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7 Frugal Living Tips for College Students - Making your Money Stretch

Updated on August 13, 2013

Making Money go further in College

These tips can help you save more money and help to stretch every dollar you do have while in college. These ideas can be adapted to anyone really, and if this way of thinking and spending becomes a habit in your life, you can save money long term as well.

1. First thing is to never buy a new textbook unless you absolutely have to. You can spend a small fortune on new books once you get that syllabus for a new class! Later on, when you have more money you can afford perhaps to invest in newer versions if some become favorites (like in literature classes for instance). Now is the time to save. Think "library" and ebay and for your used book purchases. Local used bookstores are great too.

2. Pack your lunch instead of buying it when you are out or on campus. Its so fun to buy food especially when you are hungry but you can literally save so much money on this one that it isn't even funny. Save those extra dollars for necessities and avoiding debt, and for the occasional really fun night out with some friends perhaps. Make your own coffee, pop some popcorn, make use of the kitchen if they have one for everyone to use and put your name on things if you are worried people will steal your food.

3. If you are on a meal plan, don't get too carried away with it. Consider doing two meals a day instead of three. You sometimes may not even make every meal, like after a long night studying, you may miss breakfast, etc. Sometimes, you may eat out for lunch or dinner as well. Go for less than 3 meals a day, it can save a lot. Start with fewer than you think you will need, and know you can add later on if you need to.

4. Go for used furniture in your dorm room or wherever you live. If you have to buy furniture, let others know you are keeping an eye out for some used furniture that people may not want anymore. Look in papers and on public boards for notices of people giving away furniture. Sometimes graduating seniors are looking to get rid of things the don't need anymore. Watching for great sales is another way.

5. Use all the campus entertainment that you can, for your entertainment. Go to games, support the different teams. There is a lot to observe and do if you pay attention, right on campus. Save gas and fees and go for free. Rent and watch movies on campus with friends. Play games, they are so fun with your college friends. Get out and enjoy nature and the area you are in.

6. Keep an eye out for free food at campus events, and also watch for other free things your campus offers to students. Is there a fitness center, or a pool, a track? The library and its magazine subscriptions is another option if you are bored or need a break from studying.

7. If your school doesn't mind, and you are on a meal plan, consider grabbing an apple or snack to go for later on when you get hungry and are studying. Cereal is another option for a great snack. Don't abuse the system by any means, but little bits can fill you up and help you save from ordering a pizza in, for example.


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    • oceansnsunsets profile image

      Paula 7 years ago from The Midwest, USA

      Thank you Stephchicks, I appreciate that! I agree, its a good way to begin a great pattern for life.

    • stephhicks68 profile image

      Stephanie Hicks 7 years ago from Bend, Oregon

      Great tips! Living frugally in college will also help once you graduate and start looking for a job!