How to save money in college 2022
Are you thinking about how to save money for college in 2022? Saving money in college may seem impossible, but it is very achievable! Most college students are learning how to budget and manage money for the first time.
You may not be aware of all the methods for extending the life of your money. That is the purpose of this list.
Here are some of the best money management and saving tips for college students. All of them are based on personal experience.
Table of Contents
How Do You Save Money in College?
Realistic guide on how to save money in college:
1. Get a job
Before you can save money, you need to have some in the first place, so this one is a fairly obvious way to “save” money in college.
It always helps to have some cash coming in. That’s just one reason why having a job while in school can help.
Look for a job either on-campus or off-campus. On-campus jobs are particularly appealing because they’re easy to get to and can be a great way to meet other students.
Plus, most on-campus managers are willing to work around your class schedule because they recognize that your degree is a top priority.
Working in college is also a great way to stock your résumé with skills and experience that could be invaluable down the road. However, on-campus jobs can be limited, so start your search early.
Regardless of whether or not you work in college, it’s smart to work during your school breaks, particularly over the summer.
2. Avoid new textbooks
When searching for ways to save money in college, it makes sense to first look at some of your biggest costs. New textbooks can be quite expensive, so look into buying them used or renting them.
Used and rented textbooks are often in great shape and sometimes come with notes and important text highlighted.
Asking students who’ve completed the class to sell or loan you their books is also a great way to save money as a student. Just make sure the required textbook didn’t change.
Once you’re done with your textbooks, sell them! While the return on investment isn’t great, an extra hundred dollars at the end of a semester can mean a lot to a struggling college student.
3. Budget weekend spending
Set a spending cap for weekend activities and think of creative ways to spend less. Just don’t go too far to save money. One of the best parts of college is socializing with new people, so don’t stay locked up in your dorm to save a few bucks!
This is where a job can really come in handy. Even if your income is minimal and only covers weekend spending, that’s still a huge win to keep your bank account afloat during the semester.
4. Eat on campus
Another tried and true way to save money in college is to take full advantage of your meal plan. There’s no sense in regularly spending money dining out when you have access to prepaid meals on campus.
If the dining hall food isn’t great, limit your dining-out dollars by making home-cooked meals instead. You could even make it an event where you and your friends cook a group meal together and divvy up expenses.
Look for recipes online and rotate who hosts the event. Not only is this an effective way to save money as a student, but you’ll learn new culinary skills.
Saving money in college by cooking at home.
Try your hand at cooking! Not only will it cut costs, but it’s a valuable skill to have.
5. Ditch the car
Not all colleges let students keep cars on campus. Even if yours does, think twice before bringing your ride.
It can be very expensive there’s car insurance, gas money, maintenance and repairs, and purchasing parking passes for every semester. All those expenses add up to a ton of money.
Instead, save money and help the environment by using public transportation or riding a bike. And if you really need a ride somewhere, take a cab or use a ride-sharing service, like Uber or Lyft.
6. Monitor your spending
Tracking spending will help you maintain a steady budget. Apps like Mint or Mvelopes can be super useful tools for college students.
They connect to your bank account and credit cards so you can track all spending, set savings goals, and even get alerts when you’ve spent too much.
7. Become an RA
Housing is a major cost of attending college. You can mitigate this expense and save money as a student by becoming a resident advisor (RA).
You’ll have to work some nights and handle other administrative tasks, but plenty of students see this as a fair tradeoff to eliminate the cost of housing.
8. Be wary of impulse purchases
We’ve all been there before. A flash sale pops up and before we know it, we’re buying things we don’t need because, I mean, discounts!
But what we don’t consider is that while we scored some savings, we also spent money that we had no plans to spend in the first place.
Do your best to keep yourself in check when these flash sales arrive. You’d be surprised how big a difference this can make when saving money as a student.
9. Think before buying every school supply imaginable
You’ve been school supply shopping for so long that you’ve practically got it down to a routine — pencils, pens, notebooks, printer paper, folders. The list could go on and on.
But do you really need all of those things?
If, for instance, you take all your notes on your laptop, what good is it to have five notebooks or an endless supply of pencils?
That’s why it’s important to be mindful when shopping for school supplies. Ask yourself if you really need this item before throwing it in your real or digital shopping cart.
