My senior year of college was the first time I ever lived on my own. It was also the first time I had to manage a food budget, living expenses, and my finances in general. To say I was overwhelmed would be an understatement. Luckily for me, there were tons of easy ways to save money as a college student. These back to college money saving tips are a great way to get you on track to tackle that college debt or to help you save for your spring break vacation!
8 Simple Back to College Money Saving Tips
1. Use Your Student ID
This is my #1 tip! So few students take advantage of their student discount off campus. You’d be surprised at how many restaurants, clothing stores, and even newspapers there are that over discounts. Some of my favorites are:
- Banana Republic has a 15% discount for college student (on full-price merchandise only)
- Apple offers 5% off most purchases but the biggie is that they also give students $200 discount on Mac computers!! This discount blew me away. You so rarely see discounted Apple products so this was an awesome surprise!
Looking for more discounts? The Simple Dollar has a list of 60 student discounts that you can definitely put to use.
2. Take Advantage of On Campus Events
I was a part of many on campus clubs and I went to A LOT of events. Most on campus events are free AND often have other freebies available such as food, t-shirts, and more. A free lunch and a place to hangout with friends is both fun and a great way to save money.
3. Keep Applying for Scholarships
Did you know that you can continue applying for scholarships even while you’re in college? Applying for scholarships can be a lengthy or quick process depending on their requirements. You can find a wide variety of scholarships to apply to on fastweb.com. This is a great way to fill out your college budget. Scholarships can give you the option to study more and work less.
4.Volunteer to Afford Travel
Do you want to travel during Spring or Winter break but can’t find the room in your budget? A great way to travel on a low income is by going with an on-campus volunteer organization. I traveled on volunteer trips to New Orleans, LA twice, and Los Angeles, CA once for just the price of a plane ticket. While during the day I was required to work at different volunteer organizations (which I loved) I also was able to go sight seeing while I was there. The cost of food and lodging was covered by the school. Sweet! You won’t destroy your budget AND you also won’t feel like you missed out by staying home.
5. Use Credit Cards Cautiously
One of my best friends made me so jealous during college because she was always able to afford the best clothes and jewelry. Little did I know that she was racking up thousands in credit card debt. Ah! It’s easy to go crazy when you get a shiny new credit card (even Bargain Babe has struggled with credit card spending!) but that debt will haunt you during and after college.
Use credit cards responsibly by spending within your budget, understanding how credit card interest works, and limiting your spending to necessary purchases. It may seem tough to make do with less but it will pay off in the long run.
6. Make Your Own Coffee
Many of my friends practically lived at the on campus coffee house BUT it cost them. With the price of a cup of coffee being around $2.50 a pop this daily treat can add up quick. Make coffee at home and you’ll save tons of money AND you won’t have to wait in long lines to get your caffeine fix.
7. Set Up a Bank Account…with Student Benefits
Did you know that many local banks offer accounts specifically for college students. These accounts have benefits such as low or no minimum balances, free check and debit cards, and more. This means that college is a great time to open a bank account!
8. Buy Used Textbooks and Sell Them Back
Buying college textbooks can be one of the highest expenses of college (besides tuition that is) but still many students choose to buy from the student bookstore! Instead, buy your textbooks used and sell your old textbooks. There are tons of ways to get college textbooks on the cheap but two of my favorites are Chegg.com and Boundless.com.