Creative Ways to Save Money in College

The stereotype of the starving college student didn’t come from nowhere. With beaucoup bucks going towards tuition and books you probably don’t have a lot left over for extras like, say, living expenses.

This means you’re balancing a tight monthly budget that has very little wiggle room. And yet, you likely have plenty of ideas about how to spend the little bit of money that you have. Not only are there necessities to cover, but you also want to have some fun!

You might not be able to get everything on your list while you’re in school, but by finding ways to cut back you can definitely save up for the things you really want. Here are just a few areas that offer ways to save.

  1. Food. You may not be too keen on the cafeteria food, but the campus eating plan is probably one of the cheapest options for food you’re likely to find. Of course, if you like fruits and veggies you can probably discover great deals on fresh produce at a local farmer’s market (where haggling is accepted and expected). But likely you can find fresh and healthy choices for a balanced diet at the school cafeteria, especially if you request the addition of such items.

  2. Transportation. Having a car in college may not be the best idea. Even if you own the vehicle you’re going to have to pay associated costs like registration, insurance, parking, and gas (not to mention maintenance). And if you live on campus this is a total waste of money. Even if you have a house or apartment you can ride a bike or utilize public transportation for a lot cheaper than owning and operating a vehicle.

  3. Events. Are you interested in purchasing Foo Fighters, Lady Gaga, or Adele tickets? Perhaps you like to attend sporting events. Or maybe musical theater is your bag. Whatever you want to go see in the way of entertainment, you probably know that it’s going to cost a lot (more than your meager budget will allow, in any case). But there are ways around paying an arm and a leg for your tickets. You can try to win them for free from a radio station, but that’s a long shot. Instead, consider becoming a member on the station website or the Facebook page of the band, team, or venue you like so that you can take advantage of presales (where attendance will cost you the price that’s printed on the ticket) and special events.

  4. Rent. Living in the dorms means that you’re paying a set price. Unfortunately, there’s not a lot you can do about that. But once you move off campus you can definitely find ways to cut the cost of putting a roof over your head. Of course you can look for low-rent options like studios, converted lofts, or rooms for rent. But if you want a house with a yard (and no upstairs neighbors) you should get a few friends together to rent a place. Just make sure the people you choose are compatible and reliable with the rent money.

  5. Tuition and books. These two items take up a huge chunk of your budget, but they don’t have to be ongoing expenses. Just because you didn’t nab a scholarship or grants as a freshman doesn’t mean you should stop applying. There are tons of options available for students seeking funding for school, especially on the internet, so try to apply for one or more scholarships each week; you’re bound to hit at least one and even $500 could provide a welcome windfall.

This guest post was written by Leon Harris, a contributing writer to College Being.

3 Thoughts on “Creative Ways to Save Money in College”

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  2. Great post and really good tips! I have one more to add to the list tho.
    I would recommend buying/ selling stuff on online marketplaces like Craislist and eBay. Some of your stuff can be worth more to others, maybe you have some collectibles or valuable items you’re not using. I’ve started flipping items and actually earned money on it!
    If this is something you’d be interesting trying, I would recommend this pricing tool for figuring out what your stuff is worth so you’re not overpaying or underselling your stuff.
    You should check it out, and I highly recommend this site for bargain hunters ;)

    Happy money saving everybody!

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