Practical Ways to Save Money in College

College is a tricky situation when it comes to finances. We are (on average) full time students who want the luxuries of Beyonce, but don’t have the time because our calendars are flooded with study sessions, class, homework, and the little amount of time we have left to try to fit in a part time job so maybe we can eat something a little fancier than mac and cheese. Maybe you want to go somewhere exotic for Spring Break or even save for after college to help you get a head start on life. Here are a few tips to save a little cash while pursuing your passions.

1. Buy Used Textbooks/Sell Them After

This is such an easy thing to do to save loads of money. One of the cardinal rules of life I have learned is to never, I repeat, NEVER buy textbooks from the campus bookstore. They will overcharge you so much for something you could get for a fraction of the price. Some websites that you can find books for cheap or compare prices are slugbooks.com, cheggbooks.com, and amazon.com. After the semester is over, you can also resell your books and make a little more cash. A website you can do this through is textbooks.com.

2. Make Your Latte, Mocha, Etc. at Home

Stopping by Starbucks every day before class can be seriously draining to your bank account. Spending $5 a day, five times a week, for a month is $100 just towards coffee. If you do that for an entire year, that is $1200 just towards coffee! With that money you could buy a plane ticket halfway around the world! You don’t have to stop going to your favorite coffee shops completely, but you definitely don’t have to go every day. You can make some of your favorite recipes yourself at home for way cheaper.

My favorite drink to buy is a white chocolate mocha - and it’s actually super easy to make your own version at home. I just pour a little more than half a cup of coffee fill the rest of it with steamed almond milk, and then you can buy white chocolate syrup to mix in or just melt white chocolate with the milk!

3. Eat Out Less

This goes along with buying less coffee, but making your own food saves so much money. Going out and buying an avocado toast can set you back $7 on average, but it can cost less than $2 to make it yourself at home! Also, instead of going out to dinner with friends, occasionally switch it up and make something fun at home and have a movie night. You don’t have to stop eating out completely - just learn to start cutting back.

4. Treat Yourself to One Thing at a Time

We all love to pull a Tom and Donna from Parks and Rec and treat ourselves, but we don’t have to go crazy with it. A rule I like to use is to only “treat myself” to only one thing at a time. You don’t need to get your nails done, eyelashes done, and go tanning every week. Choose one thing that you want to splurge on to give you a confidence boost and just stick to that.

5. Invest in Quality Items

Even though it doesn’t seem like you are saving money right away, it will pay off in the long run. Investing in items you know you will need for a long amount of time it’s worth spending the money on once. Most things of lower quality will fall apart sooner and you will have to rebuy them multiple times, causing you to spend more money in the end. The few things that seem to be worth the investment for me are jeans, electronics, and shoes.

6. Use Campus Resources

Utilizing your campus resources that you already pay for with your tuition is one of the best ways to be smart with your money. Here at the University of Utah, we have a great Student Life Center with an amazing gym and rock wall, and at the beginning of the semester free fitness classes are offered. You can also take advantage of the library, inexpensive counseling services, and free events that go on throughout campus. So many departments offer free lunch for a variety of events. We also have campus representatives for many companies at our school who give out free items and put on free events. One example is Universal Pictures. They do free movie screenings for U students at Megaplex. You can keep up with those by checking out their instagram @universal_uofu.

There are so many ways to save money in college - these are just a few. If you save money on the small things it can actually make a big difference.

Sources: 1, 2, 3,