Four years of college are meant to be some of the best years of our lives. We’ve all seen it in the movies and tv shows: friends, partying and freedom.
But real life isn’t that always that fun or glamorous.
How do we balance social life or eating healthy while trying to save money?
Today, we’re going to show you how.
We’ve compiled the largest collection of money saving tips for college students on the planet.
Want to know the best part?
These money saving tips are simple to follow and easy to implement!
TABLE OF CONTENTS
SECTION I. HOUSING
1. Save thousands of dollars by picking the least expensive on campus housing option
Most universities require students to live on campus for a certain number of years. Despite this, they offer many options ranging from a private room with bathroom to sharing a room with a community bathroom. Save a significant amount of money by picking the least expensive on-campus housing option. For example, at U.C. Berkeley there is a $5,000 difference between the least (triple room) and most expensive (single room in suite) housing option.
2. Living off-campus can save money
Getting an apartment off-campus can be a lot cheaper than on-campus housing. Some universities require students to buy meal plans with on-campus housing. When comparing costs, remember to factor in utilities, internet and transportation costs.
3. Getting a roommate will reduce your housing costs
If you decide to live off-campus, get a couple of roommates. You can choose to get maybe a 3 or 4 bedroom apartment or house and split the rent amongst 4-6 people. This would greatly bring down your housing expenses, not to mention the burden of utilities, cable and internet.
4. Always try to negotiate rent
Many college students don’t realize that landlords are open to negotiating rent, even the big property management companies. Reducing your rent a little may not seem a lot but that adds up over the year. For example, if you reduce your rent by $100/month you end up saving $1,200.
5. Ask for a smaller deposit
Landlord usually ask for a month’s rent as deposit. This is insurance against damage and is usually returned back to the tenant after she moves out. You can request the landlord to take a smaller deposit upfront with a promise to take good care of the unit. This tip can save you a few hundred dollars.
6. Get free housing by commuting from home
If you live close to your college, you should consider commuting from home as this can save you thousands of dollars in rent money. It may not be an ideal situation but the savings will go a long way.
7. Go for a minimal decor aesthetic
Many students like jazzing up their apartments with cool decorations, posters and furniture. But keep it simple, you’re going to live in that apartment only for a year or so. Buy only the basics. There are ton of minimal decoration ideas you can find online.
8. Apply to be a Resident Advisor (RA)One of the perks of becoming a Resident Advisor, aside from an impressive accomplishment on your resume, is free housing. This is one of the best kept secrets to saving money in college.Click To Tweet
9. Spend less on decoration
Save money by buying your decoration items from dollar stores or Ikea. They serve the same function as the more expensive items. Again, why spend a lot when you’re only going to live in that apartment for a year and then move out again?
10. Buy used furniture
Most of the furniture you may want can be bought from other students at large discounts. Graduating seniors often sell all their furniture at deep discounts before summer, while other students may wait till Fall to sell what they don’t need for their new apartment. Keep an eye out for posts on your college’s Facebook marketplace group.
11. Sell your furniture
Don’t collect furniture you know you won’t need. Sell your used furniture on your school’s Facebook groups or Craigslist. You may get better value for your stuff on Craigslist, since you aren’t selling to just other students.
SECTION II. BOOKS
12. Try to buy used textbooks
For most of your classes you can save money on textbook purchases by using them used. Amazon almost always has the lowest prices for used books. There are some rare cases where you have to buy the new book, but stick to used textbooks as much as possible. You can save a few hundred dollars every semester. If take an example, like Principle of Economics, a popular introductory economics textbook, we see that the book costs $25.39 to buy the used book and a whopping $268.32 for a new book.
13. Look for ebook versions
Depending on your learning preference, eBooks can be a cost effective alternative to traditional textbooks. For example, Principle of Economics costs $268.32 if you buy the hardcover, but a more reasonable $110.99 for the eBook.
14. Rent an ebook
Amazon allows you to rent an eBook version for most popular textbooks. The cost of the eBook depends on the rental duration. Continuing with our previous example, a four month Principle of Economics rental would cost you $70.81. That’s only 25% the cost of a new hardcover!
15. Save money by renting your textbooks
Renting textbooks is a good idea if you don’t plan on keeping the book after you complete the class. For example, the hardcover rental of Principles of Economics costs $23, which is just 10% of the original retail price.
16. Buy an older edition
You can save a lot of cash by buying older editions of textbooks. Often, the material does not change significantly, and most professors are okay with students using the older edition. Ask your professor if its okay to use an earlier edition, since they generally are aware of changes.
17. Acquire the international editionThe international edition is meant to be sold in overseas markets and is usually much cheaper than the American version, even though it has the same content. The international edition of the Principles of Economics costs $20, which is steal compared to the original $270.Click To Tweet
18. Sell your textbooks at the end of the semester/quarter
Unless you really need the book, your best course of action is to sell it on Amazon or Chegg. The price you may get is hard to predict but these dollars add up to a few hundred by the time you graduate.
