NOTE TO READER: This guest blog article post was originally published on December 18, 2014. The article has since been updated, and it was re-published on the new EI Solution website on January 25, 2021.
It seems like only yesterday that I was in college, but the truth is that it was actually well over a decade ago (yikes!). Even though I was lucky enough to have a couple of scholarships and an on-campus job, I had to get pretty creative in order to have enough money for gas, food, and fun. I didn’t quite realize it at the time, but the saving habits you start while you’re on your own will end up affecting your life after you receive your degree, so it’s best to be smart with your money. Here are my 15 favorite money saving tips for college students:
- Set a Budget and Stick to ItWhile in college, you can easily spend money on things that don’t matter — a party here, a dinner date there. Budgeting helps you track how much you are spending and how to manage it. You should make it a goal to set aside some amount of money at the end of each month, then transfer that to your savings account.
- RecycleOne thing that you can recycle in college is your books. Sell last term’s books and use the money to rent new books.
- Stay With RoommatesFind a room or an apartment that you can share with several people. The benefit of this is shared costs. Also, you will find that you spend about 30 percent less as compared to living by yourself.
- Shop AroundIt might be good a good idea to jump on the first room that you come across due to high demand; however, you might end up paying extra for it. Move around and compare rates before committing to a room or apartment.
- Clip CouponsSure your grandma probably already told you this one, but it’s a great piece of advice: get the newspaper on Sundays and clip coupons. You can also keep an eye on deal sites like Groupon and LivingSocial for discounted tickets, services, and more.
- Watch Your Credit Card ExpendituresOn top of student loans, most students find themselves with high credit card debt after graduation. Watch your spending so that you don’t have an enormous credit card debt after graduation.
- Work HardGood grades and exceptional performance in sports will help you qualify for special aid and scholarships.
- Use Student DiscountsGet your student ID and take advantage of discounts on items ranging from computers to movie tickets. You can also access traveling discounts that will make traveling easy for you.
- Bike It and Bus ItBuying a bike will eliminate expenses such as a monthly car note, gas, and car insurance. Public transport can also reduce your commuting costs.
- CarpoolWork on your social skills and find friends that you can share fuel costs to and from the campus. Carpooling can save you a lot of money over the duration of your college experience.
- Home BrewLattes are expensive over a semester or quarter. It’s so much cheaper to brew your own coffee and carry it in a reusable mug with a lid.
- Bulk UpIt is always cheaper to buy items in bulk than one by one. When you go shopping next time, make sure you buy groceries that will last you a week or more; this will save you money on gasoline to and from the store.
- Go ThriftyFind new destinations in thrift stores, consignment stores, and garage sales. The items you will get are used, but will save you a lot of money.
- Enjoy Free EntertainmentFind local festivals and events that have free admission, or take a nice, long (free!) walk with your friends.
- Wait for DVD VersionsNew movies are expensive when they hit the theater for the first time. Wait for Blu-ray versions, which are cheaper. Netflix is your friend!
About the Guest Blog Author: This guest blog article was written by Tim Smith. Tim is a father of 2 and a blogger living in Austin, Texas. Tim writes for Modernize.