With students piling up loan debt and paying rent along with any other bills, it's very important to save money any way possible. There are many ways you can make exciting changes in life to keep your pockets full. Spending and saving money wisely is possible no matter who you are. Read our 101 Tips on Saving as a College Student and save more whenever it’s possible…
Managing your little money:
Saving money involves you managing it. With the little you get you need to try as much as possible to always save from it. Check out some tips below:
- You need to get a free checking and savings account. Try to look for a student friendly bank to help you with this and make sure you can access online banking, pay bills and manage your account without any or little attached fees.
- Try to monitor your bank account always, failure to do this can easily cost you money via overdraft fees etc.
- Take the free checks that the bank offers in the maximum amount they allow
- If you need a credit card, make sure you get one with the lowest interest rate possible; no annual fees and with only enough of a credit limit to get you by in an emergency.
- Do not carry your credit card with you always if you have one, but instead keep it in a safe place known only to you.
- Make sure to pay credit card bills on time. Almost all credit card companies charges late delivery fees which cost more.
- Try to take a monthly expense review of all you spent and see where you spend more and you can plan for coming months.
- Save spare change you’ve got jangling in your pocket or you found when trying to prepare for laundry.
- Make sure to shop where you would be given cashback rewards cards or gift cards.
- Switch bank accounts when you are being charged unnecessary or getting almost Zero interest from your initial savings.
- Negotiate new rates on your credit cards.
TIPS FOR SAVING MONEY ON FOOD
- Use Coupon Apps like Ibotta, Checkout 51, there are some many others.
- Make meal plans, you can have a timetable for what to eat for Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner. With this you save yourself from thinking of Pizza, etc.
- Make a grocery list and stick to it.
- Cherry pick grocery deals
- Buy generic stuffs.
- Pay attention to unit costs i.e. you can buy 3 cans of soup that sells 3 for $5 rather than one that sells $1.50 each.
- Always buy in bulk, packs and measure usage periods.
- Pay attention to expiration dates when buying, you might not be the complaining time and might just want to overlook stuff because it cost just few bucks.
- Speed up your grocery shopping. Always have a list and don’t get tempted to other items.
- Sign up for the free loyalty cards, you can download app like Key Ring to save your loyalty cards.
- When going to the Grocery store, bring your own grocery bags. You can save yourself some Cents (¢).
- Have a bi-monthly clean out the pantries, freezers and fridges week. We might end up throwing some food out later because we’ve forgotten about it.
- Brown bag your lunch. It’s easy to make a little extra food at dinner, and package up the leftovers for your next day’s lunch.
- Learn to use up leftovers. When you are doing your meal planning, add some of the great fridge-clearing recipes for making sure you use up everything.
- Plan for nights you might not feel like cooking. These times would always come up so better have something to feel for rather than going to KFC or Pizza shop to fill in.
- Get a slow cooker. Crock pots appliances are cheap sales between $10 - $15. You can put in ingredients for dinner together in the morning before leaving for work, set to simmer and come home to your dinner.
- Become a vegetarian.
- Drink water. With this you stay away from drinking calories in form of soda or juice.
- Eat in season and locally. This is important, some items are not always available year-round which makes them more expensive when scarce. So, you might want to stay away.
- Dine out intelligently, because you are trying to save cost as a college student doesn’t mean you shouldn’t go eateries, when you do, order for appetizers etc.
- Eat less.
Saving on transportation:
As a college student you might have a car and we giving you tips on how to save on this as well:
- Maintain your car.
- Improve your gas mileage
- Shop online for gas, have you ever noticed that gas stations within a few blocks of each other can have 10¢-20¢ differences in price? Rather than just stop for gas at whatever station’s convenient, use websites like gasbuddy.com to find the cheapest fuel around.
- Don’t wait until you’re running on fumes to gas up
- Car pool. Sharing a ride can not only break up the tedium of your commute, but it can also help to cut your gas costs in half. You can find a fellow commuter through sites like www.erideshare.com and www.carpoolconnect.com
- Make use of Public transportation.
- Shop around, search online as well for the best auto insurance rates.
- The same actually goes for life insurance.
- If your car is worth less than $2000, drop collision and comprehensive coverage
- Increase your deductibles. Raising your deductible from $250 to $1000 can save you as much as 15% on your premiums.
Saving on Books
It’s always a must to buy books as a college student. We would be sharing tips that would save you some money on textbooks:
- Borrow if it’s possible, don’t rush into buying new textbooks.
- If borrowing isn’t an option check online especially on Amazon.com, ebay.com to for used hardcover books, they are cheap on there.
- Sell your used textbooks online and make some cash for yourself, at the same time you will help some other students like you save their money.
- You can as well sell them back to the campus bookstore, but expect to take a big hit on the value if you sell them back to the book store.
Saving on Alcohols
It's no news any longer that college students spend around $5.5 billion on alcohol yearly. We would be giving you few tips on how save from this.
- Don't drink, this might sound weird but if really you want to save as a college student you have to stay away from it.
- If you want to drink buy the cheaper beer e.g Pabst Blue Ribbon and Old English 40 oz. 😉
- Always buy in bulk. There are cheap Vodkas that might cost about the same as a drink or two at a bar.
- Drink where the specials are or occasionally. Some college bars and dance clubs have pitcher specials, 1-dollar drink specials, no cover charge, or other specials for people going out early or going out on slower nights.
- As a college student don't bring much money with you to the bar.
- Yeah most importantly, hit other people’s parties and get free drinks.
- Join a beer brewers club or get a group of dorm mates to brew beer.