10. Make your own coffee
OK, we admit that this one is a bit of an eye-roller, but seriously, think about it. Brewing your own coffee will eliminate the need to spend $3, $4, or $5 on coffee every day.
Not only that, but it’ll eliminate any temptation to buy food with your coffee since you won’t be stopping at the coffee shop at all.
Saving money as a college student involves some sacrifice. The iced coffee from your favorite chain could be one that’s worth making.
11. Consider domestic exchange instead of studying abroad
Are you hoping to satisfy your sense of adventure in college? Do you want to explore areas other than your college town?
The reflex for some college students will be to study abroad, and that’s a great way to see the world and get some perspective on different ways of life. However, it comes with a mighty cost.
Have you heard of domestic exchange? It’s a program offered by some colleges that allow you to complete a semester or two at another college in 48 states, Puerto Rico, Guam, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
Maybe you attend a school in New Hampshire, but you want to get a taste of the west coast. You could use the domestic exchange program to attend a school out in California, Washington, or Oregon.
You can work with the program to find a school with a comparable tuition cost as the one you’re paying at your current school.
12. Buy household supplies in bulk
OK, back to the more tactical ways to save money as a student. You and your roommates will need household supplies like paper towels, toilet paper, laundry detergent, and so on.
Rather than buy these one at a time at the store, you could buy these in bulk on Amazon or other online retailers and get them delivered to your dorm, apartment, or house.
Sure, you’ll pay more upfront, but the savings could add up over the course of a semester or school year.
13. Get dorm/house furniture from others
Furnishing your college dorm, apartment, or house is tricky, particularly when you have roommates. It doesn’t make a ton of sense to buy a brand new TV or coffee table when you only need it for a limited time.
With that in mind, put out a call or email to all friends and family. See if they have any old furniture that they’re not using or were planning to upgrade. Their “trash” could be your treasure!
And if there are items you can’t get from them, go to Craigslist or Facebook Marketplace to fill in any gaps. It sure beats paying full price on an item; split the cost evenly among your roommates, and then play rock-paper-scissors to see who gets to keep it after graduation.
14. Ditch cable
Another way to save money as a student? Don’t have a TV or cable at all! This could be a cost-saving measure once you move off-campus.
Maybe you and your roommates don’t watch a ton of live TV and only need to stream your favorite shows on Netflix, Hulu, or another platform. On the off chance that there is something worth watching on live TV, you could go to a friend’s place!
15. DON’T leave home without your student ID
Discounts are available on everything from clothing to laptop and notebook computers for those with a valid student ID.
For example, Apple, and Adobe offer reduced prices on tech, while hundreds of big brands like Madewell, Forever 21, and J.Crew give money off on clothing. Local restaurants and chains often give money off on meals, so be sure to ask before you order!
16. DON’T be careless with credit cards
If you do elect to get a credit card, choose one with the lowest interest rate and only charge what you can afford to pay off in full each month. This will help you avoid late fees and costly credit card debt while you establish good credit for your future.
17. DO visit your local bank
Ask about checking and savings accounts designed especially for college students. These often have lower fees and no minimum balance required.
To track your balance and avoid expensive overdraft charges, use online banking to check your balance regularly.
18. DO trim or split subscriptions where possible
Splitting subscriptions for services like Netflix or Hulu with roommates or family members can also help you save money in college.
Everyone gets to enjoy the shows they want but aren’t on the hook for the full cost. Even better, some services, like Spotify, offer student-specific rates which make it even cheaper to afford the content you want.
Use free versions of subscription services when possible.
19. DO meet application deadlines
Some scholarships renew each year. If you take the time to reapply, be sure to get your forms and letters of recommendation in on time.
Earning scholarships and grants can help you save money in college by covering more of your tuition and living expenses.
20. Choose healthy habits
Think of this tip as preventative. Taking care of your health — physical, mental, spiritual, and financial — will save you money (and time!) in the long run by preventing illness and safeguarding your peace of mind.
Choosing to fuel your body with nutritious foods is always a smart choice, and it doesn’t have to break the bank.
Planning your meals, using coupons, shopping sales, cooking at home, and buying in bulk (if you have roommates) are all do-able options.
Other healthy habits for college students include spending time with loved ones, prioritizing rest, drinking plenty of water, enjoying the outdoors, exercising, walking or carpooling whenever possible, and making a daily gratitude list.
