College is one of the few times in life where you will have more time than money. It’s a time to get creative with your money so you can spend your time freely. Use these 7 tips to save money in college and spend your time experiencing new things, minimizing your student loans, and making memories.
Get Free Money
Apply for scholarships. Whether you are in high school or in your last year of college, you should be applying for scholarships. Search for local scholarships from local organizations, like Rotary Clubs and the Chamber of Commerce. Check out the 10 Best Sites to Look for Scholarships. Be sure to allot time to research so this becomes part of your routine. Free money is the best money.
Get Good Roomates
There should never be a time in college where you don’t have roommates. Splitting home expenses reduces your cost of living. If you are new to an area, you can use sites like Roommates.com, Craigslist, etc. to ensure that you never live alone.
Be sure to meet potential roommates somewhere public the first time. Never agree to a lease until you have spent more then three times with a person. You should also add them on social media so you can get a feel for what their day to day habits are like.
Eat Out Less
Pack Lunch. Eat breakfast at home or in your dorm. Eating out at the Old Main or wherever “all the kids” are eating might seem like the social norm, but don’t buy in. Be the trend setter who makes packing a sandwich and pulls up a seat with friends.
You can even take the $10-$15 you would have spent and put it in a savings account for your summer vacation. When you are backpacking Europe, you will forget all about the cool kids who spent all their money on mediocre food at the packed water hole.
Take Advantage of Student Discounts and Local Deals
There are often free coupon book, newspapers, and magazines scatter throughout college campuses. These are filled with local deals and coupons for students. Grab a stack and make a coupon wallet.
The next time you are planning to eat out with friends you can consult your coupon guide book. When dining out make it a habit to look for deals. Go during happy hour, special deal days, or split meals with friends. Click here to learn more about dining on budget.
Buy/Rent Used Books and Sell Them Back
When you get the dreaded list of required books, use Amazon, Chegg or other book sites to search the ISBN numbers. Compare prices between renting and buying, in order to find the cheapest version of the book possible. You can even take a chance and buy an edition older. In many cases the differences are minimal.
Once you are done with your books sell them back the very next semester. Beware: The longer you wait, the more you chance the author coming out with another edition, thus making your book worth nothing. Don’t get caught with last season’s books.
Ditch Your Car
Kiss your car goodbye. Let your car payment, insurance, and gas be a thing of the past. You can walk, take public transport, or bike. The savings benefit is just one from this transition. You will also loose weight, get more time in the sun, and become extremely good at logistics.
Live Minimally, Share, Buy Used
Say goodbye to Michael Kors and hello to Goodwill half off days. Shopping in college should become almost obsolete. If you live in the dorms, or with great roommates, you should agree to share clothing and accessories. There is no need to shop when you can share.
If you and your friends are sharing, then you are all saving. It’s a win win!
Cook at home and split the costs.
Getting a group of good friends together for a great meal can be both therapeutic and memorable. Don’t take on all the costs. You can go potluck style. Or if you love to cook and host, have everyone throw in $5 and bring their own beverage. A night at home with great food, company, and cheap drinks always beats the bars.
College should be filled with memories to last a lifetime not a lifetime of debt. Use these tips to cut costs and come out ahead.