It’s smart to figure out how to save money in college. Many people don’t go to school because they don’t want to get into a lot of debt. However, there are a few things you can do to improve your financial health and reduce the amount of debt you get while you’re in school.
Here are some of the best ways to save money while in college, like making a budget, getting a side job, and getting creative with your bills.
Here are 12 ways to save money in college.
Before you try any of these tips, it’s important to know that if you don’t have a mindset of saving, it’ll be hard to keep any of them up in the long run. To be smart with your money, you have to change how you spend in all parts of your life so that you can reach your savings goals. For example, you could start shopping for groceries in a more cost-effective way and cook more meals at home using cooking tools you bought used. Being thrifty is a way of thinking, and if you are open to it, you can save a lot of money.
This doesn’t mean, though, that you have to be very strict. If you put so many limits on yourself that you can’t enjoy your life anymore, you’re likely to go back to your old ways of spending too much. Instead, it’s all about finding the right balance between being smart with your money and occasionally treating yourself.
In light of this, here are 12 ways to save money while you’re in college.
1. Use the student discount to your advantage
One of the best things about being in school? Your student ID. You can get discounts at a wide range of stores, restaurants, and cultural institutions with this card. You can also get big discounts on tech products from Apple, Adobe, and Microsoft. If you know how to use your coupons well, you can save a lot of money.
2. Choose to share a place to live
Living in a shared house or apartment instead of living alone is one of the best ways to save money in college. If you split your rent with other people instead of paying it all by yourself, you’ll save a lot of money each month. You can also split the cost of utilities and any shared furniture, which will save you even more money each month.
3. Buy books, clothes, and furniture that have been used before
The number of textbooks you have to buy at the start of each semester is one of the hidden costs of being a student. The best way to save money in this situation is to buy used books and then sell them when you’re done. It’s the same when you buy clothes or furniture.
Buying used is much cheaper than buying new, and there are some amazing deals just waiting to be grabbed! With a sharp eye and a little bit of time, you could save a lot of money.
4. Be proud of what you have
As a follow-up to what was said above, a good way for a student to save money is to take care of the things they already own. Instead of getting rid of things as soon as they start to look worn, put in a little extra work to fix them up so you can keep using them for longer. This keeps you from buying new things that you don’t need when the old ones still work. Plus, it gives you points for being good to the environment. This could mean, among other things:
Getting the screen of a broken phone fixed instead of buying a new one
Putting a hole in a sweater back together with thread instead of throwing it away and buying a new one
You should pay to have your laptop fixed instead of buying a new one, unless the cost of the repair is more than the cost of a new laptop when you use your student discount.
5. Take on a side hustle (or two)
Taking on one or two extra jobs while you’re in college is a great way to save money. Even though you’ll probably spend a lot of time with your nose in a book, you can probably afford to work 15–20 hours a week to make a little extra cash.
Want to work somewhere other than a cafe, bar, or restaurant? Here are some ideas to help you get going:
Become a virtual assistant. Clients from all over the world hire virtual assistants to help them with their day-to-day lives. This mostly involves answering emails, booking flights, and setting up schedules, which are all things you can do on your own time.
Become a student brand ambassador. Brand ambassadors work for a certain brand and tell other students on campus about their products.
Sell your lecture notes. By the end of the semester, students who weren’t really paying attention in class are desperate for lecture notes they missed. This gives you a chance to make a little bit of money by selling your lecture notes to them directly or to an educational platform like Nexus Notes.
6. Start saving on your utility bills
When you realize how much energy your home wastes each month, you can start saving a lot of money. This could mean turning down your thermostat, making sure none of your devices are on standby, comparing electricity and water providers to find a better deal, and upgrading any particularly inefficient appliances.
If you live in an apartment or house with other people, it’s best to do this as a group so that everyone does their part to save money and everyone gets their fair share.
7. Learn how to make a budget
One of the best ways to save money in college if you want to improve your overall financial health is to learn how to budget. This means having a clear picture of your monthly income and expenses and figuring out how to spend your money best so you can start saving money toward your goals.
There are a lot of budgeting apps that can help you get a handle on your money. There’s nothing better than being able to handle your own money, and if you learn how to budget while you’re in college, you’ll have a more secure future.
8. Adopt a minimalist lifestyle
Less is more when it comes to saving money in college. Plus, having a minimalist mindset can help you save a lot of money. To live a minimalist lifestyle, all you have to do is own fewer things. You only buy things that you need, so you don’t fall into the traps of a materialistic culture that tries to make you think you need more stuff to be happy.
When you shop with more purpose, you’re much more likely to spend less because you’ll realize that some of the things you thought you “needed” weren’t really that important.
How to eat cheaply in college
Aside from rent and utility bills, groceries are often one of the most expensive things to buy every month. So, if you start shopping more wisely, you can save a lot more each month. If you live with roommates, you can save money by buying certain things in bulk, which is usually cheaper. But if you prefer to shop on your own, here are some ways to save money on food in college:
9. Make a lot of food and put it in the freezer
Since buying in bulk is usually cheaper, it’s a good idea to make one big meal with the ingredients you bought in bulk, freeze it if you need to, and then eat it over several days. Hearty soups, curries, casseroles, and stir-fries are all great ideas for meals that you can reheat and eat all week long.
10. Eat out less
Even though it’s easy to buy ready-made food, it will cost you a lot more than making your own food at home. Food sold in restaurants and places where you can pick it up can have a big markup. For example, you could buy the ingredients for about five burgers at home with the €7 you spend on a single burger. This will not only improve your cooking skills, but if you share with your roommates, it will also make you more popular.
11. Don’t go shopping when you’re hungry.
Going grocery shopping when you’re hungry is a sure way to spend more than your weekly budget allows. If you let your stomach decide what you put in your basket, you might buy ready-to-eat snacks as you walk down the aisles that you don’t need. This can make your overall grocery bill go up by a lot. So, eat something before you go grocery shopping.
12. Plan ahead for your meals
By planning your meals ahead of time, you can get a good idea of how much your food will cost, making it easier to stay within your budget when you shop. It also means that you will use all of the food you buy.
Every week, a huge amount of food goes to waste in homes because people don’t plan their meals well. When you think of throwing away unused food as throwing away money, it’s easy to see how having a meal plan can save you a lot of money in the long run.