How to Save Money as a College Student

Did you know that tuition only makes up about 50% of the money you’ll spend in college?

It can hard enough to save enough (or earn enough) money to pay for college. And once you’re there? Actually saving money as a college student is even more of a challenge.

How to Save Money as a College Student

But don’t worry. All you need is a few helpful tips and there will be no reason why you can’t save money in college.

Read on to learn how to save money as a college student—it’s not as hard as you think!

Be Smart with Banking & Credit Cards

For most college students, this will be their first taste of managing their own money. 

Start on the right foot by opening a free checking account. Ask your bank about options for students, as many offer free, streamlined accounts for college students.

Get your credit started too with a no-fee student credit card or a secured credit card with a low cash limit. Be sure to make all your payments on time, as even one late payment will haunt your credit report for seven years.

Carefully Consider Your Courses

You should enter college with clear goals and a solid idea of how to achieve them.

Research degree programs carefully and decide what you’ll major in. Switching majors halfway through your college experience is a costly mistake.

If you have the option at your high school, sign up for AP, IB, or dual enrollment courses. This is a free way to “test out” of pre-requisite courses, allowing you to enter college as a sophomore.

You might also be able to take those lower-level courses at a community college for a fraction of the price. Then you can finish your degree at a university. 

Be sure to fill out your FAFSA every year, and apply for every scholarship and grant you might be eligible for. The less you’re spending on tuition, the more you’ll be able to save.

Take Advantage of Student Discounts

You won’t get many discounts again until you’re a senior citizen, so take advantage of that student ID card!

You might be eligible for student discounts on public transportation and at local restaurants, stores, movie theaters, and gyms.

If you need to buy a new computer, software, or related items, be sure to identify yourself as a student. There’s likely a discount just for you!

Use Tech to Your Advantage

With so many money-saving apps and hacks, there’s little reason to pay full price for anything.

Sign up for Groupon, Yelp, and similar sites that offer discounted services and products in your area. If you need (or want) to travel, look for websites and companies that cater to college students.

And don’t even think about paying for an expensive cable package in your apartment. Instead, use a streaming service like Netflix, Hulu, or Amazon to slash entertainment costs.

How to Save Money as a College Student: Class Dismissed

Saving money as a college student is challenging, but you can do it.

All it takes is a little planning, a good college budget, and the determination to stick with it.

By following the tips listed above, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t be able to save money in college—and still have some fun too!

Now that you know how to save money as a college student, what’s next? Check out our other finances posts for more great money advice.

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