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Money-Saving Tips For College Students

Here are some money-saving tips to give you a chance to enjoy college without breaking your bank.

1. Don’t Drive

Chances are you aren’t going to need a personal vehicle at all. Most campuses are very accessible, you can just walk or take public transit. One of my friends lives a little further away from his university so the university bus dropping his halfway helps save quite a lot of money for him.

A lot of public transit methods have huge discounts for university students. You may get to travel on some busses for free and will get a huge discount on others. You may also get to rent a bike for the semester.

If you have your own car you’ll have to pay for gas, insurance, along with maintenance and repairs. Not to forget everyone wanting to borrow it or you becoming the designated driver for every trip.

2. Buy Used Books

Libraries are most likely to have books you need, try to check out books and keep renewing. But, with a lot of students, it isn’t possible to get books, let alone hog them. Used books are the best options.

You can either buy used books from a bookstore or from a senior. There is also an option to rent books. If the books you need are reference books then you are likely to find a free PDF version as well.

And if you’re lucky, you might be able to get free textbooks.  In some cases, your textbooks may be available for free in digital or PDF format.

3. Buy Clothes at Thrift Stores

Putting your wardrobe together with thrift store finds is a great idea because you do not have a ton to spend on clothes. Buying from thrift stores helps you find unique clothes, allows you to have more options and save money at the same time.

Even thrift stores have sales so you can end up saving a lot more on already discounted clothes. Sometimes the clothes are so new that buying new items might sound stupid. So, always look for great options in thrift stores before you head out to malls.

4. Cook at Home

If you know how to cook, you can save a lot of money. Buying a week’s worth of groceries and preparing simple meals throughout the meals will cost you a lot less than eating out every day.

Eating out every day is not an option for most university students, that makes students resort to processed food, fast food, and the staple university meal – instant noodles. Just because you cannot eat out doesn’t mean you cannot eat good food. Preparing meals yourself gives you the option of eating healthy without breaking a leg for it.

Invest in a crockpot or Instant Pot so you can prepare batch meals, this saves you time throughout the week and ensures that you have good food to eat.

5. Find Free Options to Entertain Yourself

Going out always is never an option when you are tight on budget. Going through busy and hectic days with universities and part-time jobs will leave you wanting to do something to unwind. For this, you should have a few free entertainment options available.

There are so many free events in colleges and clubs, that you can most of the times find a free show. Instead of going for movies, you can have a home movie night. Gather friends and watch the movies you all want to. Doing anything at home will most of the times be cheaper than going out.  You can also check out our guide for fun and cheap hobbies.

6. If You Travel, Do it on a Budget

Hey, we get it.  Traveling while you’re in college is part of the ultimate college experience.  Don’t deny yourself of it.  Just do it in a way that keeps limits your cash outflow.  Check out this guide on how to travel as a college student.


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Erin Thompson

Erin Thompson spent years managing her own blog about budgeting and debt. Because of that, she has great insights not only about managing spending and borrowing but also about running websites profitably. When she's not writing articles for us, she's traveling and looking for new types of wines to try.
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The content on is for informational and educational purposes only. It is not financial advice and we are not certified financial advisors. strives to keep its information accurate and up to date, but it may differ from actual numbers. We may have financial relationships with companies listed on our site. We may receive compensation for the placement of sponsored products or services. We work hard to write authentic and accurate articles.