A+ Student and Saver: 10 Money-Saving Hacks for College Students

Young female in front of blackboard holding money tree

Are you a college student looking to save money while studying? Whether you have student loans or pay a portion of the tuition yourself, student life can drain your bank account and put you into debt.

There are many ways to save money without reducing the quality of life. Most students get part-time jobs or freelance gigs to support themselves working as pet sitters, baristas in local cafes, doing campus jobs, or offering academic services to fellow students. 

Another way to save some cash is to buy used books or loan them from your local library. Use public transportation or bikes whenever possible, and carefully spend your money on eating and drinking out. 

Keep reading to learn how to save money in college, pay off your debts, and still ace your exams.

1. Consider Your Wants Vs. Needs

How much do you spend eating out? Can your current cell phone plan be reduced? Do you need both cable TV and Netflix? Consider your basic needs and compare them to your personal wants. 

For example, shopping sprees with friends, coffee from Starbucks every day, and Uber rides to everywhere aren't necessities. See if you can cut down on these expenses.

2. Buy Used Course Materials and Books

Books and course materials are among the biggest college expenses. Spend your money wisely and find used books that are in good condition. You'll only use them for a semester or two, so there's no need to spend so much money on brand new ones.

Your college has a library that you can borrow books from for almost every subject. You can also spend a few hours studying in the library and use their internet connection to save money.

3. Use Apps to Track Your Expenses

Wondering how to save money as a college student without missing out on all the fun? Use expense tracking apps like Mint.com that'll help you better understand where your money goes.

You'll receive detailed reports that you can review and decide where to cut down. The app will also give you a better picture of your spending habits and whether you can truly save money at that pace.

4. Look Into Your Lifestyle

College life is fun, exciting, and full of adventure, but it can easily drain your budget if you're not careful. If you go out for drinks every weekend, see a movie once a week, go to sports games, and go shopping often, you'll quickly end up broke.

We're not saying you should stop having fun - simply reorganize your priorities and find alternative ways to have a good time. For example, most college campuses have free events for their students including movie nights and sports games.

You can also use discounts and coupons to dine out and learn which bars are the cheapest or have the best offers.

5. Learn How to Cook

One of our best tips to save money in college is to learn to cook your own meals. Eating out is easy and may save you some time, but it'll put a strain on your budget.

If you're not on a meal plan, make one yourself and stick to it. This way, you can shop in bulk and avoid wasting food. Many stores and meal delivery services offer student discounts and coupons you can use to save money.

6. Set a Savings Goal

Many students believe they can't be successful in college and get out of it debt-free. In reality, it all comes down to good money and time management. If you have a solid financial and study plan for the academic year, you can live a pretty decent college life.

The trick is to make extra money and save a portion of your allowance and earnings each week or month. Ideally, you'll pay your college fees without any additional help, but you can always ask the college financial aid office for funding options.

7. Use Student Discounts and Coupons

Transportation companies, clothing retailers, online stores, and even restaurants have special student offers and discounts, so don't be shy to use them. Saving money as a college student is a result of putting a few dollars away from several different places.

Before you know it, you'll have an entire month's worth of allowance because you registered with every coupon site and newsletter in your area.

8. Get a Part-Time Job

One of the ways to save money in college is to make extra by getting a part-time job. It can be on or off campus and it should bring you enough cash to cover some of your basic expenses.

You can offer academic services to other students and seniors in college, or just ask the college organizations and institutions if they need help. If you live on campus, you'll save you tons of money on transportation and food. Off-campus jobs may be more demanding with longer commutes.

9. Save On College Courses

The biggest college expenses come from the actual courses that cost several hundred dollars each. If you want to cut down on expenses and learn the secrets to saving money in college, take some of the classes online during the summer.

You can still earn credits and take off some of the financial load off your back. You'll also save a lot of time if you take some classes before the next academic year starts. You don't need to attend in person, there are no live sessions and teachers, and you can do the coursework whenever and wherever.

10. Use Your Credit Cards Wisely

Your student years are the best time to learn how to handle your finances and credit cards. Most banks have special student packages with low or no fees, and great options for savings accounts.

This is where you show your financial wit - by using your credit card wisely and not getting too carried away. Only spend your savings when absolutely necessary, use reward points, and put a certain amount of money to your savings account each month.

Now You Know How to Save Money in College!

College is expensive, but if you do a little research, you'll discover it doesn't have to be. If you're wise with your money, have a hefty savings account, and make some more on the side, you can pay for college all on your own.

These tips will help you learn how to save money in college and still have a good time and live your student life to the fullest.

Curious to learn more money-saving tricks? Read this article to see how you can attend college full-time and stay out of debt.


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