19. Before you buy your books, figure out whether you need them
Often students rush in to order their books as soon as they get the syllabus online. It is wise to wait and hear from the professor whether the book is required or optional. Sometimes the professor just uses the book for homework problems, which you can easily get from other students.
20. Share textbooks with classmates
Instantly save money by sharing textbooks with people you know in your class. It is important to know the people you share the book with, so that the book can be available to you whenever you need it.
21. Trade in your textbooks for Amazon gift cards
Amazon has an effortless textbook trade in system that can sometimes be more lucrative than selling it yourself. You simply go to the textbook product page and click on the trade-in button. Print out the shipping label, ship the book and get the gift card in your account within a couple of days.
22. Scan the pages you need
In some classes, you will realize that you only ever really needed a fraction of pages. If you sense that this class maybe of those situations, then borrow a copy from the library or a friend and scan whatever you may need. Scannable by Evernote is a super simple and free app for scanning from your phone.
23. Try free open source textbooks
If you’re taking a foundational or introductory class like Introduction to Thermodynamics, chances are that the concepts in your book will be exactly the same as other books. Therefore, you can use free open source textbooks that will contain pretty much the same information as your $200 book. You can find some open source textbooks here.
24. Borrow textbooks from your university library
University libraries contain thousands of books, including the textbook you need for class. You can either borrow the book for a few days or study from it at the library. On the off chance that the book is not available, don’t worry. Universities can borrow one from their vast network of affiliated university libraries.
25. Swap your books
Many colleges have their own groups on Facebook, which requires an university email address to join. On there, you’ll find textbook buying and selling groups, and groups for just your major. This gives you an opportunity to either buy books for cheap (remember to negotiate), or an easy way to find students who will need your book.
SECTION III. FOOD
26. Make your own coffee
You can save money by simply making coffee at home. Learn how to make your favorite coffee drink, the recipes are easily available online. Instead of spending $4-5 at Starbucks every day, you will have an extra $150 per month or $1,800 per year to put towards other expenses, savings or student loans.
27. If you can’t kick the Starbucks habit, carry a travel cup
Starbucks offers ten cents off your beverage if you are getting your beverage inside your own cup, mug, or tumbler. While ten cents may not seem like a lot, every cent counts when you’re a student. On the plus side, you’re helping the environment.
28. Pick the right meal plan
Universities provide a range of different meal plans. For example, the University of Southern California offers four different plans, which range from $2,750 to $3,350. You should pick your meal plan based on how much you eat. If you know you can’t possibly eat 5 meals a day, then stick to 2 or 3.
29. Maximize your meal plan
Since you’re already paying for the meals, it makes sense to eat at dining halls or cafeterias as much as possible. The meal plans usually consist of a healthy and nutritional diet.
30. Prepackaged salad mixes are expensive
Instead of buying the prepackaged salad mix, which is generally more expensive, create your own mix. There are many combinations that you can find online.
31. Cut out the soda
College campuses have soda available everywhere: dining halls, cafes and vending machines in every building. It may be tempting to buy a bottle of soda right before class or on a hot day, but drink water instead, which is a healthier habit. If you really need your soda fix, buy it in bulk and carry it with you.
32. Buy an infuser water bottle
An Infuser Water Bottle is a simple and cost-effective way to add flavor to your water. You can add fruits, veggies and/or loose leaf tea into the bottle to infuse tea or fruit flavors. It tastes amazing and is good for you.
33. Carry a snackBuy some snacks like bars and chips from the grocery store and keep with you throughout the day, so you have something to eat on the days you're tempted to buy something on campus.Click To Tweet
34. Avoid eating out
This is a no-brainer but it needs to be emphasized. Avoid eating out, including fast food, as much as possible. Cooking at home is materially cheaper and healthier for you.
35. If you eat out, stick to a smaller crowd
When you eat out with more than six people at a restaurant, you’re automatically hit with a 15-20% tip. Additionally, if everyone splits the bill you may get stuck paying for expensive food and alcohol that you didn’t even get to enjoy.
36. Tip less or less often
Don’t feel compelled to tip every time you order a coffee. You’re trying to save money too, so be a reasonable tipper and only tip when necessary.
37. Become an Resident Advisor
Another cool perk of becoming a RA is that you get free meals from the on-campus dining options. Besides a fun experience, being an RA shows leadership skills that employers look out for.
38. Don’t go the grocery store on an empty stomach
Studies have shown that going grocery shopping on empty stomach can lead you to choosing fattier foods and you tend to purchase items you didn’t initially want. For your wallet and health, eat and buy groceries.
39. Plan your weekly meals
This can be a painful task, but luckily there are a few options to help you plan weekly meals. For example, Eat This Much automatically creates meal plans based on your diet and goals. If you prefer something more hands on, then check out Yummly, which has an impressive search engine for recipes.
