1. Get a free checking and savings account. Many banks offer “student” accounts that don’t charge the fees that some other accounts have. Look for free online banking and bill paying.
2. Always keep your check register with you, to track your balance and make sure to avoid overdraft fees, which happen when you don’t have enough in the account to cover your checks. A lot of banks also offer mobile phone websites or apps, so you can bank from anywhere.
3. Empty your pockets and save that spare change. Count it yourself…come on, you’re in college…not as if you need to pay for those coin-counting machines.
4. Don’t drink. That’s a surefire way to flush your money down the drain.
5. If you decide to drink anyway, buy the cheap brands.
6. Take advantage of specials at college bars and dance clubs. If you don’t have to get up early for class the next day, you can to go out on a weeknight and enjoy lower prices then, too.
7. Other people’s parties – be there.
8. When you go out, don’t bring your whole wallet or purse. Ration out a small amount of cash to limit your spending.
9. Why buy new? Before you shell out for a textbook, borrow one if possible.
10. If you can’t borrow, buy used college textbooks. Try Amazon or Barnes and Noble online.
11. Cheap college food in two words: ramen noodles. If you can afford it, thrown in some vegetables and/or meat, and you have a complete meal.
12. Take advantage of your campus meal plan – eat at the college cafeteria, or if you have a declining cash balance plan, make sure you use up those dollars at approved dining locations; some schools don’t allow you to carry over dining dollars to the next year.
13. Save $2,000 during your college career by brewing your own coffee. Buy a decent coffee maker or ask for one for as a gift.
14. Skip the fast food and late night take-out. Keep healthy, affordable snacks in your dorm room or apartment – cheese, whole wheat bread, instant oatmeal, peanut butter and fruit are all good choices.
15. Avoid high-end gourmet markets; find out where the poor people shop, such as discount groceries. Don’t forget to clip coupons, too.??
16. For a date, kick your roommates out for the evening, and prepare a simple candlelight meal.
17. If you’re buying a computer, save by shopping the student specials; discounts, rebates and back to school specials. Apple Computer offers student discounts and rebates to students and teachers. And many schools negotiate special deals with manufacturers; check with your college store or the college IT department.
18. Forget about the TV; just watch cable television through your computer. Make sure your desktop or laptop has a DVD/CD player and you can also watch your favorite movies.
19. You also don’t need a stereo. Get a good set of computer speakers, preferably with a separate woofer to boost the bass. Then play away from your iTunes music library.
20. Why pay high movie ticket prices? Take advantage of your flexible schedule and hit the weekday matinee showings, which are cheaper. Also look for free movies on campus.
21. Offer your services as a tutor. Pick your best one or two subjects. Try posting your services on Craigslist.
22. It costs little or nothing to enjoy a picnic, a long walk, flying a kite, a pick up game of basketball, soccer or football, a card game or reading a good book which you can find in your college library.
23. Check your college paper and local websites for free upcoming events such as concerts, arts and crafts fairs, theater, festivals, art galleries, and museums.
24. Living on an upper floor will typically keep you warmer in the winter, but it’ll get hotter in the summer. If you go to school in a region where winters are longer then upper floors are smart, otherwise live low.
25. When it’s time to head home, check Amtrak or Greyhound for student discounts.
Being broke in college brings back fond memories. It also makes me realize I’m getting older. Here are some of my personal favorite money saving tips from college
- I never did this but I have heard of people scanning text books so they don’t have to buy them.
- Always try to carry with you a nice reusable water bottle so you don’t get tempted to buy soft drinks or bottled water.
- House or dorm parties are a lot cheaper than going to the club.
- Try going to discounted college theater play or sports game for a cheap date.
- Sport drinks are nice after working out but so is water. Buy a water filter and use it.
- Your college ID probably gets your deals at restaurants so use them to cheap meals.
Photo Credit via Flickr