Back to School: Money Saving Tricks for College Students

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  • News flash: college is expensive!

    And though you may think that getting a job will solve all of your problems, it’s important to consider that juggling a job while in college can be a source of great frustration and stress.

    Thankfully, there are ways to make yourself less dependent on a college job.

    How? By reducing your college expenses. Lower your costs and you lower your dependence on a constant source of income. Here are some money saving tricks that can help you focus your time and energy on what matters most – your schooling:

    Borrow Textbooks

    If your college tuition doesn’t kill you, the textbooks will! To save money, consider purchasing your textbooks used on Half.com, or see if you can borrow them from the school or public library. Occasionally, college professors will put the textbooks on reserve. You may also be able to rent your textbooks. If you know that you will only be using your textbook for a short period of time, rental services like Chegg may be perfect for your needs.

    Don’t Pay for Cable

    If you’ve grown up accustomed to cable television, attending college is the perfect opportunity to cut the cord. You will find that you can save a tremendous amount of money buy getting a Netflix account instead, and you will still have access to a wealth of movies and television programs. Don’t like Netflix’s catalog? Well, there’s also Hulu and Amazon Prime (there’s even Prime student!). There is no shortage of options.

    Don’t Break the Bank on Coffee

    Did you know that Starbucks offers free same-day refills on basic coffees and teas? It’s true. All that you need is a Starbucks Card. Purchase your coffee or tea with your card and then present the card again for a free refill. Stay there and study while getting refills, and you could save yourself quite a bit of money over the course of a semester!

    Save on Your Cell Phone Plan

    Cell phone plans can be a costly bill for students, but carriers like T-mobile offer a number of attractive options that can help reduce your expenses. The company’s Binge-On program, for example, lets individuals stream music, movies, and TV shows on their phones from a wide variety of popular providers (like YouTube and Netflix) without eating into their data plan (which we know college students use a lot of!). Many college students don’t even have a TV, so this is a terrific option for those who are looking for alternate media choices.

    Use Coupons and Buy in Bulk!

    If you are buying hygiene products or paper plates, buy in bulk and use coupons. Why spend more than you have to for products that are ultimately disposable? You don’t need expensive body lotion; the grocery store’s generic alternative will serve your needs just fine, and over the course of a year, will save you a fair bit of money as well! Use coupons, sign up for membership programs (so long as they’re free), and buy in bulk. And yes, this applies to your school supplies as well. Notepads and pencils shouldn’t cost you and arm and a leg.

    Attend Free Events

    Whether on campus or around town, free events are a college student’s best friend! If you see them advertised on your college’s bulletin board or in the college paper, go to them! Concerts, workshops, hikes, bike rides… all of these events are tremendously enjoyable, yet cost little to nothing. Plus, these events are the perfect way to meet new friends and even potential romantic interests. This is especially true if you are attending college out of town or out of state. If you do feel compelled to pay for your entertainment, go to the movies. Yes, movie tickets may seem expensive these days, but they still represent one of the best bargains in entertainment (just skip the 3D and concessions).

    Attend Community College

    This is a big one: if you have a community college near you which offers discounted in-state tuition, go to it! Even if the college only offers an Associates’ Degree program, you can still satisfy your general education requirements at a greatly discounted rate before transferring to a four-year university to study your primary major. You will not only save on college tuition, but very likely transportation, housing, and food costs as well. Spending the first two years of your college career at a local community college can save you thousands, if not tens of thousands of dollars.

    Don’t Break the Bank. Spend Wisely!

    We have all heard about the rising costs of college, and it’s true that for millions of students, these costs are burdensome. However, there are ways to reduce your expenses while in college. Follow these tips and you may find that you can work less hours or keep more of the money that you earn at your college job. Or, perhaps you simply won’t have to borrow as much. No matter the outcome, it’s better to make a little effort here and there than to make no effort at all.

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