Sign up for Eat This Much using our code “CampusNow” and get a free 14-day trial (no credit card info required).
40. Create a grocery list
Plan what you need to buy before going shopping for groceries. This way you’ll be less likely to pick up stuff you didn’t actually need, therefore keeping more cash in your wallet. You will also save time by not having to run around look through all the aisles.
41. Clip coupons
Don’t be embarrassed to pull out a stack of coupons at checkout. Be a smart shopper by saving money off your grocery bill by searching for weekly coupon ads, your grocery store’s website and food producer’s websites. Saving $10-20 off your grocery bill is a smart thing to do.
42. Cook large meals at the beginning of the week
Not only will this smart money tip save you time, but will also be easy on the wallet. By cooking a large meal at the beginning of the week, you’re less likely to go out to eat during the week and you will end up wasting less food by only cooking when you run out.
43. Sign up for your grocery store’s club or loyalty card
Grocery stores often have special prices or discounts for their members club, which is free to join. It’s usually very easy to join, but if you’re not up to it then you can ask the cashier to swipe her card or a courtesy card. You can often save 20-30% off your original bill.
44. Learn how to cook your favorite foods
By learning how to cook your favorite meals, you can save money by not eating restaurants or fast food chains. You will also have a gained a useful lifelong skill.
45. Watch out for events with free food
Keep a look out for posters and fliers of events or meetings that offer free food. There aren’t many better things than free pizza and making new friends.
46. Ask friends to pitch for groceries and cook a meal
Split your grocery bill with friends and roommates by offering to cook a group meal together. Everyone can save money!
47. Save big by buying in bulk from wholesale stores
Shop at warehouse stores to get great deals on grocery items you consume in large quantities. Or even better, split the bulk purchases with friends!
48. Stock up on frozen vegetables
Frozen vegetables are more nutritious than canned vegetables and don’t contain added sodium. They are usually picked at peak ripeness and are much more economical than fresh produce.
49. Buy a water bottle
There are water fountains in every building in American colleges and universities. Instead of buying bottled water, buy a water bottle and keep refilling it as you get through your day. It’s not only pocket friendly but good for the environment too!
50. Check out the fish counter for specials
Drop by the fish counter for the daily specials. Buying frozen fish over fresh fish will save you money.
51. Always buy seasonal fruits and vegetables
Fruits and vegetables are cheaper, fresher and more nutritious when in season. Shop around for extra and freeze them for later.
52. Compare prices when buying in bulk
It doesn’t always make sense to buy in bulk. Sometimes, bulk prices can be more expensive or provide less value. If you buy spices in bulk, chances are that it will lose most of its flavor by the time you finish it.
53. Save money by buying whole chickens
Whole chickens are generally a lot cheaper to buy than chicken breasts. If you don’t have time to cut, try to buy chicken breast or legs when they are on sale.
54. Buy canned fish over fresh fish
You can purchase canned tuna and salmon which have similar nutritional values as the fresh counterparts. They are a significantly much cheaper though!
55. Ramen is a college student’s staple
Ramen is incredibly popular amongst college students because it’s very cheap and super convenient. However, be careful because ramen has high amounts of sodium. Make ramen healthier by adding an egg to it.
56. Potatoes can be healthy!
Potatoes are two things: inexpensive and versatile. They also can be very nutritional if you bake, roast them or stuff them with vegetables.
57. Stock up on staples
Foods like olive oil, pasta and canned beans have a long shelf life. These are perfect examples of staples that you can save money on by stocking up when they go on sale.
58. Meatloafs are inexpensive to make
Ground beef is relatively cheap. That’s what makes meatloafs so pocket friendly. Buy a leaner version to make the meatloaf healthier.
59. Learn how to cook cheap and healthy meals
Just because you’re a college student, it doesn’t mean you have to live off cheap and unhealthy food. There are tons of recipes out there that will teach you how to live off healthy meals under $30/week. See this awesome reddit post for more information.
SECTION IV. TUITION
60. Apply for as many scholarships as you can
Scholarships are gifts. They don’t need to be repaid. You can cut your tuition bill by a few thousand dollars a year through scholarships. Check out the Department of Education’s Federal Student Aid website for more information on finding scholarships.
61. Not all scholarships are merit basedThe word scholarship may imply that it is intended for straight A students, but there are tons of scholarships available for specific groups of people or ethnicities and religious groups. Do extensive research on scholarships you may qualify for and apply aggressively.Click To Tweet
62. There are scholarships for students already in college
Another common misconception is that you can only get a scholarship while applying as a high school senior. There are actually many scholarships available for students studying in college. Simply search for scholarship for [freshmen/sophomore/junior/senior] in [college/university]. We found this site that has organized scholarships by year for you.
63. Don’t forget to research for local scholarships
Local businesses and organizations often offer scholarships just for local residents. These scholarships tend to be less competitive and easily overlooked.
