Actual Ways that College Students Can Save Money

A penny saved is a penny earned, right? When it comes to saving money in college, every penny counts. But you’re probably tired of hearing that you can save money by eating in, not going out, and, basically, not having any fun. Here are some ways that college students can save money, while still making the most out of those four years.

Rev Up Your Ramen

You know the stereotype - you’re in college, so all you eat is ramen. The thing is, this is probably true, so might as well make the most of it. You might be learning biochemistry, but learning your ramen hacks is just as important. Swap out the salty sauce packets for your own broth, add an egg, and top it off with veggies. You’re saving money by eating in, but you’re actually eating good.

Invest in Investing - Acorns

While you’re counting your pennies, count your Acorns, too. Acorns is an easy-to-use tool that will kick start you on your path to saving money in college. You’ll be able to set aside the leftover change from your everyday purchases using the roundup system. From there, you can grow your money by micro-investing that spare change in EFTs  and creating your own portfolio. Sign up HERE and you’ll get a free $5 to start investing with.

Don’t Buy Your Textbooks New

Unless it’s one of those pesky online codes that you can’t get around, buying new textbooks is a huge money trap. One of the biggest ways that college students can save money is buying textbooks used. You can search Craigslist for local students selling their old books, ask a Facebook group associated with your college, or browse the local bookstore. Many times, you can also find an older edition that could be hundreds of dollars cheaper than the new book, but still work just fine for your course. When you’re done, sell them back.

Hack the Food World

When you do get tired of your new and improved ramen, choose the meals you eat wisely. Track the restaurants in your area with the best promos and happy hour deals, use Yelp to check in and get free offers, and search events that your college is hosting that offer free food. Using the apps from your favorite restaurants also earns you free food, and signing up for emails often comes with free perks.

Use Your Student Status

Local business recognizes that students are on tight budgets and looking for ways to save money in college. Many establishments will offer discounts on food and other services like car repair, haircuts, technology, and more. Public transportation usually offers discounted student passes, and some insurance companies offer steep discounts by proving that you get good grades. Search all the companies that allow you to save a percentage off their products or services.

Be a Cheap Date

College is a time to have fun and explore the dating scene, but you’re not exactly at a stage in life where you can pull up in a Maserati and take your date to a fancy dinner. Solution? Do free things. Hikes, walks, the beach, geocaching, game nights, picnics, outdoor concerts, local art shows - they’re all free, and the list goes on. Your date will appreciate a thoughtfully planned out day even if it’s low budget. Going to a matinee showing of a movie is also a cheap way to plan your day.

Build Good Habits

Like the positive investment habits you can establish from Acorns, college is the perfect time to start budgeting practices that will benefit you for a lifetime. The bottom line is, it’s difficult to save money. Determine your needs versus wants, and always pay your bills on time to create good credit for the future. If you don’t have a credit card already, this is the time to get one and start building up your credit. Lay out realistic saving goals for yourself, break them into smaller tiers, and celebrate the little victories to help keep your motivation up.

Become a Flight Aficionado

Those flying back home during breaks already know that travel is a huge expense. Set up flight trackers using price scanner apps, buy your plane tickets far in advance, and check for airlines that offer discounts to students. Study the patterns and become an expert: midweek flights tend to be cheaper, and Tuesday is known to be the best day to purchase a ticket. You might also consider alternate methods to air travel and research trains that connect to your hometown.

Actually Make Money

We’re talking about all the ways that college students can save money, but what if you don’t have any money to save in the first place? Start out by searching for the best summer jobs for college students. You can get connected at Start Neighboring and earn money by helping your neighbors with their everyday tasks, working hours that actually fit into your schedule. Ready to start saving and start earning? Start Neighboring.