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84 Ways to Save Money in College

By on January 14, 2013
Saving Money in College

Everybody should try to graduate college with very little to no debt. These pointers should help you save money, so take heed!

  1. Learn to cook. Eating at home is cheaper. Eating out is more expensive.
  2. Purchase groceries and supplies in bulk. Little snacks, milk, juice, paper towels, shaving cream, etc, are on discounts if you buy in larger amounts. If you don’t want or need all the stuff you’re buying, then talk to a friend and split the cost of a bulk purchase. You’ll both save money.
  3. Utilize your freezer. Cook food in larger quantities, and save leftovers for the next day or two.
  4. Don’t buy from vending machines. Period. If you so desire snacks, go to a Safeway or Costco (and buy in bulk).
  5. Avoid brand names. Brand names charge more just for the name. Purchase goods or clothing generically.
  6. Try vegetarian. Whether you’re eating out, or cooking your own, vegetarian meals are statistically cheaper. I’m not saying you should become one, but try it out!
  7. Don’t do drugs or smoke. It’s a no brainer. If you’re broke, and you smoke three packs a day the solution is obvious.
  8. Coffee. First, I know it’s hard, but try to avoid buying coffee from a Starbucks or local coffee stops. Try to make your own. Better yet, just don’t drink coffee.
  9. Don’t be such an alcoholic. It costs money and it makes you want to eat more, which in turn costs more money. Just cut back on the drinking!
  10. Live with more people. The more people you live with, the cheaper it’ll be. Obviously, there are down-sides to this, but if you’re trying to save money you’ll have to make this sacrifice!
  11. Talk to your property owner. Try to strike a deal, reminding the land lord how great of a tenant you’ve been.
  12. Temperature. Your thermostat should not be at 70 degrees. Ever. Keep it down to 53 or lower! Wear more blankets and clothes.
  13. Walk. Or bike. If you have a car, you know the gas prices are not cheap. So stop being lazy and walk a mile or two!
  14. Public transportation. If you can’t make that walk, or don’t have a bike, still don’t use your car. Public transportation is cheaper, especially since your student ID will likely give you a huge discount.
  15. Only have one phone. You don’t need a cellphone and an itouch and a landline. Pick one, or the bills will add up fast.
  16. Research before buying. If you do your homework online, you’ll likely find a better deal of the same quality. Before you pay $45 for something, check it out online and see what kinds of discounts you can/will get.
  17. Utilize your library. You will save hundreds, even thousands, by going to the library when you need books, videos, or magazines. Don’t buy what you can get for free!
  18. Go multiple places when shopping. Just because you see something amazing that you just have to have doesn’t mean another place doesn’t have it for cheaper.
  19. Avoid clothes that need dry-cleaning. It’s just an added cost you don’t need.
  20. Utilize student discounts. Check out our Student Deals section to learn more about how you can save money by being a college student.
  21. Cheaper entertainment. Keep your eyes peeled for when movies or museums are cheaper. Go to the places that offer “buy one, get one free.”
  22. Stay at home movies. You don’t always have to go out to a theater! Stick to your room and invite friends over. It can be the same, if not more fun!
  23. Gifts. If you’re getting someone a present or gift, you don’t have to spend a small fortune. Hand-making a gift is not only cheaper, but more meaningful to the person anyways.
  24. Don’t believe credit cards pushers. These people try to get college students to take their credit cards, offering cool prizes just for signing up. Don’t do it.
  25. Use online discounts/coupons. They’ll come in handy. Trust me.
  26. Avoid air conditioning in your car. You’ll save gas.
  27. Carpool. If you are that far away, find a partner or two to ride with.
  28. Manual cars. If you’re going downhill, then don’t gas it. Just fly neutral without wasting gas.
  29. Recycle your cans and bottles. It’s good for the environment, and you get a stipend on top of that. Just do it!
  30. Keep your receipts. Many receipts have extra coupons and special offers on the reverse side. Check them out and see what discounts you’re interested in.
  31. Go to school events that offer free food. That’s one more meal you don’t have to pay for, or cook!
  32. Don’t go to the grocery store when you’re hungry. End of story.
  33. Trade clothes with your friends. If you’re seriously that bored of your clothes and you absolutely want new things, just do an exchange with your friend who is equally bored. No need for both of you to go out and buy more.
  34. Rent your textbooks. Clearly, it’s always cheaper than buying.
  35. Join Amazon Student. You get unlimited free two-day shipping on all purchases.
  36. Read newspapers or magazines online. You don’t have to pay for the monthly subscriptions.
  37. Bring re-usable bags when shopping. If you’re in a location that does this, don’t pay for that 50 or 99 cent bag. It’s pointless and it will add up.
  38. Use Groupon.
  39. Learn to budget.
  40. Acquire friends with skills. If you know people who cut hair, fix cars, etc, then you’re in luck!