64. Apply for federal student loans
Federal student loans is the way to go if you’re looking to borrow money. They have lower interest rates, better repayment terms and many of them don’t accumulate interest as long as you’re an enrolled student.
65. Fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)
The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is an application by the Department of Education to give you access to financial aid options. In addition, states and colleges may use this to determine whether you qualify for financial aid.
66. The U.S. Department of Education also offers grants
The federal grants, like scholarships, do not need to be repaid and can save you thousands of dollars of tuition costs. They are almost exclusively awarded to students with financial needs, unlike scholarships, which are usually awarded based on merit. The Department of Education uses FAFSA to determine if you qualify for a federal grant.
67. Apply for work-study jobs
Work-Study jobs are part-time jobs (on and off-campus) that allow students with financial needs to earn money to pay education expenses. Again, your eligibility for these jobs depends on FAFSA. If you qualify, you will earn at least minimum wage.
68. You may qualify for a tuition waiver
A tuition waiver allows you to not pay part of your tuition. The eligibility varies from university to university. Look up the college’s tuitions and fees or financial aid page to determine if you qualify for any of the programs.
69. Avoid private lenders
Private student loan lenders may have higher interest rates and unfavorable repayment terms. Go to them as a last resort.
70. Shop around for student loan rates
One of biggest mistakes students make when applying for private student loans is not doing enough research. You can save money by shopping around for the best student rates. Don’t feel constrained to take money from a particular lender.
71. Always negotiate with private lenders
Do not take a loan repayment term as set in stone. Savvy students and parents will negotiate directly with the private lender. Leverage your negotiating power by making lenders compete against each other’s rates.
72. Try paying off loan interest in college
Even though this is easier said than done. It is highly beneficial over the long run for you to start paying off your student loan interest while you’re still in college. It accrues for a shorter period of time and you’d pay back less than if you started paying after you graduated.
73. Merge your student loans
If you have more than one outstanding student loan, consider consolidating the loans into one account. It results in a single interest rate.
74. Use student loans only for education expenses
You should restrict yourself to spend your loan principal on just education expenses. The last thing you will want is a massive debt to repay when you graduate and are searching for a job.
75. Analyze your college bill
There are certain items and fees on your college bill that you can opt out of. For example, generally the fitness center fee is optional and if you don’t plan on using it, then you should ask your college to remove it.
76. Try to test out of classes
By testing out of required classes you take fewer classes. This cuts your fees for tuition and you buy fewer books. You may be able to test out if you’ve taken the relevant A.P. or I.B. class in high school.
77. Start your higher education at community college
Community college is significantly less expensive than college. By first spending two years at community college and then transferring to an university, you could cut your education expenses by over 50%! And you’d meet the requirements to get a degree from the university.
78. Pick an in-state university
Most public universities offer state residents a lower tuition than for students out of state. For example, California residents pay $13,400 for tuition and fees per year to attend one of the University of California schools. While an out of state resident is looking at paying $38,108! That’s a massive difference.
79. Get good grades
You’re probably wondering what good grades have to do with tuition. By getting good grades, you avoid having to retake a class. This is especially important for your major classes where most universities require a minimum of 3.0 (B grade) to gain credits.
80. Attend a community college
Community college tuition is a lot lower than a four year university. Some community colleges or technical colleges are well reputed and they can serve as an under-looked option to get an associate’s or bachelor’s degree.
81. Aim to graduate early
You can save tons of money by graduating early or on time. Focus on only taking required classes. Sit with your academic advisor and understand your options for graduating early.
82. Spend summer taking classes
Aside from doing an internship or working at job, you should consider going to summer school at a community college or at the university. This can help you save money and graduate early. Make sure the credits transfer for the courses you take.
83. Always have a full course load
Many students don’t maximize their course allowance. Not only are you paying for those extra units but you are missing an opportunity to complete your required credits as early as possible.
84. Take an online class
Universities have begun to offer courses for credit through their own platform and Massively Online Open Courses (MOOCs). They can sometimes offer value for money. Just ensure that the credits qualify for your degree before signing up.
85. Don’t skip class
You’re paying ten of thousands of dollars a year in tuition fees to attend school. You should do yourself a favor by attending those classes.
86. Study abroad for free or cheap
Many countries like Germany, Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden offer free education for all students regardless of nationality. You could save big by attending one of these fantastic universities and gain some worldly wisdom. Learn more here.
SECTION V. TRAVEL
87. Save money on car insurance by getting good gradesIf you average a 3.0 or higher GPA, most insurance companies will you give a good student discount. Just another to keep those grades up.Click To Tweet
88. Use apps to find the cheapest gas station
Popular apps like GasBuddy show user generated gas prices. They are updated quite often. Now you know where to find the cheapest pump near you.
89. Use public transportation
Using public transportation can save you hundreds of dollars in insurance, gas and car payments. Many cities also offer student discounts for monthly passes.
