7 Best Ways to Save Money in College

By July 6, 2021Blog

7 Best Ways to Save Money in College – Want easy ways to save money in college? Discover 6 simple money-saving college student life hacks, including your student ID, college textbooks, and more.

If you’re going to college, you’ll probably hear plenty of exaggerated stories of college life from the adults in your life. Many adults look at their college days as a “rite of passage” to adulthood.

You may hear stories about them eating nothing but Ramen noodles for weeks at a time, digging around in their battered couch for pizza money, or making their friends toss their spare change into their car’s ashtray for gas money.

The lesson? Back in the day, college kids learned to save money. While so much has changed, there are still tons of ways for you to save big bucks while in college. And you won’t have to starve yourself to do it.

  1. Save money when shopping online

Shopping on the web has become the norm for many people. There are too many hidden ways to save to be included in this article.  But one quick and easy way is to install a simple Chrome extension to save money on your online purchases, like Capital One Shopping.

  1. Ways to avoid buying new books

As recently as the 2018-2019 academic year, college students could expect to pay over $1200 a year in books and supplies. The reason? There’s little competition in the college text market.

To combat this problem, many students don’t bother buying textbooks, but that’s a mistake. Those students’ grades suffer because they don’t have the resources they need.

A much better strategy? Buy used books. College students can save hundreds of dollars by getting used copies of their required texts.

Another tactic is to rent books. There are various pricing comparison sites where you can compare buying versus renting and see which makes more sense. One potential problem? If you use a highlighter in rented books, it may trigger a fee.

When buying books, you can also save a great deal of money by buying and selling during “off-peak” times.

Most students buy their books in August and sell them in December when demand is sky-high. A smart idea is to find out ahead of time what books will be required for their classes and buy them early.

How can you find out what books are required if the course hasn’t opened for enrollment? Simply reach out to the professor privately and ask them what books you’ll need.

  1. Avoid credit card debt

Credit card offers seem so promising! Own what you want and pay it off “later.” Rather than racking up credit card debt for things like cable or satellite service, look into ways to watch TV for free.

Want to save yourself a ton of headaches? Avoid using a credit card except for dire emergencies. Using credit for day-to-day expenses like food simply because it’s easier is the fastest way to rack up debt without realizing it.

Be smart by finding credit card offers that have the lowest possible interest rate and no annual fee. And if you do use it, you should only charge what you can afford to pay off in full each month.

  1. Cook at home

Many people love eating out. It’s a social thing, and some days after a grueling day of classes, a nice meal out can seem like the perfect remedy. Instead, college students who stay home to cook save a lot of money. You’ll also develop better eating habits that will serve you well in life.

There are plenty of websites that can help you get your kitchen set up with new cookware, utensils, and recipes that are very affordable. Cooking for yourself also reinforces self-sufficiency, another valuable life skill.

  1. Choose your housing carefully

The appeal of having your own apartment is huge. Maybe you believe partying will be easier away from the rules of college. Or you just like the idea of “having your own place.” The reality? You’ll save a lot of money by sticking with campus housing.

Rent for an average apartment is usually much higher than campus dorms. And that doesn’t count expenses like water, heat, and electricity. All of which are included in your dorm fees. Don’t forget the food: Most dorm fees also include a meal plan.

Living on campus will save you plenty of dough. And you’ll be able to concentrate on the most important thing in college: your education.

  1. Skip owning a car

Owning a car can feel like freedom is at your fingertips. The reality is much harsher. Unless you can afford to buy a brand-new car with a killer warranty, you’re better off living on campus. You can learn to live life without a car.

Used cars always break down at the worst times. You’ll drive yourself crazy trying to pay for the repairs and keep the thing running.  And you’ll be bombarded with requests from other students you barely know to drive them everywhere, move furniture, and pick up people from the airport

It just isn’t worth the headache. Besides, you’ll have a thriving social life right in your dorms.

  1. Reduce your stress

When you’re under stress, it’s harder to concentrate. Harder to remember facts, figures, and anything related to your classes. A high stress level results in making poor decisions, which can torpedo your desire to save money.

One way to reduce your stress is with an emotional support animal. Get an evaluation from a licensed therapist in order to get your ESA letter so you can save money on pet fees – oh, and yes, even your feline friend can be an emotional support cat.  And if you’re wondering, “Do I have to tell my landlord I have an emotional support animal?” online resources such as mylawquestions.com can help you.

Summing up

Your college experience can be the best years of your life. With just a few money-saving strategies, you’ll be setting yourself up for a great life when you graduate. You’ll be armed not only with an education but also financial life skills to ensure your success.

By starting these habits now, you’ll be doing them automatically when you reach adulthood. You’ll have developed an ‘eye’ for finding money-saving opportunities online and off.

Susan Reedy

Author Susan Reedy

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