Ten Money Saving Tips for College Students
At a glance:
- Don't waste on bank fees.
- Watch credit card fees and interest rates.
- Reduce food and beverage expense.
- Buy used textbooks.
- Brew your own cup of joe.
- Supply your own snack foods like donuts.
- Skip bottled water.
- Look for student discounts.
- Buy used electronics.
- Get free entertainment.
Many college students are just hanging on financially, with the high cost of tuition, books, housing, and dwindling funds available from scholarships, grants and loans. But don’t despair – here are ten ways that college students can save money (and even have some fun doing it).
- Don’t waste money on bank fees. Find a bank or credit union that offers free checking to college students. Be sure your account includes free online banking and debit card transactions. Free checks are nice too, but in today’s electronic age most people don’t write many checks.
- If you opt for a credit card, get one with no annual fees and the lowest interest rate you can find. Stick to your card limit, pay your credit card bills on time so there are no late charges, and pay more than the minimum so you can minimize interest charges.
- Reduce food and beverage expenses. Eat in or grab fast food instead of eating out, and when you do eat out order the less expensive items or split something with a friend. Drink good ol’ American beer rather than expensive foreign brews, or gather with your friends for a party with a six-pack at home rather than expensive beer, wine, and set-ups in a restaurant or bar.
- Buy used textbooks if you can. There are several online textbook comparison sites where you can shop for the best prices. And when you are done with the book, if you don’t need it in your permanent library, sell your used textbooks online.
- Splurge on a good coffee maker – and use it. Drinking quality coffee at home is much cheaper than buying expensive lattes at your local coffee house. Tuck a thermos full of coffee into your backpack and use it to refill your to-go cup. If you do this stealthily enough, no one will even peg you for a geek.
- Stock up on snack foods. I know you are pressed for time and need to eat on the go a lot, but crackers, string cheese, cookies, and donuts brought from home are all much cheaper than buying them in coffee shops, and they are just as portable.
- Skip the bottled water. Get yourself an inexpensive bottle, fill it with tap water, and guess what – you now have bottled water at almost no cost. If the water in your area is crappy, invest in a filter to improve the quality and taste.
- Look for student discounts. Many retailers and service providers offer student discounts. If you don’t see a discount advertised, ask. The worst they can do is say no, and you may be able to snag a discount that isn’t widely advertised.
- Buy used if possible. Shop for computers and other electronics at ebay or on Craigslist and you’ll get much more for your money. It may be lightly used, refurbished or last month’s model, but it will still be functional. And let’s face it, if you bought and used a computer, it would then be a used computer, so why not start there and save some bucks?
- Free entertainment is, well, free. Watch television through your computer, gather with your friends at free movie screenings on campus, join in a game of touch football or tennis, or go for a swim at the Y. Get creative, get moving, and get involved. There are lots of ways to entertain yourself on the cheap.