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Money Saving Tips for College Students

piggy bank with glasses on a stack of books infront of a chalkboard

Buy/rent used textbooks and sell them back at the end of the semester.

It’s important to buy textbooks after you’ve attended the first day of class, in case you decide to drop the course. Professors will also let you know which books on their list are absolutely necessary, and which ones aren’t. Don’t just settle and purchase books from the university bookstore because it’s convenient, often times you can buy used books at local bookstores or online for a better price. Additionally, you can check to see if alternative forms of the book are available, such as e-books, PDFs or rental services. Many university bookstores also offer to buy back your books at the end of the semester!

If you’re worried about book availability (which can be a problem at some universities/colleges), check to see if your bookstore accepts returns and how many days you have to return for a full refund. That way you can buy your books before class starts, but if you decide to drop the class you can still return it and get your money back.

Cook at home and limit the number of times you eat out.

Eating out can really add up, so if you’ll be paying for a meal plan – use it! Otherwise, grocery shopping and eating at home is much more cost effective. Buy in bulk and stock up on snacks and soft drinks instead of buying at a campus vending machine or convenience store. You should also consider a coffee maker instead of spending money every morning at local coffee shop.

Use your student discount.

Never buy something without asking about a student discount first! There are many student discounts available to you when traveling, shopping, and dining out. Not to mention, available price deductions for cellphone plans, car insurance, laptops, and more! So use your student ID or email address at stores, restaurants, museums and movie theaters.

Cut out cable expenses.

You definitely don’t need every channel out there, you’re in college to study anyway! Consider cheaper streaming services such as Netflix, Hulu, or Amazon Prime. Amazon’s student prime trial gives you a period of 6 months free, and thereafter is 50% off the usual yearly membership fee. Not only would you get access to the full Prime Instant Video catalogue, but free two-day shipping services!

Take advantage of all the free/cheap resources and events on campus.

Some campus events and resources are funded by your student fees – so take advantage of it! Many campuses offer free gym membership to their students, computer labs for printing, and health centers. Don’t forget to go to the campus events! Often times they offer free food and items to college students. You can also reduce your spending on entertainment when you attend college concerts, movie showings, sporting events, and more.

Save money on your new laptop.

Be on the lookout for discounts and tax-free days before you buy a new laptop. Brands like Dell, HP, and Apple also offer reduced prices to college students and many campus bookstores offer discounts on laptops to incoming students. Don’t forget to protect this new investment by installing the latest antivirus software.

Work while you’re in school.

Not only will you earn extra money, depending on the type of job you get, you could potentially get a staff discount on the things you’d buy anyway, like food or clothes. Consider convenient on-campus jobs that are more flexible to your student schedule. Most college dorms offer Resident Assistant positions that allow you to subsidize your housing cost, make some extra money, or both!

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