How To Save Money As A Broke Student

It’s no secret that attending university can cost astronomical amounts of money, and that’s only referencing tuition costs. Apart from that, you’re responsible for textbooks, transportation to and from campus, boarding costs (if you choose to live on residence), food, etc. The list can go on forever. If you're not managing your money wisely, you can find yourself in some pretty tough situations down the road, so it’s important to keep a couple of things in mind.

Only buy what you can afford

This one might seem obvious, but then many find themselves in situations where they’re having to do some pretty weird things in order to buy the next sneaker fad or an overhyped handbag. Simply put, as the great Jay-Z once said, “you can’t afford something unless you can buy it twice”. Meaning, don’t spend $100 on a singular item until you have $200.

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Avoid your school’s bookstore

No doubt, your school’s bookstore is where you’re going to find items at their most expensive price, so it’s best to look for alternative avenues for your textbooks. The most popular and probably most accessible way to purchase heavily discounted used books would be Amazon. Not only does Amazon have an incredibly vast selection, but if you’re an Amazon Prime member (which is half price if you’re a student), you can receive an additional 10 percent off on all textbooks.


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Limit the amount of times you eat out

Now I’m not suggesting that you wake up at 5 a.m. every Sunday and meal prep (although that’s a great option for those whose schedules allow it) because frankly, most students don’t have the time or energy to commit to something like that. If you come up with a plan you can stick to, the likelihood of you succeeding at whatever that “thing” is skyrockets. In this case, if you were buying lunch four times a week, reduce that down to one or two days, and pack a lunch for the remaining days of the week. Not only will this save you hundreds of dollars a year ($10 for a burrito bowl at z-teca x four days a week= $160 per month on just your lunch), but learning how to cook proper meals for yourself is an essential life skill.

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Open up a savings account

If you have any amount of disposable income, it would be very smart of you to start contributing to a savings account that earns interest (simply put, this is basically free money). To start doing this (assuming you work part-time), every time that direct deposit hits, transfer some of it to your savings account. The amount you transfer is up to you: whether it be $10 or $100, as long as you’re contributing SOMETHING. The truly difficult part will be to just let the money sit there and accumulate over time, because no matter how tempting it is, you must not touch it! Treat it as if it doesn’t exist, and you’ll be surprised how much you’ve been able to save in just a couple of months. From there, what you decide to put the money towards is up to you.

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The topic of money can bring many people tremendous amounts of stress, and when you’re in a school that tends to go on strike every few years, you have enough things to be worrying about that are completely unrelated to money. Don’t let your credit score suffer because you realized you spent more than you could manage to pay back, and use these tips to hopefully start paving the road of smart spending.