Money Saving Tips For The Cash-Strapped College Student
Since student loans can quickly get out of control, you need all the help you can get. Money saving college tips will come in handy no matter which stage of the journey you’re in, freshman to senior year, and we’ve compiled 10 of our favorites to get you through to graduation, with help from the reddit community. For more general college tips, make sure you bookmark this thread.
1. “This may be already posted, but I’m not reading every reply to find out. Don’t buy every text book you “need.” I’m on my third year and have bought maybe 5-6 textbooks total and have earned a 4.0 over the last 3 semesters. If you know you will need a book (math, biology, etc.) get it online, half.com is awesome. Otherwise wait a few weeks, a good amount of my teachers assign reading but by simply going to every class and doing the assignments I come out on top. Obviously if your classes are necessary for your major, and the information will serve useful, get the damn book. You need the information. But for those required classes see if you can save money by not giving it out 300 dollars at a time.”
2. “Your best investment will be a coffee pot and a mug with a lid on it that you can bring to class. It was the best thing in the morning to not have to stand in a Starbucks line and waste money away.”
3. “As far as money, if you engage in a hobby that uses a lot of money you can use this to your benefit (for instance, I race motorcycles and have to fund it myself). Many college students I see wanting to do things, but they ‘don’t have enough money’ or ‘don’t have enough time’ yet every weekend they’re out getting drunk or partying and blowing money on booze, going out to eat, etc. Additionally, they complain about not having time to study, because studying sucks when you’re hungover! … For me, eating out to eat is a rarity, maybe once a week or once every other week. If I left my lunch I’ll spend a buck on a vending machine or something. But not much. Why? Because I need to save the money for my hobby. … Additionally, I rarely drink, and I don’t go out that much (I’d rather have people over to chill anyways). So I do get a lot of personal time (granted I’m introverted). This makes it easy to study/get [stuff] done.”
4. “Buy in bulk, and invest in a large freezer. Freeze EVERYTHING you don’t plan to eat within 3 days. Buy fresh produce when needed, and use what you buy. My largest expense is (and always has been) food, so making sure that it isn’t wasted is HUGE.”
5. “Don’t live outside of your means. That means if you look at something and think: ‘I can afford that if I don’t buy food next week…’ you can’t afford it.”
6. “Look for your books on amazon!! Also, don’t be afraid to buy an earlier edition of a textbook. It’ll be $3, and almost identical. If it’s too different, oh well, you only wasted $3.”
7. “Take some of your gen-eds at community college and save some money; I sure wish I had done a lot more of that. Once I figured out this was the smart thing to do, though, I took some concurrently with university credits. Places like Bartonline.org have all-online courses at community college fees without having to worry about two campuses; just make sure wherever you attend is accredited!”
8. “I’m not sure I’d advise this, but as an undergraduate I was highly dependent on GoogleBooks. I’m not sure if any of my tutors realised that my essays were entirely composed to references to books that had preview on GoogleBooks. Saved me the time and money that endless library trips would have cost! As a post-grad, I’m beginning to do it a little differently though!”
9. “As far as money saving, if you can, buy and cook your own food. I learned how to make homemade popcorn my freshman year, it’s way cheaper than the microwaveable stuff and you get about 3x as much. It makes for awesome movie nights.”
10. “Make a budget and stick to it. This is the hardest thing I learned in college. It isn’t easy, but if you don’t, you’ll always need the extra cash. I learned to total my expenses at the end of every month, and look at it quarterly. I could then judge what things were a waste of money, and where I could save some cash so I could do more of what I really enjoyed.”
College is one of the most expensive debts that many people will ever incur. But you can cut back on just how much debt you experience with the money-saving college tips listed above. What are some ideas that helped, or have helped, you save? Share in our comments section below.