90. Drive to a spring break destination
If your university is near a spring break destination, you will save money by driving there than flying. Gas expenses can be split amongst all passengers, which makes it a lot cheaper than flying.
91. Use campus transportation
If you live off campus but close to the university, there are high chances that your school has a tram or bus stop near you. Use the campus tram or bus instead of driving to campus and paying for gas and parking.
92. UberPool & Lyft Carpool are awesome alternatives
Uber and Lyft have launched very affordable carpool services where you share the ride with other people going in your direction. This is particularly useful if you don’t own a car.
93. Split your hotel room on spring break
It may be a little cramped but you’ll save money if you split your hotel room with as many as allowed by the hotel. Some hotels will even allow roll away beds, at charge, but this would still be cheaper than getting multiple rooms.
94. Don’t get a car
Either don’t buy a car or don’t bring your car to college. Cars cost a lot of money – gas, monthly payments, insurance, registration and parking!
95. Ask a friend for a ride
If you have exhausted all your other transportation options, ask a friend for a ride. Remember to repay his or her generosity by offering money for gas.
96. Hunt for discounts on your car insurance
There are dozens of discounts available for your car insurance. While the option qualification for those discounts may vary, you could simply call your insurance company and ask them to go over all discounts that may be applicable to you.
97. Try to stay on your parent’s car insurance
The insurance premiums your parents pay would be considerably cheaper than what you would given the number of years they’ve been covered. Try to stay on their coverage as long as possible/allowed by your insurance company.
98. Purchase airline tickets in advance
You probably know how many times a year you’re going to be going home and your school calendar gives you dates for holidays. You should try to book your flights as early as possible to secure great fares.
99. Buy a bicycle
Bicycles are great to own, especially if you live off-campus. You can quickly get to and from all the points of interest near you without spending any money. It’s quite an exercise too!
100. Don’t forget a bicycle lock
If you own a bicycle, you have to have a bike lock or your bike will definitely get stolen. Buy one off Amazon for $6-30 and always remember to securely lock your bike.
101. If all else fails, walk
Everything you need when you live near or on campus is usually within walking distance. Try walking to your destination next time instead of driving or calling for an Uber, and save yourself a couple of bucks.
SECTION VI. FINANCE
102. Avoid ATM fees
Plan your expenses out or keep enough cash on you so you don’t have to pay unnecessary ATM fees. ATM fees are easy enough to avoid.
103. Borrow only what you require
This goes for any type of debt you take on, credit card or loans. Only borrow what is absolutely necessary. You don’t want to graduate with tons of debt to repay.
104. Keep an eye on your credit score
Your credit score signifies your ability to pay back lenders. Sign for a free credit monitoring service like CreditKarma. You are also eligible to get a free credit report score every 12 months through the Federal Trade Commission. Watch out for any serious dings on your credit report.
105. Build your credit history
You may have loans and bills to pay but try to prevent unnecessary damage to credit score. It takes a long time to rebuild. Your credit score will become more important once you graduate and need to get a home or car loan. Building a stable score early will save you money over the long run. CreditKarma also advices you on how you can build your credit.
106. Open a student checking account
Pick a checking account that waives monthly fees and doesn’t have a high minimum monthly balance requirement. You can also sign up for an online only bank account like Simple.com
107. Open a high interest savings account
Your bank may offer to open a savings account for you, but you’ll soon realize that you’re better off keeping the money under your mattress since the interest rate is incredibly low. There are high interest savings accounts like American Express, Ally Bank and Barclays that offer around 1%. It is not a lot of money but its better than 0.06% (current national average). They don’t take fees or have minimum requirements.
108. Keep the change
Instead of giving away all your change or leaving it lying around, make it a habit to deposit the change into your savings account. Remember, every cent counts.
109. Don’t use deposit your coins into a cash machine
These machines are found at grocery stores and banks. They will accept your coins and give you cash or gift cards in return, but take a high fee to do this. You’re much better off depositing the money into your bank account.
110. Save for a rainy dayIt's never too late or too early to start saving. Set a target and build your nest egg early. Having an online only savings accounts makes it harder for you to take away money from it unless you really need it.Click To Tweet
111. Create a budget
Creating a budget is a boring exercise but get yourself to do it. You will know how much money you can spend and how much you can save. Download a student budget template and fill it in.
112. Stick to your budget
If you have created a budget, remember to stick to it. It’s very easy to go off track and then become demotivated. Be disciplined and you will save money.
113. Pay your bills on time
Late bills have two consequences – they can hurt your credit score and add late fees. If you have a budget, you’ll know when what payments needs to be made so you can avoid this situation.
114. Sign up for Mint.com
Mint is a free personalized budget tracking and managing website that pulls in your credit card and bank transactions to keep you on track. It makes your budget tracking job a lot simpler.
115. Learn how to invest
Read up about the basics of investing your money. Even if you can’t invest or save money now, this always will be useful throughout your life. If you do decide to start investing in the stock market, sign up for Robinhood, which has no trading fees.
