You don’t have to be broke because you’re in college. You just have to be smart with your money. Here’s how to cut your spending and save more in college.
When you think about college, you think about money.
We’re not here to talk about how much money you’ll be spending. It’s time to talk about how you can cut down on spending and actually save money while you’re in college.
Sounds crazy, right?
It’s totally possible!
You’re going to learn seven proven secrets to manage your expenses and save more money than you thought possible. You could have a small fortune by the time you graduate.
1. Figure Out a Budget
A good budget is the foundation that you’re going to build on here. It’s going to give you a solid approach to saving money in college.
The more you know, the better you’ll be able to cut down your spending.
Take some time to sit down and figure out all the things you need to pay for. Things like food and gas are sometimes necessities that can’t be avoided.
Do you have a cell phone bill? Do you use a credit card that needs to be paid down? Do you rent your textbooks?
Those sorts of recurring payments are important to include so you know how much you absolutely must spend every month.
And then there are the optional expenses.
Make sure to factor in some money for leisure. You may save money by cutting out these things, but you might also cut out some of your joy. We don’t want that.
If you give yourself a small allowance for having fun, you are far less likely to feel guilty about spending that money. At least you know it’s accounted for.
Once your budget is in place, stick to it!
Of course, there may be times you have to stray from your budget. Emergencies happen.
But, it’s crucial to remain as true to it as possible. If you start deviating every single month, your foundation gets crumbly and things start to fall apart.
A good budget is going to really help you save more.
2. Don’t Buy Brand New Textbooks
Textbooks can carry a significant price tag if you buy them new.
Instead, consider buying used textbooks or renting them for the time that you need them. Finding cheap textbooks doesn’t have to be difficult when you know where to look.
You may also be able to find students who have the books you need and will let you borrow them for a semester.
Talk to your friends who have taken the same classes. Join student communities on campus or online and reach out to people to see if they will let you borrow their old books. At the very least, you may be able to get a good price.
Once you finish your classes and no longer need your textbooks, you can sell them to get some of your money back (just make sure to keep them in good shape).
If you’re smart about how you buy them, you can save hundreds of dollars on textbooks.
3. Use Campus Resources
Why spend your money doing something that you could otherwise do for free?
Most campuses have free resources for students. From fitness centers to movie nights, colleges offer all kinds of freebies.
Every student should take advantage of campus resources.
Use the campus gym to get your workout in. Instead of buying the books on your must-read list, borrow them from the school library.
Keep your eyes peeled for flyers around campus and check the school’s calendar for upcoming events. Most colleges host sporting events, concerts, lectures, and other fun things that their students can attend for free.
You’ll be surprised how many fun things are happening right outside your dorm.
It’s much easier to save money if you can have fun without spending it!
4. Utilize Your Student Discount
One of the best perks of being in college is the massive amount of student discounts out there.
Most places have a student discount that people don’t even know about it.
You can get discounts from restaurants, movie theaters, and retail stores. You usually only have to show your student ID to qualify.
College students are also eligible for student-only bank accounts and credit cards.
Software companies will sometimes even offer discounts on the software you need for your classes. Before you buy any applications, go through the education store on the company’s website to see if you can get a deal.
College students can even get a break on Amazon Prime.
It’s worth it to ask everywhere you go, especially if you eat out or shop at the same places all the time. Even a small discount for each purchase can save you a few bucks (and you can put that money in your bank account).
5. Get a Job on Campus
If you’re looking to earn some extra money to pad your savings, consider getting a job on campus.
Not only does it eliminate the commute (assuming you live in a dorm), but you can sometimes earn discounts for your work along the way.
Working as an RA, for example, you could be compensated with free room and board. Cafeteria workers may receive discounted or even free meals.
Another good way to save money on college expenses is through work-study. These programs allow you to work on-campus in exchange for a discount on tuition or other fees.
While a job won’t necessarily help you cut costs, it will put more money into your bank account. And if you’re working, you’ll have less time to spend your money on other things!
6. Don’t Bring Your Car
Cars are handy, but car ownership is expensive.
You have to pay for gas, insurance, maintenance, parking, and tickets.
Consider leaving your car at home and using other means of transportation at school.
A lot of schools will help students out with public transportation. You may be surprised to find that the cost of transport around town is covered in your tuition. Taking the bus could really save you a lot of money and frustration.
If public transportation isn’t your thing, you could bike or walk where you need to go.
The luxury of having your own car undermines your savings goals. Leaving it behind is undoubtedly the best thing for your wallet.
7. Apply for Financial Aid Every Year
Financial aid is perhaps the best way for college students to cut costs.
Filling out a FAFSA every year is essential for saving money on tuition. Without financial aid, you’ll either have to take out a loan or pay for it out of pocket.
Grants can cover part of your tuition, and they don’t have to be paid back like loans. See if you qualify for any scholarships that could significantly reduce the cost of your tuition.
It’s important to file for financial aid every year because your status could change. Just because you don’t qualify this year doesn’t mean you won’t next year. So, always keep your FAFSA apps up to date.
Saving money in college is essential. Even if it’s a little at a time, those dollars and cents will add up in the end. By the time you graduate, you could have a decent chunk of change in your bank account.
It all starts with that budget to let you know how much you’re spending in your daily life. Then, you can tweak your spending habits and start saving.
That’s the goal!
Karen Lein is the General Manager of Grove at San Marcos. She is a Fresno State alumna and enjoys traveling and watching football. #GoDogs!
Readers Might Also Like: