Blog,  College,  Personal Finance

5 Ways to Save Money in College

College can be an extremely expensive time in life for a lot of people. This may also be the first time some of us make significant financial decisions such as taking out a loan, which could impact the rest of our lives. With that being said, it is very important to carefully consider our finances in college and learn how to save money. If you would like to learn a few ways to save money in college while still enjoying yourself, keep reading!

1. Don’t buy your books from the campus bookstore.

  • Bookstores on campus have new and used books for more expensive than other stores/websites.
  • Instead, try searching for an ebook version on Amazon, Chegg Textbooks, or my favorite option which is Facebook groups. There is probably a Facebook group for each graduating class at your university. If you join the class above you, there is a chance students will be selling their barely used textbooks for the classes you haven’t taken yet. This hack may be slightly harder when you are taking classes in your major, but depending on how large your university is, there may be a group for your major.

2. Don’t immediately purchase a school meal plan.

  • By this I mean, weigh out all of your options first.
  • Consider the different options your school offers and really do your research. Some plans may only include 2 meals a day, some 3, some may include 3 meals and extra spending money on campus at coffee shops and convenience stores. You need to ask yourself some questions if you’re considering a school mean plan. What would you actually use? Which plan is worth the price?
  • If meal plans aren’t worth it, then consider possibly grocery shopping and meal prepping. (I understand this may not be an option if you are a freshman and/or in a dorm, but if you are in an apartment, it could save you a lot of money!

3. Create a budget for yourself (and stick to it!)

  • For many of us, college is the first taste of independence that might get to some people’s heads. With that being said, try out different ways to manage your money.
  • (And when I say create a budget for yourself, I don’t want you to think I mean don’t go out and have a good time with your friends, just be aware of how much your swiping your card or Venmo-ing your roommate!)
  • I have found that for myself, having structure that comes with a budget is good for me in college because sometimes I felt kind of lost with so much freedom.
  • If you need any help creating a budget for yourself, let me know in the comments and I will put together an entire post on it!

4. Take advantage of student discounts.

  • Something that I emphasize to my friends often is to actually take advantage of student discounts. I feel like many people often forget about students discounts, but you can actually save a lot of money over time. You can save money at the nail salon, local restaurants, even shopping online. Always ask if they offer a discount for college students, it doesn’t hurt!
  • If you live in a big college town, you may have more options for discounts in your area than someone who may live in a big city.

5. Go thrifting.

  • I saved my favorite tip for last because this saves you money, is good for the environment, and can actually be really fun. You can find so many one-of-a-kind items in thrift stores – from old graphic t-shirts to unique decor for your dorm or apartment.
  • I could easily spend an entire day going to different thrift stores. From Goodwill, Salvation Army, Plato’s Closet, and local thrift stores, the possibilities are endless (and most of them are for charities in the community)!
  • P.S. – Speaking of Plato’s Closet, you could also sell some of your clothes you no longer want to Plato’s Closet for cash or a store credit, so more shopping!

Today’s post discussed a few ways to save money in college while still having some fun. I hope you found this post helpful! If you would like to check out another post, I recommend 50 Things to do in Quarantine.

Thank you for reading!

Image displaying a stack of books with a decorative message that reads "How to Save Money as a College Student"
How to Save Money as a College Student

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