College is an expensive time in your life. You have tuition, books, housing, food, entertainment and more. Although it is expensive it doesn’t have to break the bank and cause you to accumulate tens of thousands of dollars of student loan debt.
Now that you are in college you are most likely in charge of your own finances.
Along with that financial freedom comes a lot of responsibility to spend your money wisely. There are a ton of easy and great ways for you to save money each semester.
Here are the 11 Ways for College Students to Save a Ton of Money Each Semester.
Create a budget.
If you are an avid reader (thank you!) you probably knew that I was going to start with this one. In order to save money you need to know where your money is going.
If you are like most college students you probably have no income or low income. It is especially important for you to budget properly since you start each semester with a set amount. Whether this was from a summer job, your parents, or from student loans.
Before the fall semester begins spend some time creating a budget.
For more information on creating a budget check out this article.
Buy or rent used textbooks.
College textbooks are ridiculously expensive. It is almost criminal how much some textbooks can cost. Some new textbooks can be upwards of $700. That is crazy for something you might only use a few times over a 15 week period.
Your best bet will be to rent or buy used textbooks.
There are quite a few sites out there that can help you find the lowest price textbooks.
Amazon is a great place to find used textbooks as well. You can copy the ISBN number from your syllabus and search it on Amazon.
When I was in college I would always search Google for the ISBN as well. Every once in awhile I would find a book cheaper than my normal sites.
Walk, use public transportation, or bike instead of using your car.
Having a car at school is expensive at most universities.
Not only do you have the maintenance and gas for the car but you have parking pass fees. Parking passes can run a couple hundred dollars per semester.
If your campus is small then walk or bike to class. If you go to a larger school bike or use public transportation. These options can save you a few hundred dollars per year.
Cut out cable.
Cable bills often run over $100 a month. Between classes, studying, working, and having fun with friends you will probably barely watch TV.
Try ditching the cable and subscribing to a service like Netflix or Amazon. You can still binge watch your favorite shows but at a fraction of the cost.
If you find that you used cable a lot then you can always go back to it but give cutting it out a try. I bet you won’t miss it after the first couple days.
Shop at places that offer student discounts.
There are a ton of places that offer discounts to students. You probably already shop at these places and don’t realize that they offer these discounts.
Here are just a few of the places that offer discounts for students:
- Sam’s Club
- Banana Republic
- J. Crew
- Apple Store
- Firehouse Subs
- Dairy Queen
- 24-Hour Fitness
Wait to get a pet until after college.
When I was in college way too many of my friends got dogs once they moved into an apartment. Animals are a lot of work and they are expensive.
You are going to be so busy in college that you won’t have the proper amount of time to dedicate it to an animal. Not to mention they can eat up a lot of your budget.
Wait until you graduate and you have more time and more income before you get a pet. You will be glad you did.
If you need your puppy fix then go to your local pet store and play with their puppies. The puppies will love it and so will you!
Never take out a loan for something that is unrelated to your education.
Way too often I hear college students say they took out a larger student loan so they could afford a spring break or to go out more nights per week.
Paying back student loans is not fun. They will cut deeply into your post-college budget. Do whatever you can to reduce the amount of money you borrow.
If you don’t have the savings to go out 5 nights a week then don’t go out. If you can’t afford a spring break then go home and work that week.
Whatever you do, do not take out an extra loans or for anything unrelated to your college education.
Become a resident advisor.
Becoming a resident advisor can be a great way to cut your college costs substantially. Once of the most expensive parts of college are the room and boards costs.
If you become a resident advisor, in most cases, you will live and eat for free. Yes you will have to live in a dorm instead of an apartment but it is free. Free is free!
Check out the programs your school offers and see if it is right for you.
Use, not abuse, credit cards.
It is important to use credit cards to help build up your credit score. However, you definitely do not want to abuse your credit cards by spending it on items you don’t need or by not paying them off each month.
Credit card interest rates are so high and it will cost you a ton if you carry a balance. Trust me I had to do this for part of my college career. It hurt then and it hurt until I paid them all off.
DO NOT abuse your credit card. A $5,000 credit limit doesn’t mean you have $5,000 to spend on whatever you want.
Get a job.
Getting a job is a great way to be able to afford to have some fun and reduce the amount of loans you have to take out.
There are quite a few jobs available for college students that will fit your schedule and put some extra money in your account.
I go into more depth in this article about great jobs for college students. A few of those are:
- Food delivery
- Uber Driver
- Tour Guide
- Rec center and many more!
Start a side hustle.
I preach about starting a side hustle about as often as I preach about having a budget. I mean, why wouldn’t I? They are the reasons I got out from a negative six figure net worth and currently make well into the six figures.
Side Hustles are great because you can set your own rates, decide when you want to work, and work in an area that you like.
I go into more details here about how to start you first side hustle in less than 30 days.
How have you or your children saved money in college? Started a side hustle? Got a job?