100 Ways to Save Money in College

by on July 21, 2010

Are you finding it hard to pay your way through college? If you wish to save money then the first thing you have to do is to manage it. There are both practical and creative ways by which you can save some money while you’re going to campus.

  1. Get yourself a free checking and savings account. Go for the banks those are catering to students. Make sure that you can manage your account without attached fees and same for accessing online banking and for paying bills.
  2. Banks offers free checks in the maximum amount they allow. Taking these free checks will save you money. Always keep in mind that extra checks become nothing more than wasted paper and wasted dollars.
  3. Keep track of your bank/checking account. It can easily cost you money via overdraft fees. Your debit card can easily get you into the red, if you have insufficient funds in your checking account.
  4. Get your credit card with the lowest interest rate possible. Always keep it in a safe place instead of carrying it everywhere.
  5. Never go over your credit limit and pay credit card bills on time as companies charge late fees, sometimes as much as $50 per month.
  6. Note each of your monthly expense in a notebook and tally up what you have spent. This way you can check the evils of your spending ways.
  7. Save the spare change and count it yourself as coin counting machine can charge you a fees.
  8. According to a survey college students spend about $5.5 billion on alcohol. So, don’t drink….well, if must then…
  9. Buy in bulk and the cheapest stuff available in the market. Don’t carry much money with you to limit how much you drink and spend.
  10. When you sit-down restaurant avoid ordering the alcoholic beverages.
  11. Try to borrow your textbook from someone in campus instead of purchasing a new one.
  12. You can also buy used college books to save money, or find a cheap text book resource.
  13. Hardcover books are cheaper then the soft cover, so hardcover is the cost-saving choice. Compare book prices from major online book stores.
  14. Check for an “international” edition when you go to buy a new one. You will wonder that although the book is exactly the same however exponentially cheaper.
  15. You can make some cash for yourself by selling your used textbooks.
  16. While living in the campus if you pay for a partial or whole meal plan, then use it.
  17. Make your own coffee instead of ducking into the corner coffeehouse every morning. Buy a coffee maker or even a small espresso machine for your room or apartment. You’ll save hundreds of dollars.
  18. Manage the money you have so do not tip. Keep your own change.
  19. Oatmeal is cost effective as well as fast.
  20. Keep healthy, affordable food in your room. Avoid fast food and late nights take out.
  21. Chase the weekly sales at the grocery store and collect coupons.
  22. Drink the regular tap water that is for free.
  23. When you are going to sit down in a large group in a restaurant, try to know in advance what the tone of the party will be and what will be expected.
  24. In case dining hall is closed and you want to eat some food, go for low-cost eatery where self-serve is available and you are not obligated to tip.
  25. Prepare a simple, candlelit dinner and stay in if you are on a date. Remember it’s not the food but the ambiance that works.
  26. If the pizza guy is lacking in customer service or have messed up your order then its better to save your tip.
  27. If you are thinking of buying a computer then save by shopping the student specials; discounts, rebates and back to school specials.
  28. Never take risks with your electronic equipment like Laptops and other trendy little electronics. Keep your room always locked.
  29. Use Linux software as this will help to keep you away from higher-priced Windows alternatives as software is another high-dollar item. Also shop online software clearing houses for discounted products from all vendors.
  30. Try Freeware and shareware for games, utilities, spyware removal, anti-virus and firewall programs.
  31. Make sure that your computer should be under manufacturer’s warranty for the first year.
  32. Protect your computer investment with anti-virus software and a firewall. Anti-virus and firewall protection will keep your computer in good working order and it will last much longer.
  33. Get your ink cartridge refilled from a local ink refilling store like CartridgeWorld when it runs dry. You can also try shopping for printer cartridges online for free shipping.
  34. Watch cable television through your computer and make sure your desktop or laptop has a DVD/CD player by which you can watch your favorite movies.
  35. Utilize your computer speaker sets for stereo as they have clear high and midrange sounds with clean bass.
  36. Look for free movies on campus and save money on going out to the movies.
  37. If you are looking for renting DVDs, rent it as a group. Pass the disk along before its due date. Only divide up with responsible friends.
  38. You can also subscribe to DVD rental service like Netfix.
  39. Turn your stock of personal DVDs that you don’t want anymore for credit at video stores.
  40. Used CDs are also available at the local music store. You can also buy them to save money.
  41. Study in groups, that help you to keep focused on the primary reason you’re in college. The more time you spend in studies the less time you have to spend money.
  42. Provide your services to other students as a tutor. You can survive well this money.
  43. Sometimes avoid spending money on a weekend. Choose to do something that interests you like a long walk, flying a kite or reading a good book.
