Quick Tips to Save Money in College

Jackson Silviera |

With college coming into full-swing again, many students are left wondering how they’re going to make it through the school year financially. Dealing with school is already a lot, and having to worry about your finances just makes it harder. Not all hope is lost even if you don’t think you have enough money to survive a full year of school, there are lots of great ways to have fun in college and also save money, you just have to find them.

One of the first things that any college student will complain about is the cost of books. Not only are you paying for the class, but sometimes some very big price tags can come along with the class in the form of textbooks. Some students try to curb this cost by simply not buying textbooks at all, but that causes more problems when you can’t complete your work or need to borrow someone else’s book. A simple solution to this is buying textbooks used, whether that is online or from a friend. Buying books new is always going to be expensive, but sometimes going through your school to buy them used can still add up. Websites like Abebooks and Amazon normally have books at a more reasonable price. Another option is talking to your friends who have already taken the class. Some of them may still have the book laying around and can let you borrow it or buy it for a much cheaper price.

Another common issue for college students looking to save money is finding ways to eat. An unfortunate way students get past this issue is by not eating all. Another bad option is just regularly going out to eat at cheap fast food places. While these may look like easy ways to save money, starving yourself is never a good option, and fast food costs more than it’s worth and will end up using a lot of your money. The best solution I have found is cooking my own meals, but that comes with the price tag of groceries. While this may seem like a bigger problem, shopping doesn’t always have to be expensive. Buying in bulk can help you save money, and making sure you’re aware of sales helps a ton too. Whenever there’s something I use a lot, say ground turkey or chicken, that is on sale, I always make sure to buy some extra that I can freeze and save me some money next time I have to go shopping. Going to the store and only getting what you need for that night's dinner doesn’t always work, and has a tendency to cost more money in the long run. Another trick is to cook in bulk too so that you have food for more than one day. Making a big meal that can last 2 or 3 nights allows you to take some time off from cooking while still having food at home to eat.

An easy way to lose money in college is by trying to go out and do something every weekend. College is very much about the experience and making memories, but you have to be smart about how often you go do things. Going bowling or getting food with your friends adds up quickly and will make your bank account look a lot smaller than you thought it would. That doesn’t mean you can’t go out, it just means maybe you should enjoy the little things more. Having your friends come over and enjoying a night watching movies or something simple can save you a lot of money and you can still have a good time. Going out can still be an option, just making sure you limit your outings not only saves money, but also allows you to do a little better in school. 

College is a time that is all about freedom, but understanding the responsibility within that freedom is very important. Financial freedom is huge, and if you are not responsible in college, your journey to financial independence and freedom can be a lot uglier than you would like. Being smart about buying books for the cheapest price possible is an easy way to start saving all that you can while in school. Buying groceries in bulk and making sure you are making food for multiple meals helps save money and time. Limiting expensive trips and adventures allows you to save some money and have fun doing something small instead. Making sure you save money while enjoying college will make your life a lot less stressful during the school year and give you greater freedom when you’re finally out of school.