5 Ways to Save Money as a College Student
As a college student, you most likely have a limited income that is paired with many expenses. There are many ways to limit these expenses, even the ones that are necessary such as eating and textbooks.
- Used textbooks. One way to heavily cut the cost of textbooks is to buy or rent used textbooks. Website such as Chegg, Campus Book Rentals, and eBay, offer textbooks at a fairly cheap price. In addition, you should sell back any textbooks that you own. On a different note, many professors reserve the textbook for the class at the library. While you may not be able to check the book out, you will still be able to use it at no cost inside the library.
- Grocery shopping. It is so easy to go over your budget (if you have a budget!) while shopping for groceries. Two simple tricks will help eliminate unnecessary spending on food. The first is do not grocery shop when you are hungry. You WILL spend extra money because anything that looks good in the moment will find its way to your cart. The second is to sign up for the grocery store’s reward card. Whether Stop & Shop, Big Y, ShopRite, etc., many sales and coupons are only available to people who have their store card. The best part? They do not cost any money!
- Campus activities. Many campuses offer the students various activities to do during the week and on the weekend. Instead of spending money going out, check out your campus’s plans! There may be paint nights, movie nights, trivia and pizza nights, ice cream socials, or trips to the beach, amusement park, aquarium, etc. These are usually offered at a heavily discounted price, and most activities are free. By hanging out on campus instead of going out, the extra money you may spend on an Uber and food gets to stay in your bank account!
- Utilize your student ID. Many places offer discounts to those who can prove they are a student by flashing their student ID. When you’re out, it never hurts to ask if the place you are at offers a student discount! For example, many movie theaters offer tickets to students at a reduced price, and clothing stores and restaurants often offer discounts as well. By not asking for the discount, you are just throwing away money.
- Forgo a car. While having a car on campus may be extremely convenient, there are many additional expenses a person with a car incurs than they would without a car. The first expense is you might have to pay for parking at school (commuters at my school received free parking but those who lived on campus have to pay to keep their car on campus), and often the parking is at least a 5 minute walk to your dorm. Additionally, you have to pay for gas as you cannot drive a car (unless you have a smart car) without gasoline! (Side note: if you MUST have a car on campus, check out these tips to save money by maximizing your fuel economy). There are many other options you have instead of keeping your car on campus, including walking or biking, Zipcar, public transportation, and transportation provided by your school.
The possibilities to limiting your spending while at school are endless, but these five are simple, effective, and require very little effort.
~Sarah Proto, VP of Unbanking