Money can be kind of a complicated topic while you’re in college. You might be making a little with a part-time job, student loans may be paying for at least a portion of your living expenses, and loved ones may be sending you money with a money transfer service.
All that definitely helps keep you afloat while you’re studying for finals, but college is also notorious for draining students of money.
Don’t let your account get down to zero before the semester is over! Make sure you save a little cash with these tips so you can make the most of your money, no matter where it’s coming from.
Don’t Buy Brand-New Textbooks
Publishers make a killing selling textbooks to college students. It isn’t uncommon for a brand-new textbook to cost hundreds of dollars. When you consider the fact that the average college student takes multiple classes each semester, you could be out nearly $1,000 every time the new semester rolls around.
There is something you can do about it—avoid buying new textbooks. Instead:
- Buy used textbooks
- See if there’s a cheaper digital copy
- Check out local libraries to see if the book can be borrowed
Don’t forget to check online! You can find some great deals, as long as you can wait to have the books shipped to your dorm. This would also include things like buying your glasses online, as long as you already have the prescription handy.
Take Advantage of Student Discounts
If you’re paying full price any time you go out to eat or you go shopping, you’re doing yourself a disservice. The number of businesses that offer discounts to college students is mind-blowing.
No matter where you go, always ask if there’s a college discount. Chances are, they will say yes, and you can save big. A few surprising examples include:
- A free Microsoft Office download
- 20 percent off HP products
- Up to $60 off a smartphone at T-Mobile
- Up to 25 percent off State Farm insurance
Don’t forget to ask about discounts at restaurants, movie theaters, and amusement parks.
Stop Paying for Unnecessary Items and Services
One of the best ways for college students to save money is to take a long, hard look at the items and services they pay for that they don’t really need. Chances are, there’s at least one thing every college student can trim from their budget.
Cigarettes, alcohol, and eating out are some of the best things to get rid of because not only do they cost a lot of money, they aren’t good for your health. You can also get rid of cable and switch to a more affordable cell phone plan. In addition, you should never pay for music if you can stream it for free online.
Don’t Get a Pet
To some people’s surprise, one of the first things college students want to do when they get settled in is buy a pet. When you think about it, it’s easy to see why. Making the transition from a busy household to a quiet dorm or apartment can be difficult and having an animal companion can make it easier.
Unfortunately, having an animal is absolutely terrible for your budget. You can plan to spend over $1,000 in the first year if you have a cat or a dog. Even a rabbit costs that much! Smaller animals will set you back a few hundred dollars every year after you factor in the cage, food, veterinary care, and bedding.
Save the money you would spend on a pet and put it towards more important bills. You can always get a pet when you land your first job.
Go to Class
One of the best tips for saving as much money in college as you can is also one of the most obvious. Go to class!
College isn’t cheap. Students pay thousands of dollars for a single class that lasts just a few months, and yet, so many students choose to skip class.
If you paid for the class, you should show up so you can get as much out of what the instructor has to say as you can. Not to mention, going to class boosts your chances of passing. The last thing you want to do is pay thousands of dollars to fail the class so you have to turn around and pay thousands more to take the class again.
College isn’t cheap, but you aren’t doomed to drain your bank account and live on Ramen noodles. Follow these tips so you can save a little cash where you can and graduate without racking up credit cards or begging family for money.