Who loves saving money? Yeah, I think we all do! In today’s post, I’m sharing how you can save money as a college student. College can be an expensive (and important!) investment in your future and it’s important to save money in as many ways as you can.
Being a college student, there are so many financial perks you can receive so you might as well take advantage of them while you can. No more student discounts when you graduate! I’m sharing very doable ways to save money while still enjoying your time in college.
*Some of the below links are affiliate links and are at no additional cost to you. I have only included links to products that I have used myself and would recommend to others.*
How to Save Money in College
1. Learn what Stores give Student Discounts.
Unidays is an awesome company that lets you log into your schools portal to verify your student ID and you can shop at your favorite stores (they have 150+ stores). All you have to do is click the store you want to shop at and Unidays will give you a single use code to apply at checkout. Some of my favorite stores on there are: American Eagle (20%), H&M (15%) and Apple Music (1/2 price + 6 month free).
Amazon gives a student discount price for their membership fees. Your bank may waive fees if you’re a student too. If you are at a store and aren’t sure if they offer a student discount, just ask. The worst they can say is no! Take advantage of these deals if you’re going to shop there anyway!
2. Don’t Fail Classes.
This may seem obvious, but failing classes that you need to graduate only means that you need to retake it and pay for it again. Think of each class you take in the amount of money it costs. If it typically costs 1,800 for a 3 credit class, just remember that each time you attend class. It may also help improve your grades along the way!
Because attending college can be insanely expensive, it may not seem like that big of a deal to add another 1,800 on top of an absurd amount already, but it really adds up when you fail one or two classes. Before you know it, 4 years + 6 months goes by and it’s time to pay the loans back. Just think about how you would feel if you had to pay the class bill now.
3. Don’t take Random Classes.
This ties into the “Don’t fail classes” section. Even though it may seem like a really fun class, if it doesn’t apply to your major/minor, then don’t bother taking it. It may give you a tiny bit of experience or an easy A, but is it really worth paying for a class that won’t help you graduate?
4. Set Everything to Autopay + Be on Top of Bills.
Many cards/bills charge late fees, even if you’re just one day late, so be sure to set everything to autopay. Paying late fees is literally just a waste of money that you won’t get back.
You can’t always set certain bills to autopay, so keep a journal to keep track of all your bills and when they are due. For those bills of mine, I pay them all on the 1st of every month to prevent me from forgetting any late fees.
5. Invest in Reusable Items.
Purchasing certain items will 100% save you money in the long run, even the “short-term” long run. Getting reusable napkins, a coffee machine, a set of dishes, etc can prevent you from spending money on them every month. My grandma got me a blender to use at college and it saved me from having to buy the $7 smoothies from down the road.
6. Eat at Home & Make Your Own Coffee.
If you want to save a big chunk of money, I highly recommend not going out to eat or drink. This includes coffee too! If you make your meals and coffee at home you can save a ton of money. For myself, I typically spend $15 a month on coffee beans, creamer and milk to have coffee every single day. Getting that elsewhere for $4 on average everyday could run you $120 or more. Same goes for eating out-don’t forget gas adds up too!
7. Take Advantage of College Offers.
So many campuses offer pizza or fun treats throughout the year. Take advantage when the school is offering free items/foods. You’re already paying tuition, you might as well get everything you can from the school. This also goes to free events such as campus concerts, comedy shows, etc. It can be a great way to hang out with your friends without spending a dime.
8. Write Down Your Expenses.
For one month, write down every single thing you spend money on. Group it into different categories and total up the expenses. It’ll be a big eye opener to see where your money actually goes. Don’t be surprised if you find yourself saying, “Oh wow, I’m spending $200 a month on random memberships” or “I just spent $300 this month eating out.” Seeing your expenses literally laid out in front of you can help you determine what you can cut back on. I use this budget/expense planner insert for my usual planner.
Now comes the time to budget your money. Budgeting can actually help you save money if you’re good about it. If you are planning on only spending $50 on eating out, you will be more picky with which restaurant you may go to or how many sides you might get. Budget each category you created after you wrote down your expenses. Write the budgets down and keep your wallet to help remind you when you are out and about. Like I mentioned above, I use this budget planner insert for my usual planner.
10. Use Cash for Everything.
Swiping a card makes it so easy to not really know how much we are actually spending. What’s a $10 or $20 here or there? If you took out $100 in cash, that $20 is going to look a lot larger. This will help prevent you from spending money on things you don’t really need. At the beginning of the month, after you’ve set your budget, take out all the cash you are planning to use.
I also want to mention that all of these tips can be applied to whatever budget you have set for yourself. It doesn’t matter if you just want an extra $100 a month or $1000, these tips can help you take better control of your finances and prepare for you the future as well.
Check out my last college post about preparing for the first day of college!
What are your money saving tips while in college? Let me know in the comments down below!