Our Top 10 Tips for Saving Money in School

money-sign-iconCollege expenses can add up quickly, and it can be difficult to keep up with the costs with a busy schedule and a part-time job. Luckily, we have compiled 10 easy ways to save money throughout the school year:

1. Open a bank account. The first step to saving money is being able to monitor your expenses. Visit your local bank to learn about your options for opening a student bank account, if you haven’t done so already.

2. Opt for used textbooks. New textbooks are expensive. If possible, opt for a used version or an older edition. Even better, see if you can borrow it from your school library for free or find an upperclassmen or QuestBridge Scholar who wouldn’t mind lending it to you.

3. Use campus amenities. You’d be surprised by how many amenities and events are offered on your campus. Find more affordable workout classes at your campus gym, or sign up for listservs to stay updated on free activities hosted by Student Affairs.

4. Limit eating out. For meals that aren’t covered by your meal plan, consider cooking with friends. You can split the cost, and there will most likely be leftovers to cover you for another meal.

5. Bike or walk. As much as possible, try to get around campus by biking, walking, or taking public transportation. Having a car will just accrue more expenses for gas and parking.

6. Always carry your student ID. Many places such as museums and movie theaters offer student discounts. Businesses local to your school are especially likely to offer deals for students.

7. Get a coffee maker. Buying your $3 morning latte may not seem like a big deal, but these small expenses can add up quickly. Making your own coffee is a more affordable option, and you can get a caffeine kick even when your campus cafés and dining halls are closed.

8. Search your school’s online marketplace. If your school has its own version of Craigslist, this could be the best way to find good deals from fellow students. Try to anticipate your needs at the end of the year just in time to catch graduating students who want to get rid of their old books or furniture. Remember to screen everything you want to buy ahead of time to ensure that it is as advertised.

9. Pay on time. If you have monthly bills, it’s important to make sure that you pay all of them in full and on time to avoid any fees. Set up automatic alerts to remind yourself when your next bill is due, and make sure to reserve the money needed to cover all of these costs.

10. Stay on track. Financial aid often covers only a certain number of quarters/semesters. Make sure you are on top of your studies to avoid paying for an extra term. Take advantage of on-campus tutoring or academic services to stay on track to getting your degree.

We hope this gives you some ideas on how to cut costs throughout the year. Try them out and use our Smart Spending Sheet to monitor just how much you end up saving.