
I think my brother would say the same thing. He definitely put on the freshman 15. I think many students feel pressure to study so much that taking time to cook seems counterproductive. They would feel better though and think clearer if they ate healthier. Ironic hey.
Peer pressure is one of the factor that prevents students from saving up during their college days. The pressure to fit in, the vanity and then some. These are great tips and I think it will encourage students to become more practical.
You are very right. Peer pressure is a big deal. It seems to be getting worse. If you don’t show up to university without a mac and an iphone people look at you funny. It shouldn’t be that way.
These are good tips. My daughter is in college now and she rents quite a few of her text books. She also tries to make good use of her meal plan to avoid the expense of eating out.
That is great that she can rent textbooks. That doesn’t seem as common here. Meal plans are great. We still use them now even though we are out of school.
Another tip for the textbooks is to buy the international editions of the textbooks. These can be as much as 80% cheaper.
The other major cost that is easy to reduce for some people is food/drinks on nights out. My trick was to not bring my credit card or debit card on nights out and limit myself to only the cash I had on me.
Thanks for sharing your tips!
International text books hey… I never thought of that. Great idea.
Good call on cash only too. It definitely helps limit what you can spend. I still need to get into this habit better.
The biggest saver I can think of is to attend a community college if possible for your gen ed requirements. You’ll save a great deal of money. And working during college can help you get a jump start on your career and help reduce the amount of loans that you take out.
In Canada, community colleges carry the same weight as university so people aren’t penalized as much. It seems worse in the states. If it is getting better though than that is great. It will open up options for people.
When I was in school, instead of buying used textbooks, I’d buy the international versions from India. Cheaper and often faster to arrive!
They were in English, exactly the same as the North American versions, except that they were softcover and cheaper. I’d definitely order from India for books in math, science, and engineering.
You are the second person to mention this. How did I not know about this? I definitely need to spread the word. What site do you use to buy them?
I hadn’t even thought about cashing in bottles. There certainly were a lot of them, but we just dumped them in the recycling bin (probably giving that money back to the school).
There are so many little things like this that you can do that add up. You just have to look for them.
That’s such a great idea about the recycling! It makes me want to set up recycling bins at the frats on our local campuses. And get them to agree to let me profit…haha. When I first started school I walked everywhere…campus was small enough and part of my tuition was free public transport. All the other ones I use this time around.
You should do that. It encourages green living. Maybe let the profits come back to the students. For all those that participate they get X back.