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How to Save Money While in College

Updated on March 2, 2019

Obviously, saving money in college is important, especially if you have student loans to pay off. These are some tips that I've come to use during my college career.

1) Stay close to home

Unless if you're going to a fancy-schmancy private school, your highest costs will be the costs of living. Going to school near parents or other family can mean help if you need it. And out-of-state tuition costs are often ghastly. Also, living at home while attending college might work for some students (just not me).

2) Attend a state university or community college

Some such schools can look perfectly fine to a potential employer. And are probably dramatically cheaper. Sure, Harvard most likely trumps your local JC in an interview, but sometimes a state school would look just as good as a university.

3) Buy and sell your books online

In case you couldn't tell already, the bookstores on campus suck. They suck up your money and your time and your spirit, not to mention that they just suck in general. So avoid all that by going on Amazon or eBay to purchase and resell your books and materials. I prefer Amazon; the cheapest books on are usually from Amazon anyway. It also helps to e-mail your professors once you have selected your classes, before they start, to figure out what books you'll need so you can order them ahead of time. That way you won't be stuck if the bookstore runs out or charges outlandish prices.

4) Be an RA!

Working as a resident advisor (or resident director, or any other title depending on the school) helped me save more than $9,000 in one year; the job compensated me for room and board for that time. It was a really fun and rewarding experience, honestly, and allowed me to worry about other things than working away from campus. It was great not having to pay for transportation, such as if I forgot something in my room; all I had to do was walk back. And I got to eat on campus too, which also saved time and effort in not having to cook or spend money on food.

5) Use public transportation

Parking on campus is probably going to be hell. Buses are extremely convenient, and usually so many other people are using them that their routes, times, and prices will be well-suited to your own schedule.

6) Take advantage of freebies!

Organizations know that students are attracted to free food, gifts, and such. They will use them to try to get you to sign up for activities or groups. Let them suck you in temporarily.

7) Stop going out to eat!

Sure it's fun to hang out in restaurants with friends. But damn, will it drain your budget. Just eat something before you go so you won't be such a vaccuum. Go to Costco and buy in economy size.

8) Create a separate savings account to keep your earnings out of your hands

If I didn't deposit my extra money somewhere other than my checking account, it ended up in my shopping fund. No bueno. It was better just to take my paycheck and put it directly into my savings account.

9) Don't be afraid to go used

Buying used furniture, for instance, helped me save lots. While my friend went to IKEA and spent $1,500 on new furniture and home items, I spent $105 by going to garage sales and the Salvation Army. I also used classified ads and asked friends and acquaintances. Selling used stuff is a great way to get rid of junk and earn more money too. Craigslist and eBay are great for this.

10) Be a girl... you can get free beers! Haha...ha. Just kidding. Kind of.

10 for real) Remember that you're a college student

These years in school aren't the ones in which you can spend like before. You're in college. You should have no money. Money comes after you graduate and you have a good/better job to pay for stuff. Don't start incurring debts now just because you can pay for it later.


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    • profile image

      Transportation Collection Agency 

      9 years ago

      Nice hub and funny at a girl! that cracked me up

    • chanceface08 profile image


      9 years ago from New Jersey

      I must say awesome to what you wrote. I went from going to a two year school then transfering out after completion of an A.S. degree to finish my B.A. degree. It is well worth it.

      Being an R.A. does pay off in the long run. Especially keep up the grades and apply for the position. Does come in handy especially when room rates cost close to what tuition is. So it's a perk to get free housing.

      Definately went for the freebies on campus at my four yr school. Especially when it came down to outdoor bbq's....that way i didn't have to deal with the lousy cafeteria food. And took advantage of club fairs or anything that was being created into the event. Usually at mmost some tables had candy, freebies (tote bags w/ school name on it, pens/pencils, stress relief ball for hands, condoms, etc).

      Eating out definately puts a hole in the pocket for sure. Although most cafeterias are good and bad. Bought food for the dorm room in bulk from Sam's club and it last til at least the first winter break. So i just replenished the following semester of what I needed.

      *thumbs up*


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