116. Invest your savings
You can sign up for automated investing services like Acorns, Betterment or Wealthfront which will invest for you (according to your risk appetite). You’ll earn more money than just interest off your bank accounts.
117. Pick a no annual fee credit card
Credit cards are important – they help you build credit. But only get one if you can stick to your budget. If you get one, pick one with no annual fees.
118. Choose a credit card wisely
You should pick a no annual fee credit card that rewards you for your purchases. Like the Chase Freedom or the Citi Double Cash Card which give you cash back on your purchases. The Chase Freedom card offers 5% cash back on rotating categories like Amazon and movie theaters. You can also sign up for an American Express Blue Cash Everyday which offers 3% cash back on groceries all year.
119. Boost your credit card rewards
Credit card companies offer extra points or cash back if you shop through their online portal. You can earn anywhere from 2-10% extra by simply clicking through a link and making the same purchase.
120. Stay within your limits
You should only spend what you can pay off on your credit card. It is tempting to charge your card and then worry about it later, but don’t do that.
SECTION VII. INCOME
121. Explore your passions
College is great to acquire knowledge and learn new skills. But it’s also a time to explore your passions. A hobby today can become an income source tomorrow. The internet is filled with examples of people who created something as a hobby and then became extremely popular.
122. Sign up for research opportunities
There are tons of research projects or surveys being conducted on campus. Studies usually pay above minimum wage to answer questions and perform simple tasks.
123. Build marketable skillsBy attending a coding bootcamp or learning online, you can master marketable skills like programming and graphic design. Make some money freelancing online. These skills will improve your chances of landing a job after graduation too.Click To Tweet
124. Become a campus ambassador
Brands are constantly searching for students to become a campus ambassador and organically promote their products. Some brands pay, while others reward you with perks and gifts.
125. Sell your stuff
Sell or donate anything you don’t need. Books, furniture, clothes and electronics. Don’t hoard things you won’t ever use again.
126. Get a job on-campus
Many jobs on campus are generally reserved for work-study programs, but you can still apply for other positions or just work during events. Even though there are probably hundreds of students applying for the same job as you, be persistent. Try asking someone you know who works in that department for a referral.
127. Get a part-time job
Apply for part time jobs off campus if you’re having difficulty securing something on at the university. Local businesses are always looking for help. Apply your class room theory in the real world.
128. Freelance online
Sites like Upwork allow freelancers to connect with employers for projects. People are constantly looking for university educated freelance writers, graphic designers and programmers. Jobs can be competitive to land.
129. Work for the on demand economy
There are plenty of startups looking for on demand workers. If you own a car, you could sign to be an Uber or Lyft driver. Others like Postmates or TaskRabbit don’t require cars, so you can use a bicycle to service your immediate area.
SECTION VIII. MISCELLANEOUS
130. Buy supplies from a dollar store
131. Cut down on your utility bill
Leaving lights and switches on adds to your utility costs. Even though you may share your utilities with roommates, make an effort to cut down unnecessary expenses whenever possible. You will also have a positive impact on the environment.
132. Wash your dishes
You can reduce your utility bill by washing your dishes instead of using the dishwasher.
133. Limit disposable cutlery
Don’t buy disposable plates and cutlery. They may be convenient but it’s cost effective to buy real cutlery, which isn’t even very expensive. You reduce your carbon footprint too.
134. Air dry clothes
By air drying your clothes (on a drying rack or even a dryer’s low heat setting), you will reduce your utility bill a lot. This method also expands the life of your clothes.
135. Vices are expensive
Habits like smoking are very expensive to maintain. You will save a lot of money by reducing or avoiding smoking and drinking. It’s good for your health too!
136. Apply for a sales tax refund
Many states offer a refund on sales tax for textbooks. It takes a couple of minutes but you could get back about a $100 a year. To find out more about your state, read this guide.
137. Find a low cost mobile plan
Save money off your mobile phone plan by switching to a low cost carrier. Get a cheap data plan and supplement your limit by switching on wifi wherever available.
138. Stay on your parent’s plan
A family plan is significantly cheaper than individual plans. If you aren’t already on a family plan, you can get on a family plan with roommates who share the same billing address.
139. Upgrade your phone less often
Mobile carriers often subsidize the cost of new phones with expensive data plans. By upgrading less often and using a carrier like Ting, which allows you to bring your own cell phone you could pay only $20-26/month, compared to the hundreds people spend at the larger carriers.
140. Stay healthy
Avoid the expense of doctors and prescription drugs. Students fall sick and come to class, it’s easy for germs to spread. Take your flu shots on time and try your best to not get sick. Buy your over the counter medicines when they go on sale.
141. Use reusable cloth bags
Many cities are enacting bans on plastic bags, where stores like supermarkets have to charge the customer for a plastic bag. Remember to take your own bag or a cloth bag instead.
