10 Simple Ways to Save Money in College

College life can be expensive, there’s no question about that. From classes and textbooks to living on your own for the first time, it would be no surprise if you’re feeling financially strained. Fortunately, there’s a lot you can do to save money on college living.

Here are ten easy ways you might be able to save money in college:

1. Take Advantage of Student Discounts

Many businesses offer discounts to students as long as they have a student ID card or student email address. For example, Amazon offers its Prime services at a discounted rate with Prime Student. You can often get discounts on software you might need for classes, such as Office 365 and the Adobe Creative Suite.

2. Use Your Campus Library

As a student, you probably don’t have a lot of money for books or much space to store them. But campus libraries often offer a large selection of free reading and research material. You might even be able to borrow e-books for free.

3. Buy Used Textbooks

Textbook prices can lead to sticker shock for new college students. Save money by buying used textbooks online or from your campus bookstore. Better yet, sell yours back for a partial refund at the end of the term.

4. Work Out on Campus

Don’t waste money on gym memberships. Your college probably has access to gym equipment, tracks, and possibly even a pool, so you can work out for free (or at least it’s already included in your student fees).

5. Use Carpool and Public Transportation

With many college campuses, cars aren’t necessary because everything you need is nearby. Instead, rely on public transportation, ride shares, or carpooling with friends. Wait to buy a car until you graduate, when you might be able to save even more with a dealership’s college grad program.

6. Cook Your Own Meals

It can be tempting to eat out most nights or order take out regularly when in school. But you’ll save quite a bit by doing your own cooking. Even if you’re in a dorm room without a full kitchen, a microwave and a mini-fridge can go a long way.

7. Enjoy On-Campus Entertainment

Instead of spending a ton of money at bars, clubs, or concerts, see what entertainment is available on-campus. Schools frequently host bands, comedy acts, plays, and guest speakers.

8. Split Expenses With Roommates

If you’ll be living off-campus, take on roommates. Not only can you split rent, but you’ll also save by splitting utility bills and having each roommate contribute to things around the apartment.

9. Buy Used & Shop Bargains

Chances are, you don’t know where you’ll be living immediately after college. So why overspend on brand new items you may not want to move with you later? Buy used furniture, clothing, and electronics, then upgrade when you graduate.

10. If Possible, Stay on Your Parents’ Plans

If you can stay on your parents’ bundle plans—think cell phone and insurance—then do it. Even if they don’t cover your portion, it’s cheaper to pay your portion this way.

Living on a budget doesn’t have to mean living poorly. These tips will keep you fed, entertained, and well-educated without breaking the bank.

Written by James Bradrick

James Bradrick left the sun and surf of southern Mexico to blog and write about civil and human rights issues from San Diego CA.

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