Going to college can be one of the most rewarding parts of life, learning new information while gaining the tools needed to succeed.
Nonetheless, it is likely that you will be at college on a budget. That is why it is so important to make sure that you do everything in your power to save money. It can be difficult to locate those areas that will help you save, which is why this essential guide has been created.
Read on now to learn all about saving money as a college student.
1. Bulk Buy Essentials
When you are a student, this might be the first time that you are cooking for yourself. While it may be tempting to indulge in clichéd laziness and order takeaways instead, this is a surefire way to spend up what little money you might have.
A much better alternative is to bulk buy essential foods each week in order to save money. Think pasta and simple toppings in order to stretch your money further. Just make sure to get your essential fruit and veg, so you don’t become malnourished while you are at university.
While cooking can seem stressful, remember the important lessons it can teach you about life in the process.
2. Get a Good Deal on Your Laptop
You can’t truly succeed at college without a laptop, but you may find that it is one of your biggest spendings after rent. As a result, it makes sense to shop around in order to find a laptop that you can afford.
One great point to bear in mind, however, is that many companies do offer special discounts for students. Take a look for affordable laptops for students now!
3. Learn When Not To Socialize
When you start at college, it can be deeply tempting to throw yourself into its social hubbub. After all, this is the place that you will make friendships that could last a lifetime.
The important part to bear in mind here is to know when not to socialize, especially as going to lots of different events could cost you a lot of money. This is especially true if you are over 21 and are legally allowed to drink, as going to bars and nightclubs can quickly drain your finances.
That is why it is important to know when to say no and have a night in instead. Find good friends who are just as happy to stay in and watch a movie instead of going out to a party.
4. Use Student Discounts
Laptops are not the only item that students can save a rather significant amount of money on. In fact, students have a whole load of discounts available on nearly everything, from food on campus to clothes at local shops.
Make sure to get your student card as quickly as possible so that when you are in the right retail and food outlets, you are able to get a discount. While sometimes the discount might be quite low, for example, around 10 percent, they can add up to rather significant savings over time.
5. Get A Travel Pass
If your university is within a city or large town, and you need to use various forms of public transport to get between campuses or from your residence to class, then it is a good idea to purchase an annual travel pass at the start of the year.
Although these passes can be a pretty big expense as a lump sum, they will be a much cheaper option than having to pay for each journey, as these frequent expenses can start to add up and nibble a big hole in your budget.
Try to get a pass that will let you on all forms of transport in and around the city of your campus, as having a pass that lets you on trains, buses, and trams is far more convenient.
6. Consider Getting A Bike
Another good idea to help save travel costs when getting around at college is buying a bike. It can offer you a great avenue to save money.
Biking instead of using a car or public transport will eliminate the need to spend on short-distance journeys, and can also help you get more fit and active, which is a nice added bonus. You can pick up a decent bike for cheap online; just make sure that you care for it properly, as fixing broken parts or replacing a bike in its entirety can start to add up.
Do consider the location you want to bike in as well. Some cities aren’t well suited to bikes due to the high traffic, so consider this before getting a bike. You don’t want to buy one, use it once, and then be put off by high congestion in your area.
7. Buy Second Hand
Depending on your college course, there can be a lot of additional equipment you might have to buy to ensure that you are prepared, ranging from textbooks to specialist utensils. This can be a huge financial stumbling block, as a lot of this equipment like books can be very expensive, with single textbooks often costing well over $100 each.
The best way to save on these needed items is to buy them second-hand. Depending on how populated your college is, a few individuals would have just completed their course and may be looking to offload the textbooks that they don’t need anymore and will usually sell them at a cut price.
If you are planning on getting your resources this way, you need to be quick and buy them early in the summer before your course starts, as you’ll find that they’ll all be taken and bought by the start of the semester.
8. Take A Packed Lunch
Many colleges offer a well-stocked canteen filled with food options for every meal. However, for a lot of institutions, these meals are not free and can actually be pretty expensive.
If you find yourself spending a few dollars for each meal at a campus, this can certainly add up and become a sizeable expense. It is far more cost-effective to pack a lunch box and bring in food from home, as it is cheaper and will stop you from spending too much.
Furthermore, packing lunch gives you far more control over what you eat, meaning that you can ensure that you are eating healthier foods.
Although canteens are required to offer food for most dietary requirements, particularly vegan and vegetarian options, a lot of the food on offer isn’t the healthiest, so by getting a packed lunch in instead, you are ensuring that you are doing what you can to stay fit.
9. Live In A College Student Dorm Room
If you are still able to change your living arrangement for the year, then it is a good idea to try and get a dorm room on campus instead of a student house.
This is because a dorm is usually far cheaper than renting out a house from a private landlord and will require a much smaller holding deposit as well, making it a more affordable option. Furthermore, utilities are also included on the rent for a dorm, which might not be the case in a private student home, which can be another added expense.
It is a good idea not to rush in when getting a place to live, as this is the area where you’ll be able to save the most money. Consider all your options, get multiple quotes and act.
A dorm may not be the most comfortable option, as you’ll be sharing communal spaces with other students, but it can be a really good, cheap option if you’re trying to save money.
10. Start A Side Hussle
You may not feel like you do when at college, but when compared to working life, you will have a lot more additional free time when you are not either in class, studying, or socializing.
A good thing you can do to fill in some of that time is to potentially start a side hustle to generate extra income that you can use for petty expenses. Some common side hustles include selling clothes online, blogging, and being a part-time delivery driver.
Furthermore, side hustles can be great for adding to your CV or portfolio, especially if they are relatively successful and related to your career interests. It demonstrates entrepreneurial drive, passion, commitment, and good time management skills.
This means that not only can this help you save money while studying, it can also make you more employable when you graduate and help you attract higher-paying roles and positions.
College can be a tough time for many people financially and is an endeavor that will leave many people with permanent debt for their entire life. Many people can feel priced out of college-level education, and because of that, they feel like they are unable to progress to where they want to in life.
These tips should help make it just a little bit more manageable and help individuals stretch their funds further so that they can obtain their degrees. It might not be comfortable or luxurious, but it is entirely possible to get through college while saving money.
Disclaimer. The views and opinions expressed here are those of the authors. They do not purport to reflect the opinions or views of IdeasPlusBusiness.com.
Any content provided by our bloggers or authors is of their opinion and is not intended to malign any organization, company, individual, or anyone or anything.
For questions and inquiries on the blog, please send an email to the Editor at ideasplusbusiness[at]gmail[dot]com. You can also follow IdeasPlusBusiness.com on Twitter here and like our page on Facebook here.
This website contains affiliate links to some products and services. We may receive a commission for purchases made through these links at no extra cost to you.
I am Adeyemi Adetilewa, a media consultant, entrepreneur, husband, and father. Founder and Editor-In-Chief of Ideas Plus Business Magazine, online business resources for entrepreneurs. I help brands share unique and impactful stories through the use of public relations, advertising, and online marketing. My work has been featured on the Huffington Post, Thrive Global, Addicted2Success, Hackernoon, The Good Men Project, and other publications.