College may be one of the best times of your life, but it doesn’t also have to be the most expensive. In fact, there are many ways you can save money in college, still enjoy the experience, and make the most of your education, too. Here are 15 steadfast ways to help you save money in college:
Sure, it’d be nice to cruise around campus in a car, but biking will save you money on gas or bus fair. Plus, you’ll get a workout as you ride around, too. This is especially helpful for students who live off campus, or for those who live on campus and would like an alternative to walking.
Make the most of last’s week party leftovers, such as empty cans and bottles. Recycle them and earn some extra cash from any store that will accept them. Plus, you’ll feel great for being green.
3. Brew your Own Coffee:
Put down the Starbucks. Can you really afford a $4 cup of coffee? Instead, make coffee at home everyday, and watch the savings add up. Also, you can purchase coffee in bulk, reducing your spending, as well as go to class with your coffee in a travel mug, which is better for the environment than plastic cups.
4. Have People Over:
Invite your friends over for potluck chili or pizza, where everyone has to bring over one ingredient. This is an affordable way to have a night in with friends and enjoy a delicious, inexpensive home-cooked meal.
5. Go thrift Store Shopping:
Every college town has a wealth of thrift stores to explore. Explore garage sales, estate sales, pawnshops, and consignment stores, too, and you’re sure to find clothing, accessories, music, or electronic items that are perfect for you.
6. Rent Textbooks:
If you have the option, rent your textbooks from the college bookstore. If this isn’t an option, buy used textbooks and resell them back to your school after your semester is over. Remember to do so before the resell deadline ends so you aren’t stuck with unwanted bulky books.
7. Be Creative:
Just because you have some downtime, doesn’t mean you need to spend money, but you should be creative with how to fun. Go hiking, read a book, work on an art project, pack a picnic, go to the park, take a trip to the beach, or do any activity that won’t diminish your bank account.
8. Open a Checking Account:
Consider visiting a bank and opening a free checking account to help you monitor your money online. This will also ensure you can easily access your funds. Be smart about selecting the bank that is right for you, though, and compare options through local branches.
9. Be Frugal:
Be cash conscious across the board, including when you are apartment hunting, selecting a cell phone plan, and choosing your meal plan. If you can live with roommates, do so, and be sure to think about how much money utilities will cost you every month.
Get a part-time job on campus or at a local restaurant or retail store. This will give you some extra money so you can have some fun while still in school.
11. Apply for Scholarships:
Help pay for your college education and consider what scholarships, grants, and funds may be available for you. These financial awards also look great on your academic record.
12. Cut Coupons:
This isn’t just for your mother’s generation. You, too, should cut coupons. In fact, you may be surprised at how much you can actually save by doing so. Look for coupon books, value packs, and offers included on your receipts next time you visit your local grocery store.
13. Avoid Late Fees:
It’s silly to pay for nothing, so be organized and pay all your bills on time. Late fees can add up quickly and hurt your credit score. They can also add stress and diminish your cash.
14. Make a Budget:
Sound easy enough, but this is a highly underutilized way to keep track of your money. And it’s so easy to overspend. A new shirt here, a book there, and dinner out with your friends can add up before you realize it. Start an Excel spreadsheet and keep track of all your expenses. Over time, you’ll develop an intuitive sense about what you can and can’t afford.
15. Cook your Meals:
A box of pasta and a jar of sauce can go a long way, especially when you consider how much a plate of pasta would cost you at a restaurant. For this reason, you should eat at home at least a few times week. Your wallet will thank you.
Tiffany Sumner is a freelance writer for eLearners, where she writes articles on a wide range of topics. In her spare time she reads, writes fiction, and watches way too many cat videos online. You can follow her on Google+.