142. Drop unnecessary reoccurring subscriptions
Sign up for a free service like Truebill, which tracks your monthly subscriptions and allows you to easily cancel any service you don’t need anymore.
143. Find creative ways to recycle
Recycling is a cornerstone of saving money for college students. Have a half-filled notebook from the previous semester? Use the remaining pages for your new class.
144. Some schools offer software
You may have access to some software for free through your school. Like Microsoft offers an entire catalog of software for free through DreamSpark. There is no Microsoft Office though.
145. Download open source software
Instead of spending hundreds of dollars on software, try using open source software that you can download for free. Open Office is a popular alternative to Microsoft Office. Similarly, you can use Google Docs and Spreadsheet for most your basic school work.
146. Don’t feel the need to keep up
You will probably meet people who have more money to spend than you. Don’t feel the need to keep up with them. Stay away from people who spend a lot of money.
SECTION IX. SHOPPING
147. Sign up for Amazon Prime Student
Amazon offers free two day shipping if you’re a prime member and a host of other benefits like video streaming. They also offer some of the lowest prices for college essentials. Amazon Prime Student costs $49/year but it’s a no-brainer.
Join Prime Student FREE Two-Day Shipping for College Students
148. Buy clothes on sale
Don’t try to be a trend setter. Track when your favorite brands go on sale and purchase your clothes then.
149. Buy detergent in bulk
You will probably use it up by the end of the year, so you should get the largest size. If it’s too heavy to carry around, pour the detergent into a smaller bottle for your weekly use.
150. Buy refurbished electronics
Manufacturer refurbished electronics work as well as any new device and often come with a warranty. Save big by buying older and refurbished electronics.
151. Don’t make impulse purchases
By sticking to a budget and keeping discipline, you should know when and how much you can spend. Take a day and ask yourself if you really need it and then complete your purchase.
152. Shop during tax-free weeks
Many states have a tax free week, usually before the beginning of the school year. Use this time to complete most of your shopping for the year. It’s a great opportunity to save money on big items like laptops.
153. Don’t buy extended warranties
Extended warranties are up-sells stores offer to improve their margins. Most brands offer a 1-2 year warranties anyway, so you’re not going to gain much value from those extra years. Those warranties don’t cover damage caused by the customer.
154. Search for coupon codes
Before you buy anything online, always do a quick search for a coupon code. Simply search for the brand + “coupon code” or brand + “promo code” and you’ll find a list of promo codes to try out.
155. Buy discounted gift cards
Another favorite tip is to buy discounted gift cards off sites like Raise. They have most stores and offer 10-15% off the gift card value. You can save tons of money this way.
156. Sell your unwanted gift cards
If you keep getting gift cards you don’t want, you should cash them in. Sell them on Raise or other similar sites.
157. Sign up for a price tracking app
There are cool apps like Earny and Paribus that track your purchases and their prices. They automatically file a refund with the retailer if the price drops during the 60 day window.
158. Save money on magazine subscriptions
You can save between 50-75% on certain magazine subscriptions like The Economist, The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal.
159. Save money on Apple products
You can use your student ID to get up to $200 off a new laptop. Apple also offers discounts on iPads for students.
160. Get Adobe software for cheap
You can get up to 60% off Adobe’s creative suite, which includes Photoshop and Illustrator, if you have a student email address.
161. Discounts for clothing stores
162. Save on Windows Laptops and PCs
If you’re looking for a Windows machine, you can get special student discounts at Dell, HP, Lenovo and Sony. The offers varies from time to time.
163. Subway student discount
Subway is a relatively inexpensive and healthy way to sustain a college student’s diet. Few students know that you can get 10% off your purchase with a student ID card.
164. Free soft drinks for students
Most Chipotle and Chik-Fil-A locations offer students a free drink when they show their student ID.
165. Student discount at Burger King
You can also get 10% off your order at Burger King by flashing your student ID.
166. Sam’s Club Collegiate membership
Student discounts vary by location but you can sign up for the Collegiate Membership and get a $15 gift card.
167. Microsoft Store discount for students
The Microsoft Store also has a student section where you can save on laptops, Surface tablets, software and accessories.
168. Wireless carrier discounts
If you decide to sign up or stick with one of the larger carriers, be sure to check out their discount programs for students. Verizon, Sprint and AT&T offer special discounts and plans just for students.
169. Save money on packages
You can save 20-30% off your shipping charges when you show your student ID card at FedEx.
SECTION X. ENTERTAINMENT
170. Museum discounts
Most museums offer reduced entrance fees for students. Remember to carry your student ID with you though.
171. Have a budget in mind when you go out
Drinking out can be quite expensive. Make a mental note of how much you can spend and stick to that number. It’s easy to get carried away, especially when you’re not sober.
172. Avoid buying rounds of shots
Buying rounds of shots for friends is expensive because they add up very quickly.
