Let’s look at the facts: college is a money guzzler and school is going to be different this year, but expenses may still add up. Whether college will be online or manage to operate with physical classes, it will forever be important to know how to save money in college. Below are several creative ways to save money in college and generate income so you can graduate a boss while still having funds in your bank account!
Thrift store shopping. Underrated and passed over consistently, thrift store shops have always been an affordable way to dress well and furnish your dorm room without making your wallet weep. Thrift stores aren’t all dusty and outdated; many pop-up thrift stores are modern and clean. Look for thrift stores in your community and survey their inventory. You may be surprised at what you find in there. Of course, not everyone believes in buying secondhand items. But there are always more ways to save your “coins”!
Have a part-time job? Whether you are still in high school or already in college, try looking for part-time work if you can! Many retailers are willing to work with your school schedule and are filled with young workers who are generating income to help pay for college expenses. Bonus tip: with each paycheck, determine a certain amount to put towards your savings each time. For instance, you may decide to put $40 in your savings every time you get paid. Watch how quickly that can add up if you don’t touch it!
Discount stores! Many of us underestimate the saving power (and sometimes quality) of discount stores! Stores such as 5 Below, Dollar Tree, Roses, and Ross have a plethora of items that are suitable for college living. Never be too prideful to shop at a discount store!
Sign up for rewards programs. Rewards programs are saving monsters! If you haven’t already, see if your favorite grocery stores or clothing stores have any rewards or membership programs (I don’t recommend applying for store credit cards). Sign up and start saving! The more you shop and scan your rewards card at checkout, the more rewards points you get. These come in handy during college shopping.
How are you livin’? Will you be living in a dorm on campus, or at home with your family? If you’re going to a college in your hometown, you can save up to thousands of dollars on housing by staying at home.
Be wise about textbooks. Textbooks can seriously heighten up your college tuition, especially if you have several classes at once. Some teachers require their students to have textbooks in class as per participation grades. If textbooks are required, opt for used textbooks, which can be over a hundred dollars cheaper than a new book. But if you’re able to skip textbooks completely, the library is your greatest resource! They have books and additional readings that correspond to, and complement, your course material.
Leave your car at home. You will save hundreds of dollars on gas when you decide to take the bus, campus shuttle (or trolley), walk, or invest in a bike to get around campus and town.
Rethink meal plans. Meal plans help college students enjoy the luxury of campus food courts and cafeterias without paying that money out of pocket. If you don’t have a meal plan, you will have to pay your own money for the food, and that is expensive! In such a case, it’s helpful to have a part-time job or a side hustle.
Indulge in entertainment, events, and leisure by passing up on luxury subscriptions such as Netflix, Apple Music, and Hulu. Those monthly prices can accumulate! College gyms offer free memberships, and look for free campus events (or at least low-priced ones).
If you use credit cards, try to save them for emergencies only. If not, pay what you can pay back when the bill comes out at the end of every month. Build good credit now!
Pursue distance learning! Online classes are much more affordable (and flexible) than physical classes.
Use a piggy bank, that’s right, a real one! Save up your coins and cash them in after six months to a year (or when you need emergency money). You’ll be amazed at how quickly it adds up!