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How to Live Like a Cheap College Student

Updated on May 4, 2012

Living Cheaply -- Lots of Great Tips!

This lens will give you lots of ideas for saving money. These tips are great for college students and other folks trying to save some cash. In these rough times, we could all use a few tips for saving money.

(stock photo by Gothicmamas-stock on deviantArt)

Cheap and Delicious Ramen!
Cheap and Delicious Ramen!

Tips for Living on a College Student's Budget

Tricks for Making Real Life Cheaper

Whether or not you are going to college, it's smart to have a college student's mindset when trying to save money. College students want to save as much as they can, whether so they have enough money to buy expensive textbooks or so that they can have a little extra fun on Saturday nights. Here are some tips and tricks so you can save money too!

1. Ramen can be cheap, delicious, and healthy, and you don't have to live in a dorm to enjoy it! A favorite of students for decades, ramen noodles can cost less than a quarter per package, making them extremely cost effective. However, they are not particularly healthy by themselves. Try mixing cooked ramen with frozen veggies, tomato pasta sauce, or cheese for a little added nutrition. Ramen salads are also extremely cheap and can be very healthy.

2. Re-use your water bottles! Buying bottled water is great (certainly healthier than soda), but why not re-use the plastic bottle? Re-fill your bottles with tap water to save money.

3. Skip the bookstore -- go to the library instead! Going to the public library is free, and you can learn about anything you want to just by checking out several books (or DVDs!) at a time. A weekly trip to the library is a great cheap way to entertain yourself and learn a little extra fact or two.

4. Shop at garage sales! You can get some great funky stuff for a quarter or less at garage sales. Clothes, furniture, nail polish, books, electronics, and so much more can be purchased for next-to-nothing at garage sales and yard sales. Shop around and take your time -- you may find a gem others have missed!

Keeping a cheap mindset will ensure a comfortable future, and you certainly don't have to suffer for it! College students are very happy, and live on a frugal budget at the same time.

Great Cheap Products on Amazon

Great items to help you save more money!

Money-Cash4 by 2bgr8STOCK on deviantArt
Money-Cash4 by 2bgr8STOCK on deviantArt

More Tips on Saving Money While In College

A Few More Helpful Hints.

Here are some tips and tricks for saving cash while living through that expensive time known as college. Be sure to leave a note in the guestbook at the bottom of the page if you have any tips to share!

1. Try buying textbooks online. Often you can save funds by shopping around online instead of investing in expensive textbooks at the college bookstore. Books can cost hundreds of dollars per term, and if you don't shop smart, you may run out of money before you graduate. Online bookstores, like have textbooks for much cheaper than the college bookstores do.

2. Don't buy vending machine food! It's unhealthy AND expensive. Instead, bring your own snacks to school with you in your backpack. Dried fruit, mixed nuts, and candy (some great snacks for between classes to keep your brain moving) are much cheaper at the grocery store, so invest in a shopping trip to save money on school food.

3. Carpool!! It's an old tip, but it's tried and true, and increasingly relevant in today's economy. Gasoline is so expensive right now, so find some friends that live near you (especially if you commute), and compare school schedules to see when you can share a ride. You'll save gas money, you'll be able to use the carpool lane through traffic (yay!), and you can have some fun conversations with your friends on the way to school.

How do you save money?

Which of these tips has saved you the most money?

See results

Other Great Amazon Products - More books to save you money in college and beyond!

Did you save a ton of money in college? Tell us your best tips and tricks! Spread the love.

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    • profile image


      5 years ago

      @TanoCalvenoa: One more tip: Tap water, if you leave it out and open to the air after pouring it for about 20 to 30 minutes, will taste a lot better because the chlorine will evaporate away quickly. Chlorine is why tap water tastes not so good, but if you let it sit it goes away!

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      Hi! Something that helped was that after a few dates with the woman I ended up marrying, she suggested we just do things that don't cost money like walk around the mall together.

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      Some nice money saving ideas! My favorite is visiting the library!

    • Millionairemomma profile image


      6 years ago

      I did the ramen noodle thing but got quite sick. This lens brings back memories. Still, I enjoyed viewing it.

    • Bluemoongoddess1 profile image

      Lisa Musser 

      6 years ago from Kansa, USA

      I can definitely identify with the ramen noodles, I've eaten a ton of noodle dishes.

    • bechand profile image


      7 years ago

      I did all of that in college - now I try to save - but I do eat a bit better (PS mac and cheese and hotdogs are also cheap !) - I was a commuter and I kept a ton of can goods in my locker, so I didn't have to eat out if i didn't have time to pack - i found that many others shopped in my locker, I had it so if they needed something to eat, they could help themselves (shared the combo) and then replace as they could (honor system - worked great) so we all ended up saving by eating out of my locker !

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      great hints! I've tweeted since it's that time of year again!

    • squid-pinkchic18 profile image


      7 years ago

      These are great tips! I managed to live pretty frugal throughout college with some of these tips as well. Great job with this lens!

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      The first lessons in prudence. Being a student was a wake up call for me, food parcels from home were a necessity! I recommend fried jam sandwiches.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      It has been many, many years for me, and don't miss those days at all! Some great tips here, and another is don't get a credit card, at least not until you have steady income. That can sink you quicker than anything!

    • Meloramus profile image


      8 years ago

      Lots of great tips here. Students need all the help they can get!

    • Sylvestermouse profile image

      Cynthia Sylvestermouse 

      8 years ago from United States

      Most of these are great tips for everyone. I have been amazed at how much money we save by buying the textbooks online instead of through the college bookstore. I always compare them and each semester we average a $200 savings for each child. That is a lot when you have two college students. They never mind getting used books instead of new, but often we can find a huge savings even on new.

    • JJNW profile image


      8 years ago from USA

      Congrats on your Monster-ous Squid Trophies!

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Very good first lens and excellent advice for starving students.

    • JJNW profile image


      8 years ago from USA

      I just added your page as a featured lens on my page Cool Stuff for College Students!

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Love the ideas on saving money! The public library is one of my favorite treasures! I check out books one after the other and the awesome part is that it's all free, whereas if you buy the books from the bookstore they would easily add up to hundreds of dollars. Also, I never go anywhere without first checking the sales and coupons for deals!

    • JJNW profile image


      8 years ago from USA

      This is a great site for starving students...and hungry parents! Ha. CONGRATZ on your very first Squidoo lens! Great job. I love the ramen recipe book! Who knew??

      HEY Squidpals - this is my "kid's" page! Give her some of that awesome Squidoo love!


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