Avoid debt and have fun: 7 money-saving tips for students

You want to avoid debt without sacrificing the fun and freedom of college life, right? Here are seven student-tailored money-saving tips to help you become a savvy spender.

Avoid debt and have fun: 7 money-saving tips for students

Become a savvy spender

College is an exciting time of independence, but it can also come with financial pitfalls if you don't plan. The good news? It’s not hard to become a savvy spender. To help you, here are seven money-saving tips.

1. Buy used textbooks

There’s nothing like cracking open the spine of a brand new textbook, but buying used can save you a TON of money.

  • Always ask for used copies if you’re shopping at the campus bookstore, or get the ISBNs of all the texts your professors require and shop online for used books.
  • If you have friends who have taken a class you’re now enrolled in, you could also ask to borrow or buy their textbooks from them.

2. Don’t bring a car

Cars are fun and give you a ton of freedom, but they are an extreme expense for a college student. You can expect to pay for gas, maintenance, insurance, registration and campus parking fees.

  • As an alternative, learn about public transportation in your community.
  • See if you can bike or walk to off-campus locations.
  • You’re bound to have a friend who has brought a car to school or who is a commuter. See if you can carpool if you need to get off campus.

3. Eat wisely

Find out what meal plan options are offered by your college. Think carefully about what exactly you’ll use.

  • Don't choose a meal plan that’s unnecessarily large, or a plan that’s too small. À la carte food can really add up.
  • If you have access to a kitchen, cooking some of your own meals can be a great way to save funds. Even making breakfast — what’s easier than a bowl of cereal in the morning — can help.
  • Need a super-easy way to save money on grocery bills? Drink tap water. It’s free and good for you.

4. Learn to pay cash

Credit and debit cards are convenient and extremely tempting, but they can put you on a slippery slope toward debt if you spend more than you realize.

  • Paying in cash keeps you aware of exactly how much money you do — or don’t — have.

5. Track your spending

It might be a pain, but if you keep receipts or catalogue your spending, you can get a better idea of where your money is going — and where you can cut out unnecessary spending.

6. Milk your student ID discount

  • Lots of places, especially in larger college towns, offer student discounts on goods and services, available to you just by showing your student ID.

You had to get that thing, so make the most of it!

7. Have fun ON campus

Instead of going to off-campus events or eateries, see what’s available to you on campus.

  • You might be surprised how many event nights there are and some might even come with free refreshments.
  • Get involved in campus events and you’ll not only save money — you’ll have a richer, more memorable college experience, too!
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