How to Save Money in College

saving money in college
December 30, 2022

With the average cost of college more than doubling in the 21st century, it’s no wonder why college students are looking for ways to cut costs. From textbooks to meal plans to transportation, the expenses add up until you’re quickly overwhelmed.

Luckily, there are tons of tips and tricks out there for saving money. Thanks to years of college students who’ve also had to get creative with their budgets, you can learn the tried and tested ways to save money while getting your degree. Of course, you can also get a part-time job or take advantage of the Federal Work-Study Program (if you’re eligible), but these money-saving methods will help you out in addition to any extra income you make.

Academic Advising

Whether you’re going to an in-state, out-of-state, public, or private school, tuition is expensive. Thousands of dollars per semester or quarter can amount to a six-figure tuition bill over the course of four years.

But what if you change your mind about your major or career path? You could be looking at another year or even more of school while you take classes for another major. And while changing your mind about your future is completely normal, it can get expensive with tuition rising every year.

Solution? Work closely with your academic adviser. Depending on your major, you may have a specific adviser assigned to you by an academic department or pre-professional program. Meet with them regularly so you make sure you aren’t taking extra classes or missing classes that will add time to your degree. And if you do change your major, your adviser is a great resource for minimizing extra classes you’ll have to take.


Next to tuition, textbooks are also rising in price every year. And for most classes, you can’t avoid getting the textbook because the curriculum revolves around it. Especially in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) majors, professors base lecture content and assign homework through the course textbook.

Don’t worry, there are still ways to get your textbooks without outright buying them. Your campus bookstore and sites like Amazon offer a rent or buy option, and renting is usually significantly cheaper. You’ll just have to remember to return the book at the end of the term.

The university library is another underutilized resource. They usually have at least a couple of copies of textbooks needed for each course. If you check out the textbook at the beginning of the term before anyone else in the class, it’ll be completely free!

Lastly, there are plenty of resellers out there if you know where to find them. You can check social media platforms with pages specifically for your college. Students who have already taken the class you’re in will try to sell the textbook they bought, and they usually do it for a marked down price.

Free Entertainment

While college is obviously heavy on lectures and exams, that’s not all you’ll be doing in your years working toward a bachelor’s. You also need time to relax, form relationships, and work on yourself outside of the classroom.

But going out and doing activities in the nearest city can be expensive. You need to think about transportation costs, how much the activity itself might cost, how much food will be, and more. So how can you entertain yourself and have new experiences without breaking the bank?

Keep track of what’s going on on campus! Your university has funds specifically for student events, whether that’s movie nights, concerts, or puppies during midterm season. Usually, your school will advertise this on social media, but there are probably physical signs and flyers up, too.

Also, your recreational center on campus often has discounted outings and activities you can go do with your friends. This can be kayaking, rock climbing, overnight camping trips, or other excursions for a discounted price. They’ll even rent out equipment if you don’t have it.

Other than that, as a student, you should be on the lookout for sports events. You can get in for free with your student ID, and the university usually gives free food or merchandise to the first couple hundreds of students who arrive.

The bottom line? Stay involved on campus and follow your school’s social media. There’s always something going on. You just have to find it!

Student Discounts

Student discounts are an invaluable resource for saving money in college. With so many different businesses offering special rates with a valid student ID, there is something out there for every type of purchase. From movie tickets to restaurants and hotels to magazines, students can take advantage of these lower rates to make their money stretch further. It’s also worth remembering that some stores offer exclusive offers only available to students. So don’t forget to keep an eye out for the best deals! Student discounts won’t last forever, so use them while you can—you won’t regret it!

When looking into student discounts, be sure to compare prices between different establishments before settling on one. There may be differences in terms of what types of discounts are offered or how much they cost – it’s always worth checking both online and in-store to find the best deal available. Additionally, make sure that you read any terms & conditions before taking advantage of any discount; otherwise, you could end up not getting the savings you expected!

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Finally, don’t forget that lots of places offer free or discounted services exclusively for students as well. Universities often have partnerships with local organizations and companies such as libraries or sports centers – so don’t miss out on these extra savings opportunities! With determination and perseverance, students can enjoy plenty of quality experiences without spending too much money.


College students can spend up to a few hundred dollars a year just on getting around campus or commuting. If you’re worried about transportation costs, it’s good to be aware of money saving opportunities near you.

For example, public transportation like the bus might have a student pack where you get a discounted bus pass. If you don’t want to pay for gas and a parking pass, which can be hundreds of dollars depending on the campus, the bus might be a better option for you.

Similarly, if you’re an out-of-state student who has to fly home during breaks, you might want to start using a credit card with flight rewards. Do some research on which credit cards have the best mileage rewards or have an airline you’re interested in. That way, every time you use your credit card for groceries, clothes, textbooks, or anything else you’ll also be earning miles to fly you home the next time.


As you know by now, the “poor college student” stereotype exists for a reason. Tuition only gets more expensive every year, and so do textbooks, room and board, transportation, and any other expense you can think of.

But that doesn’t mean you have to have a horrible college experience and miss out on everything. If you know what to look for, you’ll be able to get all the textbooks you need, get to class on time, finish your degree as soon as possible, and be involved on campus. If you make a budget and stick to it, you’ll be able to save money and still live your college life to the fullest!

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