One thing almost every college student struggles with is saving money. College in the first place can be extremely expensive, especially if you are paying out-of-pocket. Even if someone isn’t paying out-of-pocket, they probably have some deferred student loans they are thinking about in the back of their mind. This means saving money is extremely important to almost every college student. We all love a good life-hack, so here’s 11 life-hacks for saving money in college:
1. Pay attention to deals at supermarkets
Do you ever see those sale tags that say something like “2/$6”? Those are seriously important and come in handy. I know buying your favorite snack ever is super tempting, but if you want to save money you should buy the snacks that have deals. Something you like is bound to be on sale. This goes for all items you are shopping for at the supermarket. Buy the toilet paper that has the best deal, buy the drinks that have the best deal, and pretty much buy anything that has the best deal. Even if it says “with rewards card”, or something along those lines, it doesn’t matter. Coming from someone who used to work as a cashier, there is a “store card” that you can use to get the deals if you don’t have one yourself. However, a store card can come in handy when it comes to fuel points, which moves me to the next life-hack.
2. Use fuel points
Seriously, use fuel points! If you live on-campus, this really isn’t that big of a deal, but if you’re a commuter this is seriously a big deal. Besides finding parking on-campus, paying for gas really gets annoying. Fortunately, there are tons of grocery stores and supermarkets that have fuel point deals with local gas stations. This is when the store card comes in handy. You get fuel points any time you use your card while shopping, which means you get money off of gas. Personally, I thought this was always so dumb and didn’t make much of a difference, until one day. I decided to use some points that were racking up and it made all the difference in the world. It usually takes about $30 to fill my gas tank, but it was only $20 so my whole life perspective changed. The moral of this story is use fuel points! It makes saving money on gas super easy.
3. Split costs of food with your roommate
If you and your roommate are good at compromising, goes grocery shopping and split the cost! Buy snacks and drinks that you both like! If you can’t really agree on everything, buy some things yourself. Usually it’s the snacks that get in the way. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t split the costs of some meal stuff. For example, if you both love peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, have someone buy the peanut butter and someone by the jelly. If you want to make a big alfredo chicken pasta dinner, have one roommate buy the pasta and sauce and the other buy the chicken. Budgeting and saving money is way easier and less stressful when you have someone doing it with you.
4. Make sure to buy snacks from the supermarket, not on-campus snack shacks
If you haven’t already noticed, the snacks you can buy on-campus have outrageous prices. I don’t know how it’s legal. A tiny pack of Oreos will be as much as a family pack at the grocery store. With that being said, seriously buy all the snacks you want at the grocery store, not at a campus snack shack. You’ll be thankful in the long run. If you have “dining dollars” that can be used, go ahead and use them for snack emergencies, but only emergencies!
5. Take fruit from the dining halls
Not to promote stealing or anything in order to save money, but taking some fruit from your dining hall won’t hurt anybody. You are already paying enough to be there anyways! You won’t need to worry about fruit during grocery shopping, not that you are really worried about it anyway. Fruits make a good snack and who doesn’t love a free snack. After swiping your card to get into the dining hall, it’s free reign. That fruit is yours!
6. Attend campus events that have free food
Every once and awhile, there will be a campus event that has some free food. This is a great way to save money on dinner. It may not seem like much of a money saver, but after a few times taking advantage of the free food it definitely will. Campuses really like to use free food as an incentive to get people to come to events, so there really is no shortage. Check out your school’s event calendar so you can start saving some more money!
7. Pay attention to restaurant promos
Popular restaurants will sometimes have promotions that consist of free or low cost food. It just takes a quick google search to see what restaurants are doing promos at what time. This may not be helpful for students who go to college in the middle of nowhere. Nonetheless, college students who live in happening places can get a lot of benefit out of these. One great promo is free queso day at Moe’s Southwest Grill. Even though that’s just one promotion on one day, it still helps with saving money. That’s a few extra dollars you don’t need to lose on a meal!
8. Use alternative book websites for textbooks
Buying college textbooks makes a serious dent in your bank account. Some college bookstores claim to price match certain websites, but there is definitely a cheaper version of the book somewhere else, trust me. Some books can’t be bought on alternative websites because they are specific to your school, but if there are ones that aren’t specific to your college do some research! A great website for finding low cost books to rent or buy is the infamous Chegg. You can save some serious bucks by using alternative websites for your textbooks.
9. Become an RA
This may be a reach, but if you want to save some serious money during college becoming a resident assistant has its benefits. First off, you’ll get free room and board which is amazing. Also, some colleges even pay you because it’s an on-campus job. It’s a win-win! You won’t just save money, you’ll make some too! It’s a great way to make friends as well.
10. Always ask if there is a student discount
If there isn’t an advertisement somewhere already saying a place offers a student discount, ask! So many places offer student discounts. They understand the struggle. They also want you to save money! Museums, hair salons, even clothing stores will offer student discounts. Being a college student doesn’t help your bank account at all, but it has this one benefit. Student discounts are a god sent, so take advantage!
11. Sign up for the Spotify promo with Hulu
If you want a low cost music streaming app, Spotify premium is the real deal. If you sign up with your student email, you’ll get a discount plus free Hulu access! Spotify premium is way cheaper than other music streaming apps, with the added bonus of Hulu. Hulu isn’t always the most preferred, but it is still totally great. This is a great way to save money if you have been paying two separate bills for music and tv.
Saving money in college is easier than you think. You don’t need to have irrational thoughts about how you’ll make some extra cash. It’ll feel like you’re making money with all the money you are saving from all these nifty life-hacks