173. Cut the cord
Cable TV is an expensive habit that you should break in college. You can save around $75 a month (or $900 a year) by cutting the cord. There are plenty of options to watch TV shows or sports on the Internet.
174. For those of you who can’t cut the cord
Some people need cable TV in their lives. If you’re one of them, you can still save money by dropping premium channels. Subscribe to those channels individually online or buy your favorite shows.
175. Ask to reduce your cable and Internet bill
By calling customer service of your cable and Internet provider, you can save hundreds of dollars per year. You can in many cases ask them to lower your bill because it’s too much for you to pay as student.
176. Look for promotional offers on cable and internet
Providers often have seasonal or yearly promotions for new customers. Take advantage of these promotions. When the promotional period is up, you may still be able to get the lower price by calling up the company and negotiating for a better deal.
177. Volunteer your time
Volunteering in the community is an awesome way to spend to your time. It’s free, looks great on a resume and more importantly helps out those in need.
178. Go for a movie when the student discount applies
Almost all movie cinemas offer student discounts. The days and show times vary but if you plan ahead, you could save a few dollars. Remember to carry your student ID with you though.
179. If you drink, buy alcohol in bulk sizes
If you are going to drink alcohol in your apartment, you will save money by buying bigger bottles of alcohol. This is especially true when you buy from a warehouse store like Costco, which doesn’t require a membership for alcohol.
180. Attend events on campus
Your university probably hosts lots of interesting events with movie screenings, guest speakers and art performances. These on-campus events are usually free to attend.
181. Go for free events in your city
There are a ton of free events going on in your city. Find something you like or try something new. Many museums offer free student days too!
182. Buy cheap alcohol
Don’t waste your money on expensive alcohol. You’ll save money by buying cheap alcohol.
183. Pre-drink before going out
You can save a great deal of money if you pre-drink before going out to clubs or bars.
184. Find happy hours near you
Look out for happy hours at your local bars. Try to also find “reverse happy hours” which are offered at more accessible times like at night or on the weekend.
185. Get a group rate when booking spring break
If you already have a group of friends to go with for spring break, it makes sense to ask for a group booking rate. It will be cheaper than booking individually.
186. Opt for an all inclusive package for spring break
All inclusive packages tend to include food, drinks and hotel costs. You may save money by getting one of these packages but it will, at least, prevent you from going over your budget.
187. Experience alternate spring break ideas
Organizations on campus, especially community related ones, offer alternate spring breaks like trips to Costa Rica where students volunteer their time. It is a rewarding experience that’s lighter on the wallet too.
188. Plan your spring break in advance
Don’t book a last minute trip. Airfare and accommodation will be expensive. Plan your spring break months before and save money.
189. Search cheap date ideas
You don’t have to break the bank to impress your date. There are plenty of cheap date ideas online like going for a free concert in the park.
190. Daily deal sites offer some neat deals
You can score great entertainment options like concert tickets, tickets to sporting events, plays and other things to do on daily deal sites like Groupon and Living Social.
191. Buy tickets to sporting events at the last minute
Sites like StubHub offer tickets to sporting events and performances sold by other users. When there aren’t many buyers, sellers are forced to lower their prices at the last minute. You can score great deals.
192. Use ad-supported music streaming options
There are plenty of music streaming options like Spotify and Pandora that offer free, ad-supported versions. Unless you’re a super user, avoid paying for the premium version.
193. Join a student organization or club
Student organizations and clubs are great ways to meet fellow students who have similar interests. It’s also a fun way to keep yourself busy and involved on campus.
194. Stay healthy and fit
It is important that you remain healthy and exercise regularly. Intramural sports teams are exciting avenues for meeting people and working without paying for a fitness center.
195. Play board games with your friends
Board games are an inexpensive way to keep yourself and a group of friends entertained for hours without spending a large amount of money.
196. Share a video streaming account
If you have roommates, you can share the costs of a video streaming service like Netflix, Amazon or Hulu. These services each host a massive library of video content. You can say bye bye to cable TV.
197. Buy prepaid movie tickets
The Automobile Association of America (AAA), your school ticket office and Costco all sell discounted tickets for movies. You can save $4-5 per ticket by keeping them handy or planning in advance.
198. Explore nature
Go camping or day-hiking with friends to state and national parks near you. You can get a full day’s worth of entertainment and exercise for $10-15 per person.
199. Don’t gamble
College students may spend their time playing card games with friends. Avoid gambling, but if you do, then play small pots and always give yourself a budget that you will not exceed.
200. Buy old video games
If you wait a month or two, you can save hundreds of dollars on video games. Gamers tend to finish the game quickly and re-sell them online or trade them in on Amazon. Buy video games used.
201. When in doubt, ask for the discount
What’s the bottom line?
You can save money by implementing these simple tips during your time at university.
Did I miss anything?
Or maybe you have a question about one of the tips.
Either way, let me know by leaving a comment below right now.