College is a time of increased freedom and new opportunities, so choose to form healthy habits that will nourish your body.
21. Look for free entertainment (or make your own)
If you live on campus, you’ll likely find free entertainment, including sporting events, clubs and organizations, concerts, recreation opportunities, and more.
Scope out your school’s activity calendar to stay informed. For inspiration and ideas, view this list of Crown College student benefits.
Free Admission to Crown Athletic Games, Clubs and Organizations, Disc Golf Course, Lakeside Access, Weight Room, Fitness Center, Coffee Shop, Free Parking Spot, Career Services, Computer + Printer Access
You can also think outside the box when it comes to entertainment and make your own fun. From game nights and book clubs to church or charity events, you’re only as limited as your imagination.
22. Start a side hustle
We live in a gig economy, which means there are opportunities everywhere for side gigs as a freelancer or independent contractors.
Whatever your skills and talents, there’s likely a market: writing, crafting, graphic design, babysitting, running errands, delivering food, etc.
Internships are also a smart way to make money, get college credit, and gain experience in a career field you’re aspiring to enter after graduation. Check your city’s Chamber of Commerce website and your college’s career services office for details.
Frequently Asked Questions
Here are some answers to your frequently asked questions:
Ques: How to Save Money on College Textbooks, No Matter What You Study
➣ Check Your Syllabus for Books in the Public Domain
➣ Share Textbooks With Classmates
➣ Visit the Library
➣ Use the Older Edition
➣ Rent Your Textbooks
➣ Buy the Electronic Version
➣ Go Beyond the Campus Bookstore
➣ Double-Check Your Financial Aid
➣ Use Scholarship or Grant Money
➣ Make Sure You Actually Need the Access Code
➣ Use the Open Textbook Network
QUES: What are some ways to save money on food in your dorm room?
➣ Shop with savings in mind. Make smart choices at the grocery store.
➣ Learn to cook. It’s almost always cheaper to cook at home than eat takeout.
➣ Drink water.
➣ Find free food.
➣ Plan your meals.
➣ Take old food and make it new.
➣ Use your freezer.
Ques: What are effective ways on saving money as a college student?
➣ Use Price Clubs
➣ Go in the Afternoon
➣ Buy at the Box Office
➣ Find a Late-Run Theater
➣ Skip the 3D and IMAX
➣ Divvy Up the Snacks
➣ Eat Beforehand
➣ Go for Group Deals
➣ Grab Gift Cards
➣ Sign Up With the Theater Online
Ques: What is the best way to save money at a movie theater?
You can also reduce expenses by taking care of your things. How do you treat your shoes, and how long do they last you?
I’m not even trying to save money and I wear my shoes for 2+ years (yes, wearing them every day, not just 1 day a week).
What kind of clothes are you buying and how are you treating them? Big secret to reducing laundry cost:
jeans don’t need washed every time you wear them; it reduces their life and requires you to do more laundry. More laundry=more quarters and detergent or a higher water bill and more detergent.
Ques: How do you save money with a credit card?
➣ 12 Ways Your Credit Card Can Save You Money
➣ Transfer Balances.
➣ Use 0% Purchase APR.
➣ Pay With a Cashback Credit Card.
➣ Skip the Car Rental Insurance.
➣ Redeem Cashback for a Gift Card.
➣ Use the Discount Mall.
➣ Earn Free Travel or Hotel Stays.
➣ Shop on Retail Discount Days.
Ques: How do I get a better credit score as a college student?
➣ How to Save Money on Student Loans
➣ Borrow less.
➣ Avoid interest capitalization.
➣ Shop around for the lowest interest rate.
➣ Take advantage of loan discounts.
➣ Apply for private student loans with a cosigner.
➣ Get cash back on your federal income tax return.
➣ Choose the repayment plan with the highest monthly payment you can afford.
➣ Accelerate repayment of the highest-rate loans.
➣ Refinance high-cost loans at a lower interest rate.
➣ Sign up for rebating programs.
Managing money while in college is a learning experience. There are a variety of strategies to save money while in college.
Some of these suggestions may be appropriate for your situation, while others may not, so think about cost-cutting techniques that can help you control or manage your spending without sacrificing the fun of college.
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