5 Ways to Save Money in College

5 Ways to Save Money in CollegeCollege is undeniably expensive, but students often shell out money they don’t have to spend. Books, food and living expenses are the biggest drains on a college student’s budget. By following these five frugal tips, you will be able to save a significant amount of money on these necessary items.

1. Don’t Pay Full Price for Textbooks

The most shockingly expensive price tags at college are attached to the textbooks you must buy for each new class. You can get huge discounts by purchasing used ones from the campus bookstore or comparison shopping with online discount vendors. This strategy requires early purchases since most used books in good condition sell quickly. If you know someone who is currently enrolled in a class that you plan to take soon, then strike a deal for purchasing their books. This is a win-win for everyone since the seller will likely make more money from you than the bookstore buyback program yet you still get a discount price. Many professors also make free copies of the texts available in the campus library.

2. Ditch Your Car

With insurance, gas, campus parking fees and maintenance, cars are expensive. Unless it is absolutely necessary to have a car to travel between work and school, leave your pricey ride at your parent’s house. When you live on campus, almost everything you need is within walking distance. For occasional grocery shopping trips, call on Uber or split a cab fare with a friend. If there is a public transportation system, it should carry you anywhere else you need to go. Best of all, your college likely offers a student discount for monthly bus passes.

3. Learn About Meal Planning

Knowing how to plan out your meals for the week is a skill you will appreciate for the rest of your life, and one that will keep you from draining your bank account on fast food. Each week, list everything you plan to eat. This keeps your grocery shopping on task, which reduces your bill. As soon as you return home from the store, break up your groceries into your planned meal portions. Even if you don’t bring a full lunch to campus, pack snacks and water so that you can resist the to-go food temptations from the vending machines and cafeteria.

4. Leave the Lattes Alone

Caffeine and college students go together like peanut butter and jelly, but relying on a $5 cup of fancy java to get you through those all-night study sessions will quickly drain your bank account. Invest in a good quality machine so that you can make your own energy-boosting drinks. When you find yourself wandering into Starbucks for some quiet study time, stick with the $2 cup of coffee or tea and take advantage of the unlimited free refills.

5. Aim for Perfect Attendance

College doesn’t give out perfect attendance awards, but your ability to pass a class is closely tied to how often you are there. When you fail a class, you not only throw away money you have already paid out, but you also have to pay for it twice to retake it. As long as you withdraw from a class before the deadline, any tuition paid is refunded. Be careful though since dropping below a certain number of credits can jeopardize your financial aid package.

Developing a strict budget and sticking to it can help keep your impulse spending on track so that you have the funds to pay for these necessary things. Make sure you open a student bank account that doesn’t charge fees for low balances.

Looking for additional ways to save money in college? Consider enrolling in one of these inexpensive, online institutions: Cheapest Online Colleges for Bachelor’s Degrees.