6 Creative Ways College Students Can Save MoneyFebruary 17, 2021
Last Updated on May 23, 2023
When you’re in college, you’re responsible for lots of expenses. From textbooks to tuition, not to mention your living expenses, school can become very expensive very quickly. So what can college students do to save money? We’ll be exploring a few ideas in today’s blog.
Take Advantage of College Student Discounts
Many retailers, restaurants and service providers offer college student discounts. If you’re aiming to save money in college, it’s a smart move to take advantage on discounts, especially on things you use regularly.
The next time you go shopping, be sure to research stores that offer discounts for college students. In some cases, you may even be able to shop during the off-season when things are on sale to compound your savings!
As a college student, you could even save money on necessities like insurance or your cell phone plan. Some companies offer a percentage off for good grades, and others will offer a discount if you have a dot-edu email address.
Live With Roommates, or at Home
For many people, part of the college experience is living with roommates. Not only is it a great way to make friends, but it can also lower your living expenses significantly.
If you aren’t interested in roommates and live near your college or university, living at home can be another great way for college students to save money. In fact, about 54% of all college students live at home, many because of the savings.
Cook at Home
According to Money Under 30, eating at restaurants costs about three times as much as cooking meals at home. Instead of heading to a drive-thru, grab a granola bar before you walk out the door, and pack a simple lunch to save several dollars each week.
Buy Used Textbooks
One major expense many college students face is buying textbooks. During the 2019-2020 academic year alone, undergraduate students spent an average of $1,240 on textbooks and supplies. If you’re shouldering that cost every semester, you could quickly be looking at several thousand dollars in textbook expenses.
Fortunately, many retailers offer used textbooks, which may help you save money over the course of college. Large-scale used textbook retailers like Chegg even say that they save students as much as 90% on textbook costs.
Pay Attention to the Details
It’s easy to focus only on ways college students can save money on major expenditures like housing, food and textbooks. In reality, though, you can also save a significant amount by making a few small changes. Here are a few small changes that could have a big impact on your savings:
- Eliminate disposables: Use reusable water bottles, dishes, kitchen towels and more. While they may be more expensive to purchase initially, you’ll save money over time because they won’t need to be replaced nearly as often.
- Take your coffee or water to-go: Buying coffee, sodas and water bottles can quickly become expensive. When you’re getting ready in the morning, simply fill a reusable bottle before walking out the door. You’ll be amazed at how quickly the savings add up!
- Use Campus Amenities: Often, college tuition includes several amenities that college students may not realize. From the on-campus gym to tutoring services, explore the services your tuition includes before paying for them elsewhere.
- Choose a Bank Account Designed for Students: Many bank accounts offer perks for college students, for example, no monthly fees and cashback rewards. Plus, with a bank account, you can enjoy peace of mind knowing that your money is being saved safely and securely.
Stick to Your Budget
If you’d like to increase your savings but aren’t sure how, start by writing a monthly budget. List all your necessity expenses, like rent, food and utilities, then subtract that amount from your monthly income. Any money left over is yours to save or spend as you choose!
One great way to plug “leaks” in your spending is to use a mobile app to track your expenses. You may even be able to do this directly through your bank if they offer a mobile app that tracks spending. Alternatively, you can download a free personal finance app to help you stay on budget.
If you’re focused on paying college student expenses, it’s important to save money where you can. By paying attention to discounts, choosing a budget-friendly lifestyle and making a few small changes, you can improve your savings and work toward a healthy financial future.