- When outdoor, try as much as possible to avoid alcoholic beverages.
Saving when buying a PC:
As a college student you need a PC to get things like your assignments and do some little research online and watch some movies. Follow our tips to shop wisely while buying your PC:
- Watch out for great deals from online stores.
- Dell Computer offers student discounts directly through a participating college or university. Make inquiries from your school to know if the offer is available.
- Hewlett Packard’s(HP) Academic Purchase Program is available to eligible students and teachers. You must sign up. Word has it that you can save around 15% on the purchase of an HP computer.
- While you’re in college don’t take risks with your electronic equipment. Laptops and other trendy little electronics can be made off with quickly in a dorm environment.
- Operating Systems is another high-cost item. Using Windows OS will keep you away from the higher-priced Apple operating systems alternatives.
- Go after Freeware and shareware, they are great way to get your hands-on games, utilities, spyware removal, anti-virus and firewall programs.
- Anti-virus and firewall protection will keep your computer in top working order and it will last much longer. So, make sure to have them installed.
- When shopping for software avoid retail electronics departments. Instead seek out some good freeware and shareware products.
- Just in case you want to get computer printer, it is a cost when the ink cartridges run dry. Cartridges at an office supply store can cost you top dollar. Leave with a black cartridge and a color cartridge and you will likely have spent $40 or more.
- Try shopping for printer cartridges online, compare prices and find free shipping. You may be able to get your ink cartridge refilled economically from a local ink refilling store around you, colleges do have these stores around.
- Watch cable television through your PC. Make sure your PC has a DVD/CD player and you can also watch your favorite movies.
- You can as well download movies online using torrent applications like uTorrent, Bitword etc.
- For music, visit websites like Pandora, Spotify and create custom music channels based on a song or artist of your choice.
- Look for free movies on campus; chances are you will find classics, independents, student films, noir and experimental.
- Rent DVDs as a group. Pass the disk along before its due date.
- You can subscribe to Netflix to watch your favorite season movies.
- Saving money on music opens a virtual Pandora’s box of methodology. If you decide to use a file sharing network program, make sure you do your research on the software program to make sure it doesn't contain any spyware or other inconvenient additions.
- Visit online directories for free music downloads.
- If you love CDs, buy used CDs at the local music shop. Turn in your old CDs for credit and you may never have to exchange real money!
- Start a book club. Read for entertainment, then get a group together to discuss it and enjoy each other’s company. Any interest would work for group involvement: stamp collecting, scrap-booking, weight training, running, cooking, and chess.
- Offer your services as a tutor if you can. Anytime you have the opportunity to help others in less time you have worrying about what you don’t have or think you need. The sooner you find out that you can survive nicely on very little, the better off you will be; or should we say, the richer you’ll be.
- Avoid spending money these kinds of weekends. When you have to do activities that includes a picnic, a long walk, flying a kite, a pickup game of soccer or football, an impromptu poker game (not played for money), or reading a good book.
- Volunteer in a soup kitchen or help build homes with Habitat for Humanity. Community service activities like this will not only help you fill free time wisely, but you’ll come away with a real appreciation for those who have no money.
- Always pick up a local newspaper and check upcoming events for freebies: concerts, arts and crafts fairs, theater, festivals, art galleries, and museums.
- Opt instead one Saturday evening a month to stay in and do something alone and for yourself. Enjoy a bath and a good book. Like Fast and Furious, Series movies?
- Play on the web! The web is a virtually limitless land which will allow you to deeply explore any topic of interest, and participate in communities discussing those topics. You can also play games like Zuma.
Off-Campus Apartment Living
Living off-campus can either be a choice or it's just is a necessity. Here are a few tips to help you stay in budget living off-campus.
- Get a studio apartment or split rent with roommates.
- Rent a place that will have all appliances provided. Bringing in your own or having to buy is a hassle.
- Beg your parents to get you all your necessities. The more they buy the less you have to spend.
- Don’t spend a lot on décor and accessories. There are plenty of resources for creative decorating that won’t put you in the poor house.
- Try to pay utility bills before they are due. Avoid late fees.
- Save money on bills by keeping the A/C or heat turned down or off if possible.
- Turn off lights, use the oven sparingly and take shorter showers. Electricity costs money. If you find an apartment where utilities may run on natural gas (stove, hot water heater) it’s generally more cost-efficient.
- Living on an upper floor will typically keep you warmer in the winter, but it’ll get hotter in the summer.
- If winters are cold and heat bills are high you can insulate your windows with plastic.
Make some money for your upkeep.
Not necessarily a part-time job, but there are several ways to make an extra buck or two while you’re in college. See few tips below:
- Sign up into online freelancing websites like Fiverr, Upwork etc.
- You can give some of yourself by donating blood plasma, you can net extra couple hundred dollars a month. But, be careful if you try combining this with alcohol. 😉
- Volunteer for a medical study. Most do not require much time and you get paid!
- Sell your expertise in a subject as a tutor, computer skills, music lessons.
- Get a job in the food service industry. Chances are high that you can eat for free!
- You can create a blog about your favorite topics and earn through google AdSense.
- Be your campus computer tech. Troubleshoot computer issues in exchange for a few bucks or a beer. Make yourself available in a pinch.
- Solicit grad students for help with their dissertation research, proofreading, editing or document typing and formatting.
- Don't forget to work extra and save up during the summer to make the school year more comfortable.
- Offer a resume writing service. This can make you quite a bit of extra pocket money. But put it in savings.
I hope this list I gathered would help you save more for future expenses and if you any suggestion for us, feel free to comment below!
Thanks for reading and best of luck!