Are expenses towering over the best of your school days? Snacks cost too much? Money can’t buy you happiness, but you also don’t have enough to get your favorite shoes? And is everything taxing on your wallet, from textbooks and pens to academic fees? If so, it’s time for you to find out how to save money as a college student!

Buckle up for a frisky ride through the rags of getting a degree. Today, we’ll share ten excellent tips that will make your dorm-to-campus life easier on your finances. Knowing how to limit your spending is super essential for enjoying your classroom path to uncovering the mysteries of your future profession. So, let’s seize the cash!

If you prefer the video format, we have you covered:

1. Create a Budget

Rumor has it you know how college students roll. 🙂 As a part of the pack, you know how easy it is to lose track of money. You get a few notebooks for the subjects, but then you suddenly can’t afford to join your crowd for a max-size flick at the cinema. And this is why you need a budget plan.

Creating one is easy — for reference, try using the free templates on Canva. And if you want a fully customized sheet top-to-bottom, here’s what to do in five easy steps:

  • Calculate your net income
  • List all your monthly expenses
  • Mark which of these are fixed and which are variable
  • Find out how much cash you spend on each of them
  • Cut down on reducible costs

Once you have it all outlined, you should start noticing a difference in your financial behavior and monthly savings. Of course, there is more than one budgeting strategy to help you save money in college. So, if you’re itching to find your gem, check out our five cents (tips) on the topic. 🙂

2. Purchase Used Textbooks

Polishing yourself in the academic style is one way to splurge — that is, if you’re not careful enough. For example, you can overspend on crisp textbooks, and why do that when old is gold? You can, in fact, save money in college and be an exemplary student with used books.  

The educated world is aware of this — there are plenty of sites where people can buy beat-up materials for cheap. Of course, renting them from your library or using the PDF versions provided by your teachers is also fantastic. Also, some of your older school buddies might be willing to lend you their books for cheap or free.  

If you take good care of the flimsy pages, your aged textbooks will take you for a spiny fly-leaf ride through college. Dust them off regularly, keep them away from direct sunlight, and shelve them straight up next to books their size. And, of course, be a gentle reader valuing their money — no hard flips, bends, and other reading gymnastics.

3. Cook at Home

It’s time to decrust your pan’s floor with a fierce spatula! Eating out is too costly for college students on a tight budget! In fact, what hides under the chef’s cloche is five times more expensive than the store-bought groceries lingering in your fridge. Therefore, stay home for dinner!

The defining recipes of the freshmen-to-senior cuisine are refreshing. Apart from that, many of them are quick and inexpensive, which is perfect for saving money in college. When pulling an all-nighter that slides into another dusk-til-dawn study session, you can get through with a creamy mac & cheese or a flavorful shipwreck (here’s more).

However, don’t cheat by targeting meal packs! That is unless you want to eat up your cash. These are also expensive; your best bet is to try bulk buying. Remember, clerks might lower the prices of certain products if you get a bunch of them! So, draft a simple list of the meals you’d like to chant your lessons over for about a week (not longer, so the food stays fresh), shop, and save!

4. Leverage Student Discounts

If this is your first year of studies, you must familiarize yourself with some excellent student discounts. Because, young, educated friend, you can bargain A LOT without actually bargaining! There are software deals, lower prices on electronics, and entertainment for cheaper! And, like in the ads, that’s not all.

Ask your faculty’s staff about their transportation discount policy and look for insurance and cell phone providers that can offer their services for less. It’s incredible how much money you can save by chatting with different institutions and businesses or showing up there in person! 

Alternatively, you can visit sites like Student Beans and UNiDAYS to snitch a discount you like. And if you’re super committed to frugality, there are even more ways to save money. Always have your student ID with you, and always check if you’re eligible for a drop in prices before payment, no matter the place! 🙂 

5. Use Public Transportation

Want to roll around town on a budget? Public transportation is the answer. If you’re stubborn about conquering roads in a car, you’ll have to thin your cash stacks by $1 for each liter of fuel, which is enough for about 12.5 km. But that doesn’t include the rest of the costs.

What about the wear and tear of your wheeled buddy? Repairs can be expensive! Plus, you’ll have to pay for a parking spot every time, which is exactly how NOT to save money as a college student.

