6 Ways To Save Money In College

Saving money while you’re pursuing post-secondary education is probably the hardest thing to accomplish. I don’t mean saving money for retirement, or saving money for a big trip that summer (unless you find it worthwhile). I mean saving money so that you can continue to afford groceries, gas, and to still be capable of managing a functional social life. College is the time where I learned that pinching pennies is not just a saying. Although my ideas might not work for you, they were realistic for me. They taught me how to be an adult without having the income of one. They taught me that 4 years of struggle is worth it, because now you can actually afford to put food essential to your lifestyle in your grocery budget. You don’t have to eat the same meal every day for an entire semester.

Here are 6 terribly true tips that worked for me saving money as a college student

1. Don’t buy your text books

I’m sure some of you read that and freaked out. Well, in my program I was lucky to not have many text books to begin with. We were heavily focused on online materials, and rarely read a chapter on the theory of Facebook. Probably because there isn’t one. But for those of you who do have text-heavy course loads, I recommend waiting on the purchase until you know you need the book. I don’t mean them telling you “read chapter 6”, I mean them telling you “the midterm will be based on chapter 6”. The library has it for free and if not, you can easily make a friend in class who could share.

2. Learn how to grocery shop for one

Groceries are tough. Especially when you just move out on your own and your parents fill your fridge the first week giving you a false hope of endless supplies of produce and meat. Before you get excited about cooking your own meals and starting a new diet, be prepared to eat pasta, soup, perogies, and bread for the rest of your college career. Carbs are your friend, because carbs are cheap. My other tip is to never over shop. It’s best to do smaller trips, avoiding expired product that is basically money down the trash shoot.

3. Take advantage of free stuff

Colleges and universities offer great perks like free use of library, gym, public transportation pass, and sporting event entry. Use them! The gym will be essential to rewind the freshman 15 you might be in store for considering your new grocery shopping list. The library has literature galore, and always a nice little cube that is silent for your studying needs.

4. Go home on the weekends

Mom, dad. Thank you for all of the Sunday dinners you supplied me with on the weekends. A home cooked meal and no-cost laundry availability is all you’ll need to stay sane. Sometimes if you’re lucky, they might even send you home with leftovers.

5. Pass your classes

This might seem like common sense, but I’m afraid many college students lose that personality trait during the excitement of first year. This is simply a friendly reminder that if you don’t attend class, complete all assignments, and at least half-study for exams, you will fail. And that is $500+ you will never get back. Imagine you throw away all of your clothes, buy a whole new wardrobe and then burn it before you wear anything.

6. Avoid living on campus

Although sometimes we don’t have as many options, living on campus is often more expensive than living off. Due to the included fees of cafeteria, parking, and more, living off campus can save you a lot more than you’d think. You will probably spend less on groceries while enjoying the food more, you will probably spend less on transportation as public transportation is included in your tuition, and you will probably spend less on overall rent. Added bonus: choose your own roommates.

What are some tips or tricks you used during your time in college? Let me know!