8 Ways To Save Money In College

By Denver Regine Lark

Denver is a part of the TLC College Ambassador Program and attends North Carolina A&T University.

If you haven’t already learned anything in college yet, you’ve at least learned that you must now manage living on a tight budget. You have class, homework, internships, games, sports, meetings, and let’s not forget to mention hanging with friends or a relationship so you barely have time to sleep, let alone work a job. If you do have time for a job, you’re probably only making minimum wage working a limited number of hours a week. Also maybe your parents send you a few dollars every now and then, but now that you’re a young adult, maybe calling home every time you don’t want to eat at the café isn’t the most responsible idea. Look no further, here are a few unstoppable ways to save money in college.

1. Budget

You may hear this all the time when it comes to saving money, but it’s easier said than done. If you feel like you don’t have the willpower, there are tons of resources that will help you realistically manage your finances which make it easier to decide whether you can attend girl’s night out, or if it will be a “Netflix and chill” night. You can visualize create this budget plan on a spreadsheet by providing a simple breakdown of how much money you have, and how much you can afford to spend. Whether you have a lot or a little money, a budget is an indispensable tool to help manage and prioritize your expenses. It will help you quickly adjust to your new financial situation and it will aid you in identifying wasteful expenses. If done correctly, you will achieve your financial goal of having better money managing skills.

2. Live With A Roommate

When it comes to college and living off campus, the first thing you may want to do is live alone. However living alone means affording it on your own including rent and utilities. Students who live with more than one roommate off campus tend to pay less rent due to it being spilt more than one way.

3. Cook It Up

Your mom has probably been saying your entire life that not only is it healthier to cook your own food, but it is more affordable. Your taste buds may not like what your pockets can afford, or what you’re capable of cooking, but college is all about learning. Whether if it’s in the classroom or the kitchen, you’re away from home and must accept the changes. Preparing your meals at home will help you avoid the school cafeteria if the food isn’t that great.

4. Carpool

If you’re one of the lucky students that has their car on campus, you're probably quickly learning that there is just as many pros as there is cons. You already went through paying the ridiculously high cost of the parking pass and now you see there’s barely nowhere to park on campus. So, what’s the solution? Carpool. Just like spending, the wear and tear as well as the burden of gas for your car sneaks up on you. Are you all going to the same party? Or are you all from the same hometown and want to go home for the weekend? You can all split the driving and gas, and ride together. Don’t forget about the memories and laughs created along the way.

5. Take advantage of student discount

Just the flash of your student ID grants you with discounts on movie tickets, clothes, food, travel and more. Take advantage of that discount whenever possible. Some companies and stores offer point-based offers and coupons that allow you access to special sales as well by just offering your email address or phone number.

6. Rent your textbooks

The ability to rent textbooks may be one the best things invented since sliced bread. According to the College Board, costs for textbooks and related course materials cost about $1,200 a year. Although purchasing outpaces rentals, rentals are gaining more and popularity as the fantasy of renting books becomes increasingly a reality. Although renting costs less, you still must be aware that some books like workbooks are not rentable, and that you do not have the chance to recoup any of your money by reselling when you no longer need it. However, keep in mind that each year new versions of some books come out, rendering last year’s version much less valuable if not valuable at all.

7. Get involved on campus

If anyone understands the financial struggles of being in college, it’s the university. They understand most can’t afford overly priced movie tickets every Friday, or can’t afford to ear lavishly. That is why almost every university offers free or relatively inexpensive events for their students since student activity fees sponsor them. You’ll be saving money, having fun, and hopefully eating well. This is a great chance to meet others who are venturing through this college journey as well.

8. Avoid shopping

We live in a day-and-age where it seems like a necessity to keep up with the latest fashions, and if you don’t then you are considered an outcast, and may be teased for it. This forces student to spend absurd amounts on clothes, but are still hungry or have no gas in their cars. Their priorities are simply not together. The best way to avoid shopping is gaining willpower. How do you do that? Always remember that rainy days will come, and consider if you can’t buy it twice, can you afford it? Unsubscribe from sites that are your weaknesses, shop with a purpose, and don’t let discounts or sales get the best of you.

As an adult, it is essential to always keep in mind that unexpected expenses will occur, and it is always better to be safe than sorry.