Compared to a car’s daily wallet thefts, the prices for taking by bus, train, and the like are fixed and low no matter the distance traveled. And you also protect the environment from too many toxic gases (what about the Ozone layer?) Still, store your money and belongings safely and wait for and get out of the vehicle in busy, well-lit areas (more similar tips here). 

6. Avoid Credit Card Debt

According to a 2023 U.S. News and World Report survey, one in ten college students has credit card debt—42% of the population! That’s reason enough to highlight the dangers of using credit cards.

While they can be excellent for building credit, if used for splurging, you can end up with a debt you’ll struggle to pay off. That’s because overspending is followed by late fees and high interest rates, which will rob you of your money.

To avoid a financial mess, read the card’s terms and conditions to know what to expect in terms of fees, billing cycles, interest rates, etc. Also, make your payments promptly (you can automate them!), and try to always pay over the minimum while staying below your credit limit. Finally, get the most out of your rewards!

7. Get a Part-Time Job

You might not only want to save money in college but also earn some. A part-time job that fits your busy schedule can grow your budget and allow you to live comfortably during your studies. That is, if you can find the time to do your research, find job listings, and upload a swell resume and portfolio online.

Freedom, location flexibility, self-management, and the chance to test the business waters are but a few of the advantages of freelancing. All of these are super important when chasing the buck and the bus to campus simultaneously.

Still, balancing between making money and studying requires some planning. You could take one or two of your courses online and tailor your schedule to your needs. Of course, communicating with your teachers and employer and knowing when to take a break also helps.

8. Save on Entertainment

Learning is fun, but so is putting the textbooks aside and inserting yourself in a materials-free, entertaining scenario. The only problem is that, as a student, you might have too many expenses to afford a chillaxing adventure. However, there are low-cost options.

Watch a movie, play a game outdoors, or visit the local museum! Check out your community’s site for excellent free events, or put your heart and soul into volunteering. Or get enrolled in some university activities! That will help you bond with your peers and make friends with people with similar interests.

Hanging out, hosting putlock parties, or simply inviting your favorite people over for a board game could become some of your favorite ways to save money. Ready for a friendly dorm banter? 🙂

9. Enroll in Online Courses

Nesting your head in between your arms as you consume the lesson behind the desk costs money. Luckily, online classes exist. 

On average, online degrees are around $31,000 cheaper than traditional ones and three times cheaper than degrees provided by private institutions. This does not even include the cash you’ll save for skipping on transportation and campus meals.

However, while college students must focus on saving money in college, picking suitable courses is also a must. How do you like the content? Is it taxing on your schedule? How long does it last? Does it have a good reputation? Think about this before you set your decision in stone.

Even if everything checks and your online courses are golden, you’ll still have to do the work to succeed in your studies. A comfortable, distraction-free study space will help, and so will sectioning out tasks. On the other hand, virtually interacting with your peers and figuring out how to make tasks meaningful will increase your motivation.

10. Use Pawns.app

If your budget could use some stuffing, Pawns.app is the next thing to download. Our passive income application offers you many ways to save money by earning in your free time. Therefore, rethink your study breaks, student trips, and free time as opportunities to make money.

Solve a few surveys, share your unused internet for 100% passive income, or complete your quests — the app is an excellent, profitable pastime. And you can also share it with your friends to earn excellent referral bonuses!

Still unsure whether to try it? Check out some of our user testimonials and see why it’s a great way to make the most of those free five minutes of your day!

Welcome to Saving Uni!

The skill of not overspending is precisely that — a skill. Remember, you’re a student, so your expenses will be a challenge to tackle. Still, learning to save money in college will help you stay on top of your financial life. So, give these ten tips a chance, and see how far they can take you!

Jordana Bozhinova
Jordana Bozhinova

Copywriter, Pawns.app

Once an eighth-grade chemistry whiz, Jordana is now a BA in Psychology, hoping to one day tread through the fine weave of the psyche professionally. Chemistry still excites her, but not more than physics or music. Personal growth and authenticity are always on her to-do list, and she'd like to see the world's pendulum swing in that direction, too. A fan of creativity and innovation, Jordana enjoys learning, understanding, and chic clothes. Who says self-exploration can't be fabulous?

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