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6 Money-Saving Tips for College Students

Updated on April 10, 2012

The definition of “college student” should be “one who is continually broke and stressed out.” With most of their money going toward tuition and books, there’s little left for other necessities, much less anything recreational. Here are six tips that will help college students save money.

Don't waste your money. Learn some money-saving tips today!
Don't waste your money. Learn some money-saving tips today! | Source

To help you (or the college student in your life) get more bang for your buck, try the money-saving tips below.

1. Prioritize your expenses. Make a list of the must-haves then work your way down to your wants. Utilities are usually included in off-campus apartments but consider whether you really need to have cable. If you have a roommate, one of you can pay for cable, another can pay for another luxury service. Or trade services: you mow the lawn for your landlord in exchange for a reduced rent.

2. Get creative with jobs. Look beyond flipping burgers. Can you tutor others in your subject major? Edit or proofread term papers? One enterprising student I know sells his plasma to the American Red Cross. Not to be confused with selling blood, he’s able to sell his plasma twice a week with no adverse health consequences.

3. Learn to cook. If you live off campus, eating at home saves you money and is healthier for you. You’ll be able to stretch your food dollars by using leftovers in creative ways plus you’ll be avoiding the mega-calories in fast food. You might even consider going vegetarian to save on the cost of meat. If that’s too extreme for you, try serving a meatless meal two or three times a week.

4. Rethink buying new textbooks. Students rarely get the full value of their books when they sell them back to the college at the end of the semester. Some schools rent their textbooks. If yours doesn’t, consider these possibilities: Buy them used – you can always buy a new copy of those you want to keep for your profession. Buy them from students who have finished the classes you’re signed up for. Borrow them from someone else. Buy them online at one of the companies that sell textbooks at a discount such as this one.

5. Leave the driving to them. Use mass transit - it will save wear and tear on your car and frees you up to nap or do some last minute studying. Most bus lines offer student discounts. Some may even sponsor their own bus to take students around campus and to key locations around town for free.

6. Don’t pay full price to furnish your place. Scout out the dollar stores, thrift stores and yard sales. Beg, borrow and “steal” from family and friends. Couches, beds and kitchenware only need to last you several years. When you start earning a paycheck, then you can invest in quality pieces.

With these six money-saving tips, college students can enjoy some of the more fun experiences of their college days without being too stressed out about money.


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    • Danette Watt profile image

      Danette Watt 5 years ago from Illinois

      Hi Stephanie, I'm so glad you found these tips useful and thanks so much for Tweeting it!

    • Stephanie Henkel profile image

      Stephanie Henkel 5 years ago from USA

      This is a useful and timely article as college students go back to school! Great money saving tips! Voted up and Tweeted!

    • Danette Watt profile image

      Danette Watt 6 years ago from Illinois

      Thanks ktrapp, for reading and I can certainly relate to being broke and stressed out. I hope your son finds a job soon. Mine finally landed one on campus.

    • ktrapp profile image

      Kristin Trapp 6 years ago from Illinois

      Hhmm - My son may need to sell his plasma, because he's done everything to find a job where he is, but to no avail. For some reason your definition of a college students also applies to me, the mom, too.

    • Danette Watt profile image

      Danette Watt 6 years ago from Illinois

      Ah well, live and learn, eh daskittlez69? Thanks for reading and the vote up.

    • daskittlez69 profile image

      daskittlez69 6 years ago from midwest

      I wish I would have read this hub before I started college. I was probally a junior before I did 3/4 of your list. Great hub here is an up and a useful!

    • Danette Watt profile image

      Danette Watt 6 years ago from Illinois

      Thanks Husky1970 for the votes.

      I didn't have the typical college experience myself - I was an older, non-traditional student. Most of the ideas here I got from my son (the plasma donor) who just finished his sophomore year May 2011.

    • profile image

      Husky1970 6 years ago

      Excellent advise for college students looking to stretch their dollars. Voted useful and up. Very helpful.

    • profile image

      janet2 7 years ago

      Tracfone is the service that i recommend for everyone. No matter who or where you are tracfone seems to get the best reception par none. As a college kid I like tracfone cuz there? service is the best value. I was just sick and tired of getting bullied with ridiculous fees and such.

    • Danette Watt profile image

      Danette Watt 7 years ago from Illinois

      Emilybee,thanks for reading my hub. Welcome to Hubpages!

    • emilybee profile image

      emilybee 7 years ago

      Great hub! Great tips on saving money in this hub. Thanks for sharing.

    • Danette Watt profile image

      Danette Watt 7 years ago from Illinois

      Thanks toknowinfo. College life can be challenging, that's for sure, no matter what age the student is. glad you liked it.

    • toknowinfo profile image

      toknowinfo 7 years ago

      Adorable definition of a college student. The hub is filled with practical advice. Thanks for putting such a well done article together. Rated up and useful.

    • Danette Watt profile image

      Danette Watt 7 years ago from Illinois

      Jennifer - thanks for sharing your experiences prioritizing expenses -- something all of us need to do, whether we are in college or not.

    • profile image

      Jennifer 7 years ago

      I agree 100% with your #1 -- priorotize your expenses! I cut down on eating out and my cell phone bill. Instead, I cook at home and got a prepaid cell phone. For my phone, I am paying $45 a month for unlimted text, data, and minutes. It really is a great deal for college students because you get everything you need at an extremely afforable price.

    • Denise Handlon profile image

      Denise Handlon 7 years ago from North Carolina

      Danette-loved the opening lines and definition of a college student, LOL. Great hub-I voted it up for its usefulness. Wonderful tips and eye catching subtitles. Kept me reading through to the end.