7 Ways to Save Money in College

Jokes about being a poor college student have taken the internet by storm. Despite this, I think it's safe to say that the average student would prefer to afford things. Here are a few lifestyle tweaks that will help you make the most of the money you have.


1. Brew your own coffee.


A Starbucks addiction may improve your alertness at 8AM lectures, but it certainly won’t improve your budget.

Consider reserving the coffee shop for a “treat yourself” occasion, as making your own coffee is not only cheaper but oftentimes healthier. With the large variety of coffee brewers available, it’s almost inexcusable to spend money on an overpriced drink every morning.

Students new to brewing coffee should start with local retailers, such as Target and WalMart. These places sell coffee makers ranging from automatic drip to french press.


2. Pack lunch.


Buying food on campus is convenient but expensive. A better alternative is to squeeze a meal prep into your daily routine whenever you have to be on campus for extended periods of time.

Sandwiches, pastas, salads, and quesadillas are just a few of the simple and affordable options students can choose from.


3. Stay away from prepackaged food.


A busy schedule may make it tempting to rely on preserved food, but this convenience certainly comes with a financial cost. The general rule of thumb is that any food item that’s already been cut, assembled, or prepared for you will be pricier than buying the ingredients separately and preparing the meal on your own.

Although it is sometimes necessary to stock up on frozen foods, try to save them for the emergency meals you truly don’t have the time to prepare.


4. Stop buying clothes you don’t need.


We all have that one shirt we told ourselves we would wear on that one hypothetical occasion. Don’t buy that shirt.

Maybe you already own a shirt that will make do, or maybe the occasion is a surf session and you can’t even swim. Regardless, if your wardrobe can do without the item, so can your shopping cart.


5. Buy and sell used items.


Read this post too late and already bought a shirt (or three) you don’t need?

Most universities have a “free and for sale” page through which you can buy and sell clothes, furniture, and the like. You are sure to find decent quality items for a good price through these websites. Likewise, why not bless other people with the items you rarely use while earning some cash in the process?

Thrift stores are a great way to sell items in bulk. Consider benefit thrift stores, such as Out of the Closet or Genesis, which help you not only save money but financially support a cause.


6. Rent textbooks.


Ah, the textbook: what every college student dreads taking out their wallet for at the start of each semester.

The price tag that comes with this one is oftentimes unavoidable, but most renting options cost a fraction of the book’s original price. I especially recommended renting if the textbook is one you don't see yourself reading after the semester is over. Plus, most renters allow you to buy the book later if you do decide it is something you would rather keep.

Slugbooks.com is frequently used to not only sell used textbooks but compare textbook prices. That way, you can be certain that you’ve found the best deal.


7. Walk or use public transportation whenever possible.


Walking will always be free, and school transportation systems are free in the sense that most university students have already paid for them through tuition.

Familiarizing yourself with the walkways and bus routes will not only save you money and force you to exercise, but protect you from the headaches of driving through on campus traffic.