5 Simple Money-Saving Strategies for College

young woman reading paperwork in her living room,

There are many ways to save money in college if you’re willing to get creative. From tuition, to room and board, to food, to textbooks, to social activities, it all adds up quickly. Here are some tips to save money and still enjoy your higher education.

Don’t Pay Full Price for Textbooks

It’s a good idea to wait until after the first few days of class to buy textbooks. Your professors will let you know if you need the latest edition for class or not. Older versions will be significantly cheaper, and waiting a few days means you’ll avoid big lines at the book store. If you do require the latest edition, you can buy a less-expensive version from a book-trading website or you can borrow the book from someone who has already taken the class. You can also rent textbooks through eCampus, or buy used textbooks on Amazon. Remember to keep your textbooks in good condition so you can resell them at the end of the semester. The library is also a great option. If you only need a book for a short period, check it out for free.

 Cut Back on Food Costs

Many colleges offer unlimited meal plan, but they are usually quite expensive. Save money by choosing a basic meal plan and making your own meals. Buy a crockpot. It’s an easy way to cook even when you aren’t home, and it makes a lot of food, so you’ll have leftovers. Learn how to cook by finding simple recipes online that only require a handful of ingredients.  It’s also a good idea to stock up on granola bars, fruit and nuts. These snacks are helpful when you don’t have time to make or buy food, or when the dining hall is closed.

Don’t Be Afraid to Ask for Student Discounts

Many local businesses offer discounts to students. The savings may not be a lot, but every cent counts, especially when you’re already spending so much on your education.

Don’t Party All the Time

Fun adds up fast, especially drinking at bars. At college, you want to take advantage of all the amazing activities and opportunities to meet people, but try mixing your nights on the town with inexpensive activities like gaming or getting together with friends for movie night. Check out the bulletin boards in the union to see what free events and activities are happening each week, or ask your resident assistant about what’s going on. Groupon or LivingSocial also offer good discounts to activities in the area, so be sure to check their sites periodically.

 Don’t Overspend on Decorations

Spending a lot of money to beautify your college bedroom can break your budget fast. It’s your first time on your own so you should invest in a few decorations to make your room feel comfortable, but don’t put a hole in your pocket. Skip buying mattresses, furniture, lava lamps and other expensive items you don’t need.

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