7 Tips to Save Money in College

November 24, 2015

 

With the cost of tuition on the rise and students doing their best to manage living expenses, transportation, food, books, and other costs, many will agree that finances can be a touchy subject even with the help of financial aid and other resources. Fortunately, there are a few simple ways to save money that don’t involve hiring some expert financial advisor or spending hours on end balancing a checkbook.

Search for Used Textbooks

After purchasing new books for all of the classes in one semester, full- time students often spend a minimum of $600. While it may seem more convenient to stop by the University Store and grab all of the books you need for the semester, often times, there are alternative websites or used bookstores on campus that offer the same books for a much lower price. Explore websites and ask friends who might have taken the class already. In the past, I have purchased hardcover books for as low as $12 online. It just takes a little digging, but it is well worth it!

Seek Alternative Transportation

Though many students are offered the ability to drive to class with the purchase of a parking pass, it may not be the most efficient form of transportation when thinking about costs; it can slowly burn through gas money in addition to the cost required for parking. Walking, riding the bus, carpooling, riding a bike, or a combination of methods can definitely save on money in addition to contributing to exercise and stress management. Some students may also move closer to campus so that they have better access.

Choose the Right Meal Plan

Food can be among the priciest expense that many face. After all- you have to eat right? Meal plans can be a great avenue but it is essential to do the background research on what plan offers best deal. Many campuses have plans that allow you to eat off campus. Meal plans may not be for everyone however, and there are perks of buying groceries and preparing your own food which can better aid in healthy eating.

Examine your Spending

Creating a budget seems like a very formal and time consuming task, but with practice, you can shape your spending behaviors and have a better grip on finances. There are several apps that you can use including the budget tracker, Mint.com. It can also help to save receipts on all items purchased from food, to entertainment, or even miscellaneous purchases.  Tracking receipts can be a great way to raise conscientiousness in spending. Online banking also provides the opportunity to examine spending and in some banks, including Bank of America, you can also set up a budget online.

Find a Job

Many students find that having a part-time job while in school is a great way to gain the extra money that they need. It can also be a good opportunity to meet new friends, and gain the job experience that will come in handy and help land your first job after graduation. Most campuses offer several student positions in addition to the food service and other customer-service based positions around the campus.  

Save on Apartment Costs

Rent and utilities can vary greatly for many students depending on where they live. Search around for the best deals. Most campuses have several student living options with shared rooms allowing you to save money by living with roommates. It is ok to stop by and check out several different apartments before selecting the right one. You can also save on bills by turning off the lights when you are not using them, taking quick showers, hand washing dishes, and using the A/C and heat only when necessary.

Find Scholarships

Many scholarships are available with the right search and effort. Take the time to do the research; there are several scholarships that offer several perks like semester stipends, group trips, useful resources and much more. In addition to scholarships awarded for good grades, there are countless scholarships for many subject areas and specific demographics. Realize that many scholarships are not awarded automatically, sometimes; you have to do a lot of searching, but it can be significantly rewarding in the end.

Are you applying to college? Visit our blog to find out more information about the schools that you’re interested. You can also search our database of successful applications to find essays, advice, and stats from students who got in. Also check out our scholarships, available to both high school and college students. Make sure to sign up for our high school scholarship by telling us what you hate most about the application process!



Browse Successful Application Files

ayinUChicago
UChicago ‘18


Accepted to Duke, Brown, NYU, UChicago, UNC, East Carolina, NC State

I'm a class of 2018'er at UChicago studying Economics and Psychology! Super interested in start-ups and economics.
brianlin
WashU ‘20


Accepted to WashU, CMU, GA Tech, UGA

Aspiring Communication Design and Computer Science student, food lover extraordinaire
ssp2020
MIT ‘20


Accepted to MIT, UMich, Rutgers, Cornell, Rice, JHU

computer science / design / music / film
cjjo96
Barnard ‘18


Accepted to Barnard

Barnard '18 | My passions lie in education, psychology, and human rights, all from the lens of an African Studies major. My transcript and application were far from conventional, but neither am I.

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