  44. Fill your free time wisely by volunteering in kitchen.
  45. Check upcoming events for concerts, arts and crafts fairs, theater, festivals, art galleries, and museums in local newspapers.
  46. Explore your area of interest on the web, a virtually limitless land to discover something.
  47. Opt one evening a month to stay in and doing something alone for yourself.
  48. If you are living off campus then try to split rent with roommates.
  49. Rent a place which is equipped with all the appliances.
  50. Never spend on decor and accessories or look for affordable charges.
  51. Avoid late fees and pay utility bills before they are due.
  52. Whenever possible keep the A/C and heater down, this way you can save money on bills.
  53. As electricity costs much money so take care when you take showers, turn off lights, and use the oven sparingly.
  54. Insulate your windows with plastic in winters.
  55. If in your region winters are longer then live in upper floor otherwise live low. Upper floor will get hotter in the summer.
  56. When going to shop, go for places that offer students discount.
  57. Tax free week is also available in my regions, so go for shop accordingly.
  58. Always shop for the stuff you really need.
  59. Shop before or late for Christmas. These are the most cost efficient shopping days of their year.
  60. You can also create Christmas and holidays gifts with your own hands. Some craft stores sell every thing you need to make.
  61. Ask your friends to be practical this Christmas and exchange practical gifts. This saves you from spending the cash.
  62. Always try to buy in bulk. You’ll save money per unit for a pack.
  63. Do shopping online. This will save time as well transportation money and you can also avail free shipping.
  64. Shop for decorating the dorm room at discount stores.  The Pottery Barn dorm room may be great deal.
  65. Carry a snack in your purse when go shopping. If you shop hungry, you’ll spend more than you planned getting something to eat.
  66. Shop for clothes at the consignment shop, college students go there for the great finds in name brand kindly used clothes and accessories.
  67. Make sure that your fine consignment garments are washable versus dry clean only.
  68. Never take your car to the campus otherwise you have to spend money for parking and petrol.
  69. Try your skateboard, roller blade your way around town.
  70. Take an apartment which is closer to campus.
  71. Keep in mind public transportation is always cheap.
  72. If you don’t want to put out money from your bag then do the least amount of traveling.
  73. Some companies like Amtrak and Greyhound versus air travel offers student discounts. Check their prices.
  74. You can get nice discounts on accommodations, food, and transportation with student travel discount card.
  75. Money experts always advice Skip Spring Break.
  76. Family cell phone plans are cheaper then standalone account. So join them.
  77. Go to cell phone comparison sites as they offer side-by-side data of plans from company to company. You can save money and time on your next cell phone plan.
  78. Using a pay as you go cell phone plan is a good idea. This will only work if you make use of your cell phone on a minimal basis.
  79. Try to communicate via Email, create a blog, instant messangers.
  80. Subscribe to an online conference service or use an inexpensive or free internet phone calling service.
  81. Catch up with friends and family if you are traveling, especially out of the country and also check into the various international calling cards available.
  82. Share your room, apartment and can agree on products that suit both or all: soap, shampoo, blow dryer, curling iron, hair spray, conditioner, package of razors, shaving cream. Try to share the cost for personal toiletries.
  83. Avoid high-end grooming products like expensive shampoo or facial scrub.
  84. Buy the store brand as it is a cost-saving alternative. Go for a shop at a discount retailer.
  85. Wash your clothes for yourself instead of dropping your laundry at a service.
  86. You can buy discounted detergent or on sale only and fill the machine to capacity. These tips can save you money.
  87. Join club for an athletic program. You will gain instant friends and no-cost exercise and socialization.
  88. Buy yourself an exercise video game.
  89. Take advantage of low download costs if you need music. Buy iPods and similar devices for around $100.
  90. Fill up time by enrolling yourself in an on-campus exercise class such as yoga, tai chi, kick-boxing or spinning.
  91. A dog can offer low cost company always ready to walk, if you are feeling lonely on exercise, dogs love exercise, if you get one, w also recommend getting the best invisible fence for dogs | TheIslandNow.
  92. You can donate blood to get an extra couple hundred dollars a month.
  93. You will get paid, if you volunteer for a medical study.
  94. Give tuitions in the area of your expertise like computer skills, music lessons.
  95. Do a part time job in the food service industry. You can also eat for free there.
  96. Create a website about your favorite topics. You can earn from Google Adsense, by publishing relevant contextual ads on your websites.
  97. Troubleshoot your campus computer issues in exchange for few bucks.
  98. Ask graduate students for help with their dissertation research, proofreading, editing or document typing and formatting.
  99. Make your school year more comfortable by working extra during the summer.
  100. You can make a bit of extra pocket by offering a resume writing service.

