College Finance

Save During College

College can be expensive.

And costs during college seem to add up quickly.  One day you may feel like you’re rich and the next your card is getting declined while ordering pizza (we’ve been there).  Figuring out what tricks could help you save money can make a huge impact on your bank account.  We’ve listed just a few common ways to help you save:

Housing Options.  

Make sure you explore all your options before deciding where to live.  Some schools require students to stay on campus all 4 years while others only require you live on campus your freshman year.  Pay attention to what your school requires and the housing options provided.  Many universities have affordable housing options that keep you close and help cut down on costs.  For some, living off campus may be a cheaper way to go.  Looking at different apartments and houses near your campus might seem like a daunting task, but could save you thousands in the long run. 

Buy Used Textbooks. 

Used textbooks are usually in great condition and sold for much cheaper than new textbooks.  Plus, notes from previous owners could really help you out.  Check out online retailers such as Amazon or Chegg for cheaper textbook options.   When you’re finished with your textbooks, try selling them back to the bookstore or online to get some of your money back. 

Use Campus Resources. 

Most campuses offer great amenities for their students to use.  Dining halls usually offer delicious food for a low price – plus many allow for an unlimited amount of food for one standard price.  Many colleges also allow for students to use their gyms and athletic facilities free of charge.  This could save students at least $10 a month (almost $100 per school year) if they were to use the school’s gym rather than paying for a monthly gym membership.  There are also tons of on campus activities that you and your friends could go to rather than spending money out on the town – everything from free food to movies and even concerts. 

Save on the Little Things. 

Everyday costs can add up quickly – make sure you watch for ways to cut back so you don’t overspend.  Try to limit how often you eat out – even spending just $5 a week eating out can add up to $160 a year (and $5 is a cheap meal!).  Cut back on coffee costs by purchasing your own coffee maker.  It may not taste as good as your favorite coffee shop but it’ll save you hundreds of dollars over the course of the year.  Another tip: leave the car at home.  Most places you’ll go will be within walking or biking distance and if not try using a ride sharing app or carpooling with friends.  You’ll save on unnecessary gas and car costs.  If you’re living in a house off campus ask yourself if you really need to pay for cable.  Some great alternatives would be Netflix or Hulu – both streaming services that you could split between you and your roommates for a much cheaper cost than cable. 

Work During the School Year. 

So many schools offer hundreds of on-campus student jobs.  Jobs could vary from cafeteria workers, baristas at the campus coffee shop, teachers’ assistants, or office workers in various departments.  On-campus student jobs are usually very flexible and within walking distance so you don’t need to worry about transportation.  If you have a car or bike on campus you could also look in to working for local businesses.  Working during school not only helps you earn money while in school, but it also looks great on resumes!

Stay on Top of Your Classes. 

You spend thousands of dollars on classes every semester – don’t let that money go to waste.  Every class you skip is like throwing $100 away.  Plus, if you fall behind or fail some classes, your expected graduation date could be pushed back a semester or two which could lead to extra tuition costs and increase your student debt. 

It pays off.  

Saving money while in school can help you better prepare for financial life after college.  Take the time while you’re in school to figure out how to be wise with your money and set yourself up for financial security in the future. 

Created and compiled by Rachel Rue, cuLearn and a talented writer/editor

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