  41. Desirable work benefits. If you get a job, work somewhere that gives you discounts on food, goods, clothing, whatever.
  42. Sell your hobby. Good at massages? An excellent cellist? Don’t give out your services for free, even if it’s small change.
  43. Don’t buy new things. Buy used from Good Will or Craigslist.
  44. Subsidized loans. They don’t build interest until after you graduate. Unsubsidized loans will start building interest much sooner. You don’t want that.
  45. Use candles. Why do you need electricity anyways? Cavemen survived, so can you.
  46. Re-wear clothes. You don’t have to throw things into the wash after wearing them for a few hours.
  47. Avoid Laundromats. Find a friend who has a wash and drier, and pay them a couple dollars. It’ll be cheaper.
  48. Hang-dry clothes. You don’t need to use a drier. The sun is as good a medicine as any.
  49. Don’t wash your hair daily. First, it’s proven that isn’t even good for your hair. Second, you’ll save shampoo and/or conditioner.
  50. Use an electric kettle. They automatically switch off when the water boils.
  51.  Get a free checking and savings account. Banks always try to swindle people into paying for their accounts. Most students can get them for free, so do so!
  52. Get low interest rates on credit cards. Why pick the one that has a higher interest rate? There’s literally no point and you’re losing money.
  53. Pay bills on time. Debt is bad and will cost you a lot more in the long run.
  54. Buy cheap alcohol. I’m assuming you can’t live without it, because the obvious solution is to not buy alcohol at all. But if you must, buy Pabst Blue Ribbon or Old English (40oz). They’re cheap!
  55. Join a beer brewers club. If you’re in love with beer, you’ll get cheap beer.
  56. Don’t order alcohol at restaurants. Ever. They charge ridiculous amounts.
  57. Borrow or buy used textbooks.
  58. Ramen Noodles. Bad for you, but extremely cheap. They taste pretty good too.
  59. Don’t tip pointlessly. It’s a good idea to give tips to someone who’s waited on you all night, but if some good looking waitress pours you a cup of tea, there’s no need to tip her $5.
  60. Oatmeal. Try it, it’s quick, filling, and cheap.
  61. Collect coupons. It’s even kind of fun.
  62. Avoid bottled water. You do realize you’re paying for something that you can get from the sink or fridge for ten times cheaper, right?
  63. Don’t take risks with electronics. Don’t leave your room and leave your door open when your laptop is right there. Theft is commonplace in college, as unfortunate as it is.
  64. Software. There are usually free software/freeware that does the same job as what you’re paying for. For example, don’t pay for Norton anti-virus when Malwarebytes is free and gets the job down.
  65. Decline extended warranties. Your computer’s probably already under warranty for at least half a year, and they just want you to pay them extra for a two year warranty. Trust me, by then you’ll already have a new laptop anyways.
  66. Buy ink cartridges online. In store, you’ll have to pay over $50 a trip. Online, you’re looking at $15.
  67. Recycle old electronics.
  68. Don’t buy a TV. Nowadays, most people can watch HD Cable on their computer. You can put in movies or TV shows as well.
  69. Rent DVDs with friends. Pass it on each day to the next person and split the cost. You’ll be paying virtually nothing.
  70. Blockbuster rentals. The company is so defeated, they’re giving out movies for free now. You might have to wait a bit, but they’re free!
  71. Don’t buy music. Just stick to Pandora or Spotify.
  72. Form study groups. The more time you’re spending on your education, the less time you have to spend money. If study groups give you motivation, then by all means.
  73. Volunteer at a homeless shelter. It’ll give you a good idea of what it’d be like to be completely broke and on the streets.
  74. Waste time on Facebook. At least you’re not spending money! Although many people believe time is money. Go study.
  75. Don’t buy room decorations. Who doesn’t like plain white walls?
  76. Turn off lights when you’re not in the room. Don’t waste electricity.
  77. Insulate windows with plastic. Don’t turn the heat up during that cold winter.
  78. Shop early/late for holidays. If you buy stuff during prime Christmas or Valentines seasons, you’re paying 75% more than normal.
  79. Get a cheap phone plan. Chances are you’re going to use your phone differently than you did in high school. Adjust accordingly, and pay less!
  80. Stay with family on trips. If you’re travelling with a friend or alone, call your relatives to see if you can stay with them for a night instead of paying for a hotel.
  81. Avoid facials, manicures, and pedicures. Do you really need them?
  82. Join a club. It’s like getting free, instantaneous friends.
  83. Get sponsorships for a run. Paying for your education is a charity. This is a common occurrence, so don’t be shy.
  84. Donate blood and/or sperm. It’s not actually donating, because you get paid a little extra and it’s easy for you to give!

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About Stephen Zhang

Stephen is currently an undergradute student attending UC Berkeley. He's an entrepreneur, developing innovative ideas and executing methods for online marketing and social media.

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