(Photo courtesy: Inmagine)

{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

matthew July 21, 2010 at 6:27 am

101. barter stuff instead of buying it. For example textbooks, but also vacations or any kind of service you need. There are many bartersites where you can upload your WANTS and HAVEs for example http://www.barterquest.com


Janice July 27, 2010 at 8:13 pm

Awesome tips! I wish I would’ve known some of these before starting college. Lately, I’ve been looking at alternatives to spending so much money. I’m buying generic brands instead of brand name products. I got rid of my landline and changed from contract phone to pay as you go Net10 phone which you pay for as you use your minutes. I got the $30 phone and got 300 minutes free. Great deal and really good service too! All of those tips have definitely helped me save money.


NiceTips July 31, 2010 at 5:24 pm

Nice tips – #78 You can use prepaid for more than just occasional usage. I use Net10 and I am in grad school. Since so much of my communication is email, text, etc, even though I also make phone calls, the Net10 phone is so much better than the expensive contract phone plans out there. I have saved a ton of money without having to eat ramen haha.


ryan August 2, 2010 at 11:49 am

Great tips! Also another suggestion, you can earn loads of $$ if your college/university have a psychology department, you can earn cash ranging from $1-$50 or more for participating in a research/experiment..


Mike December 14, 2010 at 6:58 pm

If only I would have thought of tip number 32 before being the nice guy and letting everyone “borrow” my laptop (and then learning about viruses the hard way…..)! Great list!


Rachael February 4, 2011 at 1:47 pm

I STRONGLY disagree with #91: A dog can offer low cost company always ready to walk, if you are feeling lonely on exercise, dogs love exercise.

Dogs cost from $2,000 a year up. They eat dog food, require vet bills, insurance, etc. Even if you get one from the shelter you need to have enough disposable income to spare if it gets in an accident. College students don’t have this!!


iretire editor February 7, 2011 at 6:00 am

@ Rachael Everyone is free to put their own opinion but I think you didn’t understand the purpose of the point.

A dog is a mans best friend and they are always ready to go for a walk outside and it’s compulsory to take them out at least twice a day, which will help you get some exercise as well, and by keeping your health you will not fall sick, which will save you money on your meds.


bhanukiran July 11, 2011 at 5:52 am

I know how to save my money


Richard Hughes July 20, 2012 at 3:55 am

I find myself agreeing with Rachael about the dog issue.

They are very expensive, hence the reason most students don’t have them.

The only way that having a dog is going to save you money on healthcare expenses is if you normally spend more than $2,000 a year on healthcare, which I suspect most people don’t.

They are good company though.


Christina Goche July 27, 2012 at 4:35 am

I agree with buying second hand books to save money. They are still in good condition because they aren’t used for long.


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