From moving into dorms, commuting from home, tracking down new textbooks every semester, and buying school supplies to taking care of your computer, college students often juggle a lot of financial demands. If you aren’t careful, you can find your bank account drained in just a few swipes of a debit card.
Fortunately, if you want to learn how to save money in college, there’s plenty of advice and tips to get you there. Varsity understands the financial stress college can create. That’s why we’ve compiled some of the best conventional wisdom to remove some of that financial burden off your plate, allowing you to focus on your classes and succeed.
How to Save Money in College
The first hurdle to saving money is accepting that your spending habits may shift during this new stage of life. Everyone enters college with a different financial situation, so your budget for eating out, taking weekend trips, or even going to the movies may change as you take on financial responsibility.
Scholarships, job status, extracurricular responsibilities—these all vary from one individual to the next. You just have to do the best with what you have in order to thrive. In many cases, saving money begins with having the right expectations, and the right frame of mind.
For more practical advice, there are several actions you can take to keep a bit more green in your account:
Don’t Buy New Textbooks
In the modern day, there’s no real reason to buy every textbook brand new unless your professor requires you to. Before you break the bank, try sharing books with friends or classmates, or renting off a website like Amazon.
You can also save a lot of money in the long run by purchasing digital copies on sites like iFlipd. Sources like LibreTexts also ensure large repositories of textbooks are available to everyone.
Take Advantage of Your Student ID
Your student ID card is a crucial tool in the ongoing quest to save money in college. From reduced prices on tech through Apple and Adobe to discounts on clothes, movies, and restaurants, it’s always worth researching which local or national businesses give advantages to actively-enrolled students.
Limit Eating Out and “Fun” Activities
This one is the real killer, but it’s true. Late-night fast food trips and going out with friends can take a major toll on your money reserves. We’re not suggesting you cut these things out entirely, but it’s important to be mindful of how much more financial stress these activities can create down the line if you go several times a month or more.
Don’t Abuse Credit Cards
If you’re asking how to save money as a college student, there’s a major temptation to pay for things with credit cards and leave the problem for your future self to figure out.
Unfortunately, credit cards, though incredibly useful, can create an unearned sense of financial freedom if mishandled.
If you ever use a credit card, do so only if you know you’ll be able to pay off the balance soon. Otherwise, you may find yourself paying more in interest than you want.
Find Roommates, if Possible
Planning to live in an apartment? Spread out your rent cost by finding some friends who need a place too, or putting out an ad for roommates.
Additionally, in many cases, colleges and universities give you the option to reduce dormitory living expenses by sharing your space with another person or two. You might also be able to share resources, such as snacks, household goods, and more.
Campus Events and Amenities
Before going out, see if your campus offers any events, games, or similar ways to spend your time that won’t require you to drop some cash. If you live on campus, sporting events are often free or discounted for students.
Choose a Financial Service Designed for Your College Needs
Varsity is prepared to be a financial service that understands your needs during your university years. Track your spending anytime, anywhere with our online and mobile services and eStatements. If you’re managing your first-ever credit card, take advantage of our credit score tool, Credit Sense!