There are plenty of ways to make some money while in school, but the biggest problem students face is how to save the money they already have in order to spend it efficiently. Here are 15 easy ways to save money while in college.
1. Track your finances / make a budget
It’s hard to tell what you’re spending your money on without keeping track. Make a simple list of what you have and what you plan on spending it on, it makes it much easier to keep your finances under control.
2. Open a student savings account
It’s smart to have a place to put your extra money so it’s less tempting to spend it. Student savings accounts often have higher interest rates so you earn more as you save.
3. Join rewards programs at grocery stores / pharmacies
Check the places you shop most, do they have a rewards card or points system you can sign up for? It’s often free and if you’re going to spend money there anyway, might as well take advantage of those benefits. Hannaford and Rite Aid are two close to the UNH campus that offer rewards programs:
4. Make your own coffee
The average college student can spend $3-$6 a day on coffee. That could end up taking away almost $100 a month from your budget. Invest in a cheap coffee maker and start making your own coffee, your wallet will thank you.
5. Walk / take campus transportation
When you spend a majority of your day on and around campus, there’s no need to drive all the time. With less being spent on gas and parking meters, that money can go elsewhere. Also, walking is healthy and gives you an excuse to skip the gym.
6. Find PDF versions, rent, or buy used textbooks
I’m sure you’ve heard this advice before, or learned it the hard way during freshman year. Never buy new textbooks if you can avoid it. Shop around for the lowest price, ask students who have taken the class for their old book, and even look for free PDF versions online.
7. Eat out less / plan your meals
It’s okay to eat out once in a while, and as a college student you certainly save time and effort doing so. However, try to limit eating out to one or two times a week. The price of those meals can be the very thing eating away your funds.
8. Look for places that offer student discounts
You’ll be surprised how many places have them, and online shopping as well! It only takes a quick online search or to ask in person.
9. Use refillable water bottles
Don’t waste money constantly buying plastic bottles. Find a cute, cheap refillable bottle and use that instead.
10. Buy store-brand products
They’re practically the same as name brand, and most of the time produced by the same companies. The lower price tag will make a difference.
11. Buy discount or thrift
While it may be tempting to spend a majority of your money on clothes and accessories, be smart about where you shop. There are tons of discount stores with designer brands like TJMaxx, Marshalls, and online thrift stores with great selections like https://www.thredup.com/.
12. Keep a change jar / or the “$5 Rule”
Don’t dismiss spare change, keep a jar of it! You’ll be surprised how quickly it adds up.
Also, try implementing the “$5 Rule.” Every time you acquire a $5 bill, save it instead of spending it, if you do this for a year you will have saved tons of extra money.
13. Avoid credit cards
BUT if you absolutely need one, look for a card with good cash-back rewards. See here for a good list: https://www.thesimpledollar.com/best-cash-back-credit-cards/
14. Participate in campus events
Take advantage of these events… often times they come with free food, apparel, and activities!