It has never been more expensive to attend college in an attempt to further your education and broaden your learning experience. Between the cost of tuition, room and board, meal plans, books, and all the other expenses that come along with being a young adult, it’s nearly impossible to save money in amounts more than a couple dollars at a time. If you’re trying to save money but find yourself struggling to do so, you’re part of a huge club full of other students just like you. Here you’ll find a straight-shooting list of ways to save more money–including some behaviors you’ll need to cut out immediately. It may seem tough at first, but once you start seeing your savings account balance growing every month, it will become MUCH easier. Take a look at these suggestions, decide which of them apply to you and your own personal spending habits, and write out a plan on how much you want to save in what amount of time. Writing these things down will help you solidify your financial plan in your mind and stay focused.
- Rent your textbooks, buy used, and sell your old books back to the campus bookstore. You can usually get a small hunk of what you paid for new books back at the end of the semester. It won’t be a lot, and that’s why you should rent your books from sites like Chegg or purchase used ones when available. You can save hundreds doing so.
- Cut out drinking, eating out at restaurants, and trips to the coffee shop daily. It’s okay to indulge in these activities once every couple weeks or when your sanity requires it, but going out to bars or restaurants every single week can put a huge dent in your bank account very quickly. Try and prepare meals and your morning coffee at home, and save drinking socially for special occasions.
- Get a prepaid phone. Having an unlimited plan and the newest version of the world’s most popular smartphone is of course ideal, but data plans and updated devices can cost you a small fortune. Nowadays you can get a decent smartphone with all the required capabilities along with a great prepaid service for much less. StraightTalk from Walmart offers one of the best and most affordable service plans for prepaid customers. Sell your old device if it can’t be carried over to your new prepaid number provider.
- Shop where they offer a decent student discount. Many restaurants, apparel shops, and movie theatres offer a discount to students who flash their school ID at the cash register. Find out which local spots do this and spend what money you absolutely must spend at these establishments. It will help save a little cash here and there.
- Skip Spring Break and other expensive trips abroad. It would be nice if all students could afford to travel when they have time off from class, but doing so is incredibly expensive. Limit your trips to destinations only an hour or two away, places you can drive without spending a ton on gas. If you want to stay somewhere overnight, skip fancy hotels and check out sites like AirBnB for affordable places to stay. Find a cheap or free campground and take some time in nature and away from the stressful life of a college student. Cheap or free attractions can help relieve tension and save you money.
There are thousands of other ways to save money when you’re a college student, but these are some of the most valuable suggestions. Take a look at your own budget, your needs, and get started on your plan to save money. Your bank account will thank you.