13 Ways to Save Money in College
Guest post: Jake Butler, lead editor of Save the Student
Making money has become an essential part of student life, as the need for extra income to cover rising tuition fees and living costs grows. However, improving your bank balance isn’t always about finding new ways to add to it, but also about finding new ways to save money in college.
So, without further ado, let’s look into some of the best ways in which students can cut back on monthly spending. Oh, and don’t forget to let us know about any of your own ideas too!
1. Draw up a student budget
It may sound a little boring and long winded and the majority of students dread analyzing where their money is really spent. But drawing up a student budget is the best start you can make to saving money.
You can go into as little or as much detail as you like but at a basic level you want to find out where you are leaking cash. After this it’s up to you to plug up these leaky holes (with help from the tips below).
2. Find student discounts
One of the best benefits of student life is undoubtedly the student discounts. Being a student can get you money off almost anything, from a new clothing purchase to a trip to the movies.
Whenever you make a purchase you need to check if there are any student discounts on offer. Even if you don’t see anything advertised there’s no harm in being a little cheeky and asking. But do keep in mind that just because something has a student discount, this doesn’t mean it’s always the cheapest option!
3. Use comparison sites
There’s an amazing thing out there called the internet and you should be using it to its full potential when looking for ways to save money. There are plenty of price comparison sites where you can compare the cost of all kinds of items across different retailers. It’s so easy, there’s no excuse not to save money this way.
4. Allow a cool-off period
Impulse purchases are something everyone suffers from. If you are susceptible then you need to work on some tactics to cut down on these spending binges.
One simple tactic is simply to sleep on it. Take some time out before making any big purchases on things like electronics, clothes and holidays, in order to decide if you really want it. If you leave it a couple of days and still find your life lacking, chances are it will be a good purchase.
Go on, give it a go! The rush of managing to secure a discount on any purchase is second to none for the money savers out there. You might be surprised at the discounts you can get when haggling, especially on things such as your broadband contract!
6. Work where you shop
Most employers, especially in the retail industry, offer discount cards to their employees. Why not double up your student job with a staff discount, by working at a place where you love to shop?
7. Hunt for freebies
They say there’s no such thing as a free lunch, but it’s definitely true that for very little effort students can get their hands on a whole host of freebies.
Be on the lookout for freebie sites and promo companies handing out goodies on campus. Before you know it you could be excited every time you check the mail because you wonder which freebies you will get delivered that day.
You can even get your hands on free software if you don’t fancy paying big bucks for the paid options on offer. However, it’s important to be careful with your information though, so make sure you aren’t giving out your contact details or any personal information.
8. Take a packed lunch to university
University cafes and canteens may be cheaper than most, but it’s still usually cheaper to prepare your own food. Make the effort to get up early each day before university to make yourself a tasty packed lunch. It may not seem like much but the savings over the entirety of the year will speak for themselves.
9. Cut your bills
Save money and the environment at the same time by cutting down on your electricity and gas usage. It goes without saying, but always ensure lights are off during the day and things like your TV aren’t left on standby. Also, when it starts to get cold, try putting on a few extra layers first before turning up the heat!
10. Get swapping
If you’re on the hunt for textbooks, a bike, a new sofa or any other item for that matter, then why not look into swapping? It’s a new-ish craze which means parting with something you no longer want and getting something in return. Works for both parties involved! Start between friends and then take a look online.
11. Try downgrading your grocery shop
If you find your weekly grocery shop is really “eating” into your student budget (haha) then there’s a few ways you can make cutbacks. The number one tip is to move away from the “branded” products and towards the supermarket’s own-brand items. In most cases you won’t be able to taste the difference but you will see the difference on your receipt!
12. Travel wisely
Listing all the ways to save money on travelling could leave us here for hours. However, even by scratching the surface of travel money-saving you could make some huge savings.
Always make sure you take advantage of any concession fares for students and book in advance to make the best savings. If you are travelling long distance then make sure you check out all of the options available to you, rather than just picking the first one you come across.
13. Be money aware
Ok, this is a very general point but it’s definitely worth mentioning. Money saving is about having that state of mind and thinking about all the purchases you are making. Always think about where you can cut back and try to be as creative as possible.!
Jake Butler is lead editor of Save the Student, where you can find loads more tips on ways to save money and make money as a student, including the latest student discounts & deals, and student money saving advice.