The Best Money-Saving Strategies College Students Have Never Heard Of
The starving college student. Pretty stereotypical, right? But also pretty right. We all try to find ways to save a little money, eat something besides ramen noodles, and have enough money to go out with friends for a break. You’ve probably heard of couponing (and tried it) but who has the time for cutting all those coupons? And if you’re like me, you’ve cut the coupons then left them at home when you head out to the store. Here are a few other strategies that might work for you. Good luck! And if you have any other ideas of your own, you might consider entering Dealspotr’s couponing scholarship for your change to win the $2,000 scholarship.
Get Free Food
Many grocery stores give out free samples of items which are on sale. Hit those stores up for these samples. Publix, for example, has their Apron section, or you can sample the deli cold cuts, especially those on sale. Costco has been called the king of samples (though you need a membership to get in). Trader Joe’s has samples every day in a special sample section. Kroger’s offers a downloadable coupon for a free food item every Friday.
Free samples only get you so far. If you need to stock your pantry, check your local churches and food pantries. Some require that you register with them; some are open to everyone. Food pantries help low-income families get by with canned staples and dry goods. Though it’s one way to get free food, use them only if you really need them. Otherwise, leave those freebies for the families who really need them.
The days of carrying around a bunch of reward cards are gone. Most merchants now use a reward program associated with your phone number so you can rack up points and freebies just by shopping. Other merchants – particularly grocery stores – offer digital coupons that you can “clip” and then use at the store with your phone or phone number. For cash back opportunities on items and services you use anyways, try the Ibotta app. Earn cash back on purchases through Groupon, Uber, and other services, as well as on a number of grocery and personal care items. Just upload a valid receipt to start saving. Cash is paid into a paypal account with a minimum of $20 earned. Use referral code kawbajt to earn an extra $10 when you sign up.
Companies know how important it is for college students to save. Many offer student discounts to help us get services that make life easier. Amazon Prime, for example, offers a free trial of 6 months. After the trial, student membership is only $49, 50% off the regular Prime membership price.
If you want to get started investing, try Acorns. By linking a bank account, you can save an automatic monthly amount. Link a credit card and use their round-up feature which rounds your purchases up to the nearest dollar. Students who sign up with a valid .edu email can have the fees waived for up to four years. Use this referral code to get an extra $5 in your account when you sign up.
Microsoft Office Suite may be available for students at a deep discount through your university. I purchased mine in 2015 for a mere $9.95. It includes full access to the 2016 versions of Word, Excel, Publisher, and PowerPoint. Check with your university for discounts on Microsoft products.
We Want to Know...
What's Your Favorite Money-Saving Strategy?
With a little research and planning, it’s possible to save quite a bit of money in college. It takes a some legwork sometimes, and Google certainly helps in finding specific discounts. Many places help out college students, knowing how tough it is to student, work, keep the grades up, and have enough money for the essentials. Take advantage of all the resources available to you, and be sure to spread the word about the great deals you find so that your fellow students can use them as well.
© 2017 Cristina Vanthul