10 Ways to Save Money in College

Published: November 12, 2013

College is outrageously expensive and all the costs really add up. I've seen so many students just sign out more loans and say they'll just pay for it later when they are making thousands. However once school is out, the payments just keep coming, whether you have a job or not.

  1. Buy books online

    Textbooks are way over priced, especially in the college bookstore. Take a pen and paper into the bookstore, copy down the ISBN numbers to make sure you get the exact book and buy them on Amazon! Buy a decent one, too so you can re-sell it.

  2. Sell books online

    Unless you are really into what you are studying, sell the text book ASAP online while students are getting ready for the next semester. Book prices fall rapidly as books get out of date. I've gotten as much as 70% back on text books.

  3. Learn to cook

    Eating out is really overpriced and not all that healthy. A lot of college students are just lazy and eat out, but if you cook at home, you can spend as little as a couple dollars a day to eat. 

  4. Drink at home

    Yeah, happy hour drinks are discounted, but it's still cheaper to drink at home -and no driving as well! Plus a lot drinks can be watered down at bars. Saving money at bars allows you to try more variety of mixes at home if you wanted to. 

  5. Live at home if possible

    Room and board for a year is usually at least $5k per year -might be worth tolerating your parents for a few more years. Plus, it might be a better place to study i nstead of having a lot of roommates, depending on your study habits.

  6. Shop around on loans

    Check out local credit unions or online banks for cheaper interest rates. This way, if you can't get a job right out of college, it will help with the long-run costs. Look for loans that give you 6 months or so after graduation before you have to start making payments.

  7. Borrow internet from your neighbors

    Ask your neighbors if you can pitch in for wireless service costs if you can share their signal. Another option is to skip it all together and just use your school's internet or the local coffee shop. Consider eliminating cable tv costs also. (Try Netflix!)

  8. Ask your Landlord for work

    Sometimes, landlords will reduce your monthly payments if you work around the house. Possibly cut the grass, paint, or do minor remodelling. I knew someone who cleaned apartments and did outdoor maintenance at their apartment building for a reduced rent.

  9. Work during college

    Even a job with a few hours a week can help cut costs. Even if it just pays for one small college expense. This can also lead to getting a good recommendation for when you apply to your next job.  

  10. Work on Campus

    The best thing I did in college is work on campus. The pay was better than an off campus job and there were no travel costs or wasted travel time. Depending on the job/supervisor it's possible to make your own schedule at some jobs to fit around classes.

  11. Always ask for a student discount

    See if your local grocery store or gas station gives student discounts. Often it's 5 cents off a gallon or even 5% off groceries. Even when buying laptops, staying in hotels, bus rides, anything -it doesn't hurt to ask. A lot of places also have student discount night/day. For example, friday night at a local ski hill was only $10 for students. 

A majority of college costs is tuition and room and board which can't be avoided, but you have more control over a lot of the other costs, which can really add up over the 4-5 years it takes to complete college.