17 Money Saving Tips for College Students
As a college student, you might be the poorest now than you’ll ever be in your life. The great thing is that it’s okay to be poor! It’s fun even, depending on how you look at it.
You can make the most of your time as a college student and save money at the same time. It’s understood that you don’t have time for a “real job”, so you want to make sure that your dollars go a long way.
1. Sell and Rent Textbooks
Whenever you can, rent your textbooks rather than buying them. If you’ve already purchased some textbooks, sell them. You can sell textbooks online and pay nothing for shipping. If you sell textbooks, you’ll make a nice chunk of change every semester while unloading something you don’t need anymore.
2. Choose A Cheaper Meal Plan
Do you really eat three square meals a day at your dining hall, or would you rather grab a bag of chips and an energy drink on the go? Why are you paying for something you don’t even use? Many schools offer varying meal plans to suit different lifestyles. Check with your school to see if the default meal plan (and usually the most expensive) is what you need.
3. Eat Out Less
Cheaper school meal plans may give you an allowance of money to spend at various locations on campus. Take advantage of these rather than spending a lot of money on off-campus dining.
4. Avoid Impulse Buying
At this point in your life, the last thing you need is extra junk. If you see something that you think you have to have, try this trick. Set a reminder in your phone for two weeks from the day you see the item. In two weeks, the reminder will pop up. If you still want the item as much as you think you did, allow yourself the treat. Otherwise, you’ll see it was just another impulse.
5. Learn to Sew
The great thing about the world we live in, you can learn about anything online, for free of course! If you can learn to mend basic tears and sew on a button, you’ll save lots of money on new clothes.
6. Change Your Phone Plan
You may be paying for features on your cell phone that you’re not even using. Review your phone plan. You may not need unlimited texting as much as you think.
7. Quit Smoking and Drinking (or at least cut back)
Do you realize how much money goes on cigarettes and alcohol each month? If you need to indulge once in a while, plan for it. Choose alternative entertainment to save your money…and your health.
8. Skip The Soft Drinks
If you do go out, order water rather than a fountain drink. You may cut at least five dollars off your bill by skipping drinks and getting the free water instead.
9. Two Words: Student Discounts
You’re a student, so take advantage of those student discounts. With a student ID, you can get discounts or special offers at places like movie theaters, museums, and stores. Save money on things like insurance and phone plans. Before you buy anything, ask about a student discount.
10. Get Rid Of Your Junk
Since you’ll be moving into more of a transient lifestyle, it makes sense to unload some baggage anyway. Go online and see where you can unload some things. You never know if someone may be looking for the very thing sitting in your closet.
11. Stream Music
You don’t have to buy new music with streaming services like Pandora. For free, you can hear your favorite music and discover some new favorites.
12. Cancel Unused Subscriptions
Are you subscribing to magazines that you don’t read anymore? What about online subscriptions? Do you really need Netflix and Hulu? Reevaluate what you actually use and see what you can do without.
13. Make Better Use of Your Time
Rather than spending a ton of money on spring break and summer trips, see if you can volunteer. You’ll get exercise, help others and, in some case, even erase student loans.
14. Use The Library
Rather than spend a lot of money on books you may only use a short time, like study guides, make use of your campus and the local library. If they don’t have a book you’re looking for, they can always order it. Besides borrowing books, you can get subscriptions to language learning resources, newspapers, and research databases with just a library card.
15. Open A Savings Account
Are you expecting hefty refunds? Store them away in an interest-bearing savings account and watch your money grow over the years.
16. Budget, Budget, Budget
Use online tools like a student budget calculator to budget your money. Download an app and link it to your bank account to track everything that comes in and goes out. It’ll be easier for you to save when you’re seeing where your money is going.
17. Get A Job
If you can, get an on-campus job. You may get some free services in exchange for your employment. One example is becoming a resident advisor and getting a free room. There’s a huge chunk off of your college bill right there.