If you’ve just paid your college tuition, you will know how flipping expensive it can be. Just seeing all of those digits on your “balance owing” receipt can make your eyes water. On top of that, you will likely discover that there are things you need to pay for at school that you didn’t realize. And you need your regular essentials like face soap, food, clothes, and decent shoes.
Unfortunately, we can’t wish for everything to be free. Nor, can we wave a magic wand and have a fairy plant $500,000 in our bank accounts. What we need to do is manage the best we can on the money we have. And it’s not that hard. You can save some dough by making smart choices on campus. Here are 10 simple ways to save money in college:
Watch Out When Buying Things At The Campus BookstoreThe campus bookstore is one of the amenities that you should be careful of. It's convenient because it's right there, but that ease of access means that it can often come at a price — and that's a high one. Unless you need something ASAP, beware of buying it at the college bookstore. Do your research online and you can probably get it for much cheaper. And don't forget about used things. Image source: Instagram/thebudgetmom
Set Yourself A BudgetWhether you're on a meal plan or on your own, it's very important to set yourself budgets for everything from food to general expenses to dorm room basics. That way, you will hopefully not run out of money three months before school is s over. Keeping track of how much you spend will help you evaluate your purchases and shop smarter. Image source: Instagram/adebtfreelife
Make Your Own Tea And CoffeeYou probably envision yourself strolling on campus with a takeout coffee cup in your hand. It's a nice image but the reality is that the $4 cup of coffee a day can eat through a meal plan or food allowance very quickly. You'll save major cash if you make your coffee at home and take it in a thermos. Let's be honest: In college you're going to be drinking coffee to fuel you so you can study and get your assignments done. You're not going to be drinking it so you can enjoy the fruity notes of the bean. Therefore, the cheapest value pack of coffee you can buy will be more than fine. Image source: Instagram/scraperka
Look For Food Markdowns And SalesIf you're not on a campus meal plan, you're going to be grocery shopping. And you're going to want to shop smart so you don't go broke. That means taking advantage of sales and multi-buy promotions. Buying in bulk is a great way to save and you can split things with your roommates or freeze them. There are countless apps that help you find the cheapest price of things. Always look out for the reduced carts of things nearing expiry or that are a bit wonky. They're still edible and can be frozen. Oh, and brandless items or a grocery store's own brand stuff are often cheaper than branded stuff but they taste the same. Image source: Instagram/javaroma_roasters
Know The Places That Offer Students DiscountsOne big advantage of getting a student I.D. besides being able to go to classes and get into buildings is that it can give you discounts. Many places offer student discounts from clothing stores to fast food places to more random places like travel agents and optometrists. There might be restrictions on the discounts like they are only valid on full-priced merchandise or on certain days of the week, but it's still worth knowing about them. And if you don't see a student discount sign advertised, ask. You might be surprised that a place does have one. Image source: Instagram/lovecakecafeeastbourne
Try To Use What You Have On CampusYour college's campus is like its own world complete with all the amenities so take advantage, especially since your tuition is likely covering part or even all of the cost of them. For example, your school's gym will probably be dirt cheap compared to anywhere else. Same goes with fitness classes, the library, the health center. I could go on. So, find out what's at your school and take advantage. Oh, and remember the photocopy services and the job center. Image source: Instagram/arinda_photos
Buy Used TextbooksYou might love the idea of shiny new textbooks, but you can save yourself serious dough by purchasing used ones. Check out used bookstores, check online, and check your school message boards for people selling their old books. The prices could be as much as fifty percent off the retail price. Don't discount something if it's an older edition because it might be the same stuff. Just double check with our prof and online to ensure you're not missing any vital chapters in an older book. Image source: Instagram/impurveshpatel
Try Walking Or Using Public TransportA lot of people love the idea of going to college with a car because they think it means freedom. But, what it really means is a lot of expenses. Gas, car maintenance, and insurance are the obvious ones, but student parking can be very expensive. On top of that, you might find you have to pay for parking at other places. Besides, the majority of college campuses are walk-able, making cars unnecessary. If you do need to get around somewhere, there's public transportation. And you'll likely be able to get a student discount on it. Even a student transportation pass will be miles *hahaha* cheaper than the cost of a car. Image source: Instagram/seungeun__park
Look For Group DiscountsYou might not think that group discounts would apply to you, but I bet there are some. Some schools, programs, or professors have deals with people. So, if you're buying something, ask. And it never hurts to get a bunch of friends or classmates together to see if a place will offer you a group rate. Even if they offer five percent, it's better than not getting any discount. Every penny saved does make a difference. Image source: Instagram/pulocarbon
Take Advantage Of Student PlansI've talked about student discounts, now let me talk about student plans. FYI: Some might actually be included in your college tuition and you might not even know about it like health and dental plans. Do your search to find out. If your health and/or dental plans aren't included in your tuition, it's worthwhile looking into them because they are often a lot cheaper than you'd be paying elsewhere. While you're investigating, look if there are any other plans from phones to gym memberships. Image source: Instagram/laurynakiskyte
What are your money saving tips? Let us know in the comments!
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