Being in college is such a season of life where you get to learn, explore, and experience new things. While attending there are plenty of money saving tips for college students to take advantage of. It’s still not worth thousands or even hundreds of thousands of dollars in student loan debt.
I’ve seen first-hand how student loan debt can cripple many graduates causing them to slow down their lives in so many areas or spend several uncomfortable years living with their parents.
I recently took my sister to our local community college to find her classes and I felt this sudden urge to spill all my money saving tips for college to help her. The truth is, college students need to be frugal and manage their money wisely. To spread the wisdom, I want to share my best frugality advice and money-saving tips for college students.
This is advice I’d share with my own family members to help them get through college without being broke and accumulating a ton of debt.
Choose a Low-Cost Living Situation
Housing can be a major expense for college students and it’s one you simply can’t afford to splurge on. Don’t spend your college years living in a luxury apartment or condo especially if it’s not realistic for your budget.
I understand that freshmen are required by most universities to live in a dorm for the first year of college but you also have the option to live at home and attend community college for the first year. This probably doesn’t sound as fun but you’ll be jumping for joy once you see how much money you’ve saved.
If you’re going to a school that’s far away from home, rent an apartment off-campus and consider getting roommates. If you don’t want roommates, try to find a studio apartment for cheap to keep costs low.
This goes for university students because if the campus is very accessible, you can just walk or take public transit. My university had a local bus line that was free for students to ride. I saved money by using it because it got me to class along with local stores and shops while I didn’t have to pay a dime.
If you take your car to college with you, you’ll have to pay for gas, insurance, along with maintenance and repairs.
In addition to public transit, you may even be able to rent a bike to use for the semester.
Used Books For the Win
Unless your college class requires you to have a workbook version of the textbook, there’s really no reason to buy it new. Save money by buying a used textbook or renting instead.
One thing I always did was email my professor before the class started to see if we really needed the textbook. I majored in journalism and so many of my teachers didn’t even use the book to teach so buying it would have been a waste.
Utilize Discounts For Dining Out
Local restaurants may partner with colleges to give students discounts on food. Use this to your advantage and search for deals on sites like Groupon. Sometimes, you can even buy those local coupon books for $5 – $10 that allows you to get discounts on meals and other items in the area.
Look for happy hour deals, half-off appetizer specials are other easy ways to save. Some restaurants like Chilis have 2 for $20 deals which means you and a friend can share an appetizer, get a separate entre and order a dessert all for just $20.
Prioritize Cooking at Home
Learning to cook in college will save you a ton of money. You can prepare easy recipes so you can eat at home and pack your lunch most days. This limits dining out to only an occasional outing.
Get a $20 coffee maker from Walmart so you can make your own coffee in the morning before you head to class. Also, consider investing a crockpot or Instant Pot so you can prepare meals in bulk and without spending a ton of time in the kitchen.
Shop at the Thrift Store
You can find a ton of great deals at thrift stores or by using buy and sell sites like Offer Up or Craigslist. See what you can find used first before you go to the store and buy it new.
Sometimes, stores like Goodwill even have sales that lower their already discounted prices. You can stock up on clothes and stuff for your home this way.
Find Free Ways to Entertain Yourself
You don’t have to spend a lot of money in college to have fun. This even applies to life after college. See what free events are going on around campus. Clubs and organizations always seem to have something going on whether it’s an event, contest, or show.
Also, check to see what’s going on locally as you may be able to find some cheap or free festivals and other experiences. Students usually get free admission to college games as well whether it’s a football game or a basketball game.
Take Advantage of All the Freebies on Campus
Familiarize yourself with all the free services your campus offers students. You’re likely paying for them anyway with your tuition and fees so you might as well utilize the services.
Most universities offer a free gym membership to the on-campus fitness center, free resume-writing and reviewing services, bike rentals, discounted childcare and more.
My university even offered free counseling, legal advice, and nutritional consulting services which were great.
Your college years can be amazing without you overspending and getting deep into debt. Don’t be one of those students who live on student loan money and spends as if your repayment period won’t ever come.
You will make your life after college much more enjoyable if you utilize these money saving tips for college students.