College is expensive. I’m not saying anything particularly groundbreaking when I make that statement. We all know it’s expensive, and we’re all looking for ways to save money at college. Whether you’re about to start college or about to start your last year, you’re probably still looking for tips and tricks to save money, and I’ve got you covered. I’m about to start my last year of college and I’m still always on the hunt for the greatest deals and ways to save and make money!
1. Take the Freebies
When you’re first starting out in college, it could feel like everywhere you go, people are throwing freebies at you—whether they’re coupon books or free food. No matter what freebies you’re being given, take them and use them. Those coupon books may seem like a waste, but when it’s exam time and you’re looking for food late at night, they’ll come in handy.
2. Keep a Finances Journal
Keep a journal of every dollar you bring in and every dollar you spend. It will help you identify where your money is going, if you have any bad spending habits, and if you could be saving some money or placing it elsewhere if you stopped spending it. For example, if you have a takeout problem but you have a meal plan, maybe you could redirect the money you’re spending on takeout to something like a post-college fund.
3. Find Alternative Ways to Make Money
If your school schedule is chaotic and you don’t have the time to get a regular job, look on the Internet. There are a surprising amount of virtual jobs on the Internet that offer flexible hours. You can work the hours you’re available, rather than constantly working to schedule hours at a job waiting tables.
4. Buy Used Books and Sell Them after
I really don’t recommend renting books. Sure, you save a little bit of money on them, but then you don’t get any money back at the end of the semester. I always stand by the idea that you should buy your books used (from the Internet, not from a student bookstore) and then sell them online after the semester is over (again, not at a student bookstore). You’d be surprised by how much money you’ll save when you follow that method!
5. Get Crafty
Whether you’re trying to decorate your dorm or update your wardrobe, throw some DIY into the mix. You can easily update any hand-me-downs with some quick and easy YouTube tutorials. Thanks to the Internet and Pinterest, nearly anything can be given a fast little update!
6. Consider Living at Home
If you’re going to college close to home, consider living at home. That expense alone could save you tens of thousands of dollars. Some people worry that you may not get the right college experience, but is spending tens of thousands really worth “the college experience”?
7. Apply for Scholarships
Do some digging online. You may just be surprised by the amount of scholarships out there that very few people know about. Whether your church offers a few, your township or city, or something else entirely, you should be able to get a few scholarships if you look hard enough.
What are your tried-and-true methods for saving money in college? I want to hear your best tips in the comments!