Being a college student usually means living and surviving on a cheap budget. Between purchasing books, living expenses, and maintaining a social life, it can be easy for your bank account to get down to zero. However, beginning a habit of saving money as a college student is crucial to developing good financial strategies for life, as well as having extra money for a post-graduation trip, new suit for job searching, and more.
Food & Drink
- Learn how to cook your own meals. While it takes more time to prepare a meal, it’s healthier and you’ll save money in the long run.
- Bring your own snacks/water to class instead of buying them on campus. Stay away from vending machines or snack shops.
- Make coffee at home, and put it in a thermos to have a caffeine boost all morning long.
- Find events on campus that offer free food. The organizers want you to attend!
- Consider cutting your cable bill or internet bill, especially if you find yourself doing most of your work while on campus or at coffee shops!
- Live with a roommate to split expenses.
- Shop used. Gently used furniture, kitchen goods, and clothes can be just as good as new, and much cheaper. You won’t even notice the difference!
- Put on blankets or more clothes instead of turning on the heat. Purchase fans instead of using energy-wasting air conditioners.
- Buy supplies in bulk, and look for start-of-school sales to stock up.
- Purchase used textbooks. See if any friends took the class previously and would be willing to sell you the book. Also search online.
- Check the library for your textbook – you might get lucky!
- Host friends at your place. Watch a movie online, make some popcorn, and you’ve got a budget night in.
- Keep an eye out for free activities on campus. Look out for free movie screenings, concerts, lectures, arts performances, and more.
- Use an Excel spreadsheet or a site like Mint.com to track your spending and create a budget. Paying more attention to where your money goes will help you realize when you’re spending hundreds of dollars on coffee every month.
- Save your spare change. Some banks or apps will help you automatically round up a bill and put the rest in savings. Or, go old fashioned with a piggy bank. Empty it out every few months and deposit it, or exchange it for cash.
- Look for student discounts. Movie theaters, shops, and online stores frequently offer student discounts. Even if its not listed, it’s worth asking!
- Finding online coupons. Before checking out online or in a store, look up the store name + coupon and see if you can find anything! You might be able to score a quick 25% off, just for spending an extra minute on your phone!
Start saving now and you’ll be ready for all the expenses life throws at you once you graduate. Or, just go on an awesome vacation.