So, you’ve spent the past few months eating out, partying, and having fun with your new college friends. But now that the holidays are coming up, you suddenly realize that your pre-college savings account has dwindled down to almost nothing.
Saving money in college may seem like an impossible task. But it doesn’t have to be! By taking a few steps now, you can start stashing that cash away to have a nice savings account by the time you graduate.
Do you want to know how? Keep reading to learn 10 tips on saving money in college.
1. Get a Part-Time Job
Alright, so this first one may seem obvious, but it’s often overlooked. Many college students want to forgo a job in favor of focusing on classes and having a good college experience.
While you should definitely do well in school and have a little fun along the way, a part-time job can go a long way in college. There are likely many on and off-campus jobs that will allow you to work a couple days a week.
Even if you’re only making $75 a week, that can quickly add up if left in a savings account.
But the best way to save money is to become a resident advisor. They typically get free room and board in exchange for keeping an eye on other students in the dorm and manning the front door.
2. Don’t Buy New Textbooks
With the average student spending $1,200 on textbooks and school supplies per year, you can bet that the bookstore is a huge financial strain for many. But there are other options.
College bookstores usually sell used books or offer an option to rent them for the semester. You can get your books even cheaper by buying them used online or through friends who have already taken the class.
3. Limit Spending
Your textbooks aren’t the only area you can save money while in college. If you’re like most students, you probably spend a few dollars here and there and don’t realize how quickly it adds up.
Invest in a coffee maker instead of stopping at Starbucks or the coffee cart on the way to class. Use your meal plan to the fullest instead of eating out. Stock up on snacks microwavable meals instead of ordering late-night takeout.
4. Ask for Necessities as Gifts
Of course, there are some things you can’t live without, like toothpaste, shampoo, and deodorant. But that doesn’t mean you have to be the one to buy them.
When your birthday or Christmas rolls around, ask your parents or siblings for a college survival kit to help you stay stocked up on necessities and food.
You can also ask for things like a coffee maker or a year-long Netflix subscription to help you save money on cable and food.
5. Keep an Eye on Your Scholarships
Were you awarded a scholarship to help pay for your education? Congratulations! But the work doesn’t stop there.
Some scholarships (and financial aid options) need to be renewed every year, so make sure you know the deadlines, so you don’t miss out on all that free money.
Of course, you should also keep an eye out for new scholarships throughout your time at college.
If you don’t know where to start, read honorsociety org reviews. This site can keep you up-to-date on scholarships as well as other helpful tools, like test-prep courses and career guides.
6. Take Classes at Community College
It’s no secret that classes are among the most expensive aspects of college (right next to room and board). You can save tons by starting out at a community college where the same classes are offered at a cheaper price.
Write a list of the general education classes you’ll have to take at your four-year university and see if they’re offered at your local community college.
Spend your first year at home getting those gen-eds out of the way or take a few over the summer when you’re home from college.
7. See What’s Free
Of course, you’ll want to have fun while you’re in college, too. This usually means going to parties, seeing movies, or shopping around Main Street with your friends.
However, you can save money by seeing what activities there are for free on campus. Many colleges have free movies nights or fitness classes to keep you busy (and in shape) without spending a dime.
Keep an activities calendar in your room, so you always know when something fun is going on.
8. Ask About Student Discounts
When you do decide to go out, don’t forget to ask about student discounts. Many places, especially in college towns, offer a discount if you show your student ID.
Saving $2 or $3 may not seem like a lot, but it can add up. So, make sure you carry your student ID wherever you go–you never know what business will offer a discount.
9. Sell Your Car
It may seem tempting to bring your car to campus. The allure of driving yourself around campus when it’s cold out or driving yourself home for the holidays is hard to beat.
But cars are a huge financial drain between parking costs, gas, insurance, and inspection.
You’ll likely be able to walk or take public transportation while at school, so you won’t even need your car anyway. Selling it will not only save you money in bills, but it’ll also give you a few hundred (or thousand) dollars to pad your savings account with.
10. Keep Your Nose in the Books
Every college student has been tempted to blow off studying in favor of hanging out with friends. But getting in this habit may cost you thousands in the long run.
Not only is retaking failed classes expensive, but it may affect your scholarships and financial aid.
Failing too many classes may result in staying in college for an extra semester or year, which just means you’ll spend even more on living expenses in addition to paying for those classes again.
So, the best thing you can do for yourself is to stay on top of your schoolwork and make sure you pass your classes.
Saving Money in College: It’s Possible!
If you’ve started your college career, you may be strapped for cash. But you don’t have to survive on the $4.36 in your savings! Just follow our tips for saving money in college to watch that savings account grow.
Are you running low on cash as we speak? Check out these couponing tips to help you save money today.