11 Easy Ways to Save (and Make) Money in College

January 22, 2016

College life ain’t cheap. Here’s some tried and true ways to save a buck (or two). 

1. Food doesn’t have to be expensive. Buy in bulk. Go shopping with your token “Mom Gave Me A Costco Card” buddy and stock up on essentials like rice, veggies, and meats (if that’s the way you roll, man). Set a dollar limit for how much you can buy. $50 can go a long way, especially if you freeze the stuff you can’t use right away. And remember, don’t shop when you’re hungry.

2. Look for ways around buying pricey textbooks. Why pay $200 for your Chemistry textbook when you can buy it on Thriftbooks or Amazon for half the price? For many of your classes, professors will have textbooks available on reserve in the library to check out. And even better yet, more and more texts are becoming available online! Do a little research before you drop hundreds on books you may never need after graduation. When you do buy them, make sure to keep them in decent condition and sell them back at the end of the quarter/semester.

3. Trade your clothes! Places like Crossroads, Buffalo Exchange and others will offer to pay for your used clothes. Use the cash to buy yourself a new sweatshirt, or stash it for later. To sell successfully just use the right strategy. Bring stuff people would actually want to wear. Sell your old sweaters just before winter comes around, save your shorts for spring.

4. Share costs, whenever possible. Opt for housing with other people. Sure, you’ll have less privacy, but you’ll also save bucket loads on rent and utilities. Also, without being a mooch, talk to friends about going in for bigger price tag items together. Couches, Netflix, and gym memberships are meant to be shared!

5. Craigslist is your friend. For cheap furniture and houseware items, this is the way to go. It’s not the sketchy, weird place TV shows make it out to be. I’ve purchased couches, shelves, speakers, mattresses, lamps and more from Craigslist with no issues. Selling is easy too, if you’re smart and friendly about it. Emails and postings should be specific and clear. An example: “Hi there! I’d like to buy your Hello Kitty Waffle Maker. If it’s still available, I can pick it up tomorrow at noon. Feel free to call/text me any time at __-__-___, thanks!”

6. Wait to get a pet. We know - who doesn’t want a puppy? But unless you’ve got a bunch of extra cash lying around, the cost of feeding an animal every day can take a toll on your wallet - and that’s in addition to pricey veterinary bills! Besides, between classes, work, and extracurriculars, you won’t have the time your little poofball deserves. Instead, consider walking dogs. Surprisingly you can make bank doing this. Apps like “Wag” make finding business super easy. (Or, if you simply love animals, donate your time to an animal shelter).

7. Get a job at a pizza place. You’ll essentially get paid to eat pizza. Work is generally laid back, and you can find pretty flexible shifts. Cha-ching. (Technically this one applies to any kind of restaurant, but there’s probably a superfluous number of pizza places in your college town. And there’s always leftover pizza, that’s just fact.)

8. Test out of classes. Look at course requirements and options for testing out of certain classes. Why spend time and money on material you could easily test out of? This trick is most often applied to language courses, but can be used for lower division math, science, and English courses as well.

9. Walk, bike, or use public transportation. Seems like a no brainer, but chances are you could be getting around for a lot cheaper. Walking or biking may take longer, but ultimately you’ll save big on gas and insurance. Take advantage of discounts offered to students by your local public transportation services - all you’ll need is your Student ID.

10. When holidays and birthdays come around, ask for gift cards. Don’t be pushy about it, but do drop hints to family and friends. Yeah, you could tell grandma you want a hoverboard for your 20th. But you could also ask for a Safeway gift card and avoid having to pay for groceries the next two months. Imagine the luxury of buying an avocado without a second thought!

11. Take advantage of FAFSA. It’s a pain to fill out, but the payoff can be huge. Even if you apply Freshman year and don’t receive any big scholarship, try again each year. The government likes to invest in students their 3rd and 4th years.

About The Author

Julia Marsh
Julia Marsh

Julia is the world famous AdmitSee graphic designer. In her free time, she loves spending time with her family, exploring fairy caves, and riding unicorns. ​




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