Most college kids can relate to when I say that higher education sort of makes you broke. The stereotypical student saves money by eating ramen all of the time and wearing the same outfit every day. Do I want to live like that? No, I don't. Saving money college is something I learned after freshman year and I realized that I spent much more than I thought I did.
1. Rent your books rather than buying them
Renting books can literally save you over a hundred dollars. I took an IT course during my first semester and I rented my $170 textbook for only $23. Websites like Chegg will even let you return it back for free, as long as you secure it in any box. Goodbye big book bill, hello little rent check.
2. Shop at second hand stores
Everyone likes new clothes and most things at stores that resell clothes are sometimes not in fashion. Being in college, there's no real point trying to stay in the high end fashion world when you're trying to study for that test next week. You can buy maybe five pieces of clothing for the same price of one at a name brand store.
3. Leave the car at home
This tip depends on what kind of school you go to and if you live on campus or not. At my school, parking passes are outrageous and we have free public buses. Imagine how much money you would save by not having to pay for gas, car insurance, or a parking pass?
4. Get your own coffee maker
I love Starbucks so much, I've gotten into the coffee habit towards the start of my freshman year when I understood how many all-nighters you really have to do. Unfortunately, over-priced coffee can hurt your bank account when you drink it every day. Invest in a coffee maker and you'll find that making your own perfect brew can save you lots of dough!
5. Buying in bulk isn't always bad
I used to think when people bought in bulk, they were spending lots of money on it. After going on countless shopping trips with my mom, I learned that stores like Sam's Club and Costco are actually worth investing in. Buying in bulk means you spend less and got a lot more for your buck. This is helpful with toiletries and snacks!
6. Choose housing wisely
Looking for an apartment this year? Thinking about getting the one bedroom with the nice balcony? Sure, it'd be awesome to have a whole place to yourself, but how much will that cost? One bedrooms tend to cost a lot more than two or three bedrooms. Having roommates can actually benefit your bank account in the end!
7. Don't go out every night
Is there a food joint in town that's better than the cafeteria? It's nice to have food that is made to your order and your choice, but eating out should really only be a once in a while type of thing. Saving that money can even make those nights special instead of just expected. Cafeteria food is part of the college experience.
8. Look for student discounts
Not all students know that so many places give students a discount, whether it's food or clothes. There are websites out there that list out different kinds of stores that are budget friendly and will email you every month to keep you up to date!
9. Stick to Netflix
Say goodbye to cable and hello to show streaming sites. Places like Netflix and Hulu don't give you a big bill every month and they have a great of variety of shows! But what if you really want to know the news or the weather? Just look down at your phone! You can always look up the news online if you really need it.
10. Keep the change
If you pay with cash, I recommend saving those coins in your pocket. Though most banks make you put your coins into roll sleeves now, saving your change can add up to quite of bit of money to put back into your bank account. I once saved my change for a few months and ended up having around an extra $200!
11. Buy the right electronics
Laptops and anything electronic is expensive. That's why making the right choice is beneficial to your financial situation. Talk to the staff and tell them what kind of electronic you need. For laptops, not everyone needs the most high definition screen or all the extra space. While big perks are a plus, they also add on to the price. Get something that covers all of your needs and will last you a long time!
Using these tips will definitely make your dollar stretch. Spending money the smart way is a part of growing up and adulting, which I don't think I'm quite prepared for, but at least I'll be able to start paying back student loans sooner rather than later! Just make sure to stay away from the ramen, there are better things to eat than that every night.