Tips to Save Money in College

save money college

This post is sponsored by CampusBookRentals.com.

When I was young, I saved most of my money so that I would be able to pay for a few years of college without having to take out a loan. And I actually almost managed to pay for all my college without a loan! You can read more about my goal to save money for college and what ended up happening by reading My Financial Life Journey and the Lessons I Learned.

We all know that college is expensive! Since school will be starting for many students within the month, here are some tips for college students to help them cut costs and save money:

1. Budgeting
It’s so easy to spend money on things such as eating out, purchasing a new outfit, and filling up your gas tank. Before you know it, all the money you have for the month is spent. It’s important to know how much you are spending each month and what it’s being spent on. Take time to Set a Budget and track your spending so you won’t have to worry if you will have enough money each month.

2. Housing
If the opportunity is available, live at home. I was able to live at home for most of my years at college. I realize that it’s not the “coolest” option. I know this because there were many times where I wished I could have lived on campus. But looking back I’m grateful that I was able to live at home because it saved me a lot of money.

If living at home isn’t an option, then choose to live on campus. It’s usually less expensive than an off-campus apartment. Plus you’ll spend less money on transportation.

3. Textbooks
College textbooks from university bookstores are expensive to purchase. I remember that some of my textbooks cost $200! But did you know that you can rent textbooks? By renting them you can save 80-90% more than if you purchased them. If I had known there was an option to rent text books when I was in college, I would have used it!  One company that rents textbooks is CampusBookRentals.com. It was founded by a college student who knew there had to be a less expensive alternative to buying books. The company has now rented more than 1 million textbooks in more than 5,500 campuses. Here’s how it works:

  • Go to CampusBookRentals.com and find the books you need for your classes.
  • Decide how long you want to keep them.
  • Let them know where to ship them and when you need them to arrive.
  • When you are done with your books, just ship them back using the prepaid envelopes. The shipping is already paid for.

It’s that easy! While you have your books, you can highlight, underline, and take notes in the margins just like you would any other book. If you don’t need the books for any reason, like if you dropped your class for that semester, send them back within 30 days and you’ll get a full refund. If you need to keep a textbook longer, there is a 15-day grace period for every rental.

4. Transportation
Instead of driving to campus and spending money on gas and parking passes, look into other alternative transportation options such as riding your bike, walking, or using the local bus or subway system. If those options aren’t available, then try carpooling with friends.

5. Food
With a busy college schedule, it’s easy to just grab food at the campus eatery or a fast food restaurant. However, with a little bit of planning, you can save money and eat more healthy. Write down a weekly meal plan that includes meals you can take with you to campus if you know that you won’t be home for lunch or dinner. Plan meals around what’s on sale at the grocery stores. And when you make one meal, double it and put it in the freezer to have later for another meal. You could also schedule and rotate making dinners with roommates and friends.

6. Clothing
When shopping for clothes, look for clearance items on the rack. Also watch for sales, coupons, and promotion codes to save even more money. In addition, thrift stores, yard sales, and second-hand stores will save you money when your old clothes wear out. Make sure to avoid making impulsive purchases because you want that new dress or shoes. If it’s something you really want, you can save up for it. Or better yet, wait for it to go on sale then purchase it.

7. Activities
As a college student, you want to hang out with your college friends and do enjoyable activities. But rather than doing things that cost money like going to the movies, shopping, or eating out, be creative and think of alternative ways to have fun. Plan a picnic at the park, go hiking along trails, and play games around campus. These often end up being more enjoyable and cost less money too. If you do go out on the town and know you’ll be spending money, ask places if they offer student discounts to see if you can save a little more money.

These are just a few ways to save money. What tips do you have to save money in college?

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