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Tuesday, February 23, 2021

83 Ways to Save Money While in College

Some college costs are fixed, like tuition. In other areas, however, there's a lot of room to save quite a bit of money. Here are 83 ways you and your college student can save. 


1. Shop around for books.

2. Rent books for non-major courses.

3. Return rented books on time!

4. Use the library's resources.

5. Do NOT buy your supplies at the college bookstore where the prices are high!

6. Get what you need ahead of time.

7. Re-use whatever you can.

8. Use a 3 ring binder, rather than spiral notebooks. Avoid throwing away half used spirals. Only use the notebook paper you actually need.

9. Use campus printers to save on buying one and expensive ink.

10. Take care of your supplies to make them last as long as possible.

11. Sell your notes at the end of the semester.


11. Live at home, rather than on campus.

12. Buy a rental property and have your student be the property manager.

13. If renting, have one or more roommates. Share the rent, utilities, and the chores.

14. Turn off unneeded lights and appliances, etc. to keep the utility bills down.

15. Limit eating out and ordering in!

16. Batch cook. Make dinner for four or eight then store individual portions for grab and go or quick microwavable meals.

17. Buy in bulk when possible.

18. Eat what is on sale.

19. Consider being an RA to cover your room and board expenses.

20. Get used furniture for your space. Only acquire what you can't live without.

21. Check yard and garage sales as well as swap meets for good furniture for pennies on the dollar.

22. Check Freecycle and Craigslists' free section regularly.

23. Use student discounts every chance you can.


24. Don't have a car. Save the expense, insurance, gas, parking fees.

25. Use public transportation as your first choice. Uber, etc. is much more expensive.

26. Get a bike and a good lock.

27. Walk wherever you can. Good shoes and a good backpack is much cheaper than a car.

28. Carpool to and from the airport or train station for term breaks.

29. Organize carpools for a small fee.

30. Consider carpooling or taking the bus or train home for break. Use what's cheapest.

31. Ask for and use student discounts every trip.

32. Volunteer rather than go to the beach for Spring break.

33. Use air bnb and youth hostels rather than hotels when traveling.


34. Take advantage of on campus entertainment covered by your activities fee.

35. Have a movie night with friends rather than heading to the cinema.

36. Use a prepaid phone plan.

37. Avoid overage fees. Set alerts to help you stay under your plan limits.  

38. Use the college's wifi as much as possible.

39. Use Amazon Prime for students to get free shipping and free entertainment!

40. Ask for and use student discounts everywhere you go. 

41. Don't buy drinks with dinner; the mark up is huge, especially for alcohol.

42. Sign up for local library and parks department event notices and attend the excellent free programs they offer.


43. Write a thoughtful letter (not email) rather than giving a gift. These are even more rare than homemade gifts.

44. Make homemade gifts. Knit or crochet something. Draw a picture. Write a poem. Build something.

45. Give gifts of service. Offer to paint your old bedroom, vacuum your parents' cars, fix, build, or assemble something.

46. Suggest a system that limits how many people you are expected to give gifts to.

47. Bake a cake, muffins, or other special dessert. It is cheaper and tastier than buying one. 

48. Have potluck meal gatherings. Everyone brings something, rather than the host providing everything.

49. Ask for practical items for birthday, Christmas, and holiday gifts.


50. Upcycle! Buy good quality used clothing. Wear it as is or modify it a little to breathe new life into it.

51. Hang your clothes, rather than drying them. Save on utilities as well as wear and tear on your clothing.

52. Shop clearance. Watch for seasonal sales and take advantage of them. Buy off season.

53. Have a core wardrobe of classic, durable items. 

54. Organize periodic clothing swaps with your friends.


55. Find a free checking account. If taking student loans, see if that bank or credit union will give you one.

56. Take the free checks offered with new accounts - even if you do "everything" online.

57. Track spending. Stay within your budget AND avoid expensive overdraft fees. is a free budgeting and spending tracking program.

58. Avoid credit cards with annual fees. (Your bank or credit union may offer credit cards with favorable terms since you bank with them.)

59. Pay credit card balances on time and in full every month. Interest and late charges quickly make purchase prices double.

60. Start a change jar. Dump your lose change in every night. At the end of the term, cash it in an buy something special.


61. Ask about student discounts when buying a computer.

62. Ask about student discounts on software, too.

63. Get antivirus software to protect your computer and phone.

64. Keep your laptop secure.  Only used closed beverage cups near your computer.

65. Buy a computer that meets your needs. Unneeded features are quite costly. 

66. If you can't use the campus printers and must get your own. Get a basic printer that prints slowly. You don't need glossy photo capabilities for term papers...

67. Upgrade offers on your phone are just enticements to get you to spend more. Don't upgrade your phone until you need to.

68. In states charging sales tax, take advantage of tax free shopping weeks.

69. Comparison shop whenever possible. 

70. Yard and garage sales are great opportunities to socialize with friends and pick up clothing, supplies, and decor very inexpensively.

Check freecyle and the free section of Craigslist regularly. 


71. Use the student clinic for basic medical needs.

72. Use the college's gym for exercise classes and equipment.

73. Run or walk in the neighborhood or campus gym. Skip the pricey gym membership fees.

74. Don't forget to ask for student discounts for all services.

75. Choose hairstyles that grow out well in order to avoid many upkeep haricuts.

76. Use the local beauty school for discounted haircuts and services.

77. Use groupon for discounted services around campus.

78. Do at-home mani-pedis and skip the expensive salon.

79. Consider a low cost shave club for cheaper razors. 


80. Form study groups with your classmates. Go over each other's lecture and text notes. Meet to go through problem sets for STEM classes, too. Tutor each other on the ones you miss.

81. Use the writing center on campus.

82. Use campus provided tutors, as well as TA and professor office hours.

83. If you need to hire a tutor, hire an upperclassman. S/he has a limited budget, too! Barter, if possible. They tutor, you cook, cut hair, help them move, or decorate or clean their apartment, etc.

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