The price of college is rising in the United States, with the average student paying approximately $35,000 per year on tuition, living expenses, and supplies
Unless you receive financial support from family, you’ll likely have to work throughout college and take out loans. Fortunately, there are various ways to save money as a college student (and no, this doesn’t mean eating Ramen noodles daily).
Follow these tips and tricks to save money in college:
Leverage Your Student ID
Your student ID holds much more power than you might think, especially if you live in a large university town. Various retailers give generous student discounts, including Target and American Eagle. You can also use your student ID to save money on an expensive purchases like laptops (i.e., Apple gives students a discount of up to 10%). Although there are multiple student budget hacks, many people underestimate how much you can save with a student ID.
Use Free Budgeting Tools
For many young adults, college is the first time they’re entirely independent. While their parents may give them money, they still have to maintain a budget to keep them afloat. Between extracurriculars and their studies, college students don’t have a lot of free time. No college student wants to break out an Excel sheet and manually track their daily cash inflows and outflows. University students should consider using free budgeting applications like Mint. This application lets users manage all their accounts in one place, view their credit scores, and track investments and bills.
Use Student Resources
Your university probably has free or low-cost resources exclusively for students. These resources include career planning, counseling, and a gym membership. Furthermore, the university’s library offers access to free books, digital media, and online tools that can assist you with your assignments. Many universities also provide medical services at a low cost or free. Not sure what student resources are available at your university? We recommend contacting the Student Services Center to learn more.
Although college students have a busy schedule, they need to maintain a healthy diet. Poor eating habits can hinder their academic performance. Fortunately, there are various ways to get free meals while in school. For instance, universities may offer free food on campus during homecoming week. Joining a club may also help you save money in college by providing you access to free meals and snacks. If you find that you’re constantly battling an empty stomach, you should reach out to your university’s Student Services to see if there is an on-campus food pantry.
Save Money on Textbooks
Textbooks (physical and digital) can cost thousands of dollars each semester. Not only that, but you may only use the textbook a handful of times. Your university may offer tools that let you search for courses that don’t require a textbook (or require low-cost books). You may also want to consider renting textbooks, as doing so is often a more affordable alternative to buying them. Lastly, don’t assume that your university’s bookstore has the best-priced books. You should always browse Amazon and eBay to see if you can get a better deal.
A Final Glance: The Best Money-Saving Tips for College Students
College students typically don’t have time for a full-time job, and many must take out loans to support their education. Nevertheless, you can still enjoy your college years while maintaining a frugal lifestyle. Businesses love to help college students, so always be on the lookout for discounts and ways to save! In addition, network with other students or inquire with your university to learn more about free resources. Lastly, don’t go hungry because you’re trying to stick to your budget. Even If you don’t eat at your university’s dining center, there are ample opportunities to get free food. If you follow these student budget hacks, you’ll enjoy your college experience without worrying about money.