It’s far from a secret that college is expensive and the shock of paying all of your own living expenses can be overwhelming. But it’s important to learn how to save money in case of emergencies and unforeseen expenses. So that’s what we are going to talk about today. The 11 tips for saving money in college!
Why is it important to save money in college?
- It is necessary to save up for emergencies and expenses that you haven’t planned for- like your laptop breaking.
- The sooner you learn to save money the better and you develop most of your habits when you are young so develop those positive money habits now.
- Learning to save money is correlated with budgeting which is a very important part of learning to have financial success.
- No one wants to feel like a truly “broke college kid” and saving money when possible is the best way to avoid that.
Keep reading to learn how to save money in college so you can avoid being a broke college kid! I wish I had known these money tips before I started college but hopefully you read these tips in time!
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11 Tips For Saving Money In College
1: Rent your textbooks.
The first major tip for spending less money in college is try and avoid buying books whenever possible and rent instead. In college I rented majority of my textbooks from Amazon and they make it super easy.
If you can’t rent a book try to at least buy it used online but not from your schools bookstore because they probably overcharge.
2: Make your coffee at home to really save money.
This is actually a super helpful tip for saving money in college!
Coffee was how I survived college (don’t recommend that but I know a lot of others feel this way too!) but getting a drink or two at Starbucks or a local coffee shop adds up quickly.
Investing in a Keurig or a Nespresso (my personal favorite) is so worth it. You will save $5-$10 a day which is $1,825-$3,650 a year! That is so much money that is so easy to save in college just by making your coffee at home.
3: Use your student email for discounts.
There are SO MANY discounts available online for students. Some of my favorite places that offer a discount for students online are:
- Amazon Prime (highly recommend getting this one!).
- Microsoft- super helpful if your school doesn’t give you Microsoft access.
- Apple- they give a 20% student discount on Apple Care and lots of discounts on actual products.
- Spotify- they offer 50% off their premium account for students.
Plus most clothing stores and restaurants will offer at least 10% off with a student email or a student ID.
4: Avoid credit card debt at all costs.
It may seem like a good idea at the moment but you need to avoid credit card debt at all costs.
I am not saying to avoid credit cards which isn’t the advice you will get from everyone. I successfully had a Discover student card and paid off the balance every 2 weeks. I treated the card like it was a debit card and only spent what I could immediately pay off but I got cash back rewards and built up credit!
But if you know you don’t have the self control for that then don’t get a credit card! If you do think you can handle it make sure you never let yourself spend beyond your means. You will end up spending so much in interest paying off the debt it’s never worth it!
5: Meal plan, prep, and make grocery lists.
Food costs can add up super quickly. So to save money in college make sure to do the main 3 things: meal plan, meal prep, and make grocery lists.
By planning out your meals every week (here are some tips for this) you don’t waste as much money on impulse food. By meal prepping you can buy groceries in bulk for one person and it saves a lot of time. And by using a grocery list you can make sure you don’t miss anything important and don’t buy food you won’t use.
6: Be smart about your living situation.
For my college it was much more affordable to live off campus as soon as possible.
When you lived in dorms you had to have a campus meal plan which made it more expensive by a lot then living off campus but do the math yourself and figure out at your college which is more affordable.
Don’t forge to account for utilities that you have to pay for off campus but not if you live in a dorm! For some schools between utilities, parking costs, and internet fees it can be more expensive to live off campus.
7: Use the free campus amenities.
Do not pay for a gym membership if your college offers free on campus gyms!
Check to see what your campus amenities are to make sure you aren’t paying for things unnecessarily. For me we had access to print 100 pages a semester that I didn’t know about until Junior year. I could have saved a lot on paper and ink!
8: Don’t get a pet in college to save money.
Guys, I am the world’s most obsessed dog mom.
But I used all the self control I have and didn’t get my pup until after college (actually over a year after college when I knew I was financially stable enough).
Pets are amazing but they are so expensive! Not only is adopting a pet expensive but their food, vet bills, toys, boarding fees, etc add up so fast. We spend thousands on our dog each year. So don’t add those expenses onto your plate while your in school!
9: Bring your own snacks to campus.
If you live off campus and don’t have a meal plan then it’s almost certainly in your best interest to bring your own snacks and drinks to campus.
On campus food and drinks are so much more expensive. At my school a bottle of pop was $3.50 that I could buy for less than a dollar in bulk! So bring your own snacks and drinks to campus to save money in college.
Bonus if you pack meals too, that will really help you avoid being broke in college.
10: Learn to budget asap to avoid being broke.
This seems like an obvious tip but honestly it is so often looked past by college students.
Thankfully there are so many free apps that will help you make a budget and stick to it! It seems boring but it is so important to make your own budget and stick to it right away.
11: Continue to apply for scholarships to help pay for college.
A lot of people don’t realize that you can actually keep applying for scholarships while you are actually in college.
There are lots of scholarships that are only for students of each college year, especially lots for graduating seniors!
I recommend getting specific with your scholarship search- search on Google for scholarships related to your major and your interests. You are more likely to win a scholarship when applying to smaller, more niche scholarships.
As you can see, learning to save money in college is manageable but it is something important that you need to but the time and effort into. It is totally possible to avoid being broke in college if you follow most of these money saving tips for college students!
Loved these tips? Then check out some of my other favorite college tips posts:
- 7 Tips For Using A College Planner
- 21 College Care Package Ideas
- 10 Secrets For Succeeding In College
- 15 Tips For An Amazing Essay in College
- How to Prepare for College Graduation
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