How do you save money as a college student?
Is saving money actually possible for college students?
Can you save money as a college student?
Just like a number of you reading this post, I too, have been a college student before. Not too long ago, in fact. I know just how hard it is to save money as a college student, especially when you’ve got a ton of projects, assignments, and other expenses lining up every single day.
You don’t need to eat rice and lentils every day just to be able to save money. You don’t need to stick to a ramen diet either. You don’t need to become a recluse, nor do you have to be antisocial in order to avoid spending your hard-earned cash. With enough discipline and effort, you can save money as a college student as soon as possible.
SEE ALSO: How Discipline Can Help You Save Money
Save money on school books
Did you know that the average college student spends around $1200 on school books each year? That’s a lot of money that can still be used to spend on other school-related expenses.
Personally, I don’t see a problem with buying books. I grew up reading books and I still enjoy reading books until now. However, when I was still a student, I have to admit that I thought a lot of my new school book purchases were a waste. Not because I didn’t want to pay for my education or the additional knowledge, of course, but rather because I knew people who owned the same book from the past year, but couldn’t buy from them because the book edition was already different.
Save money on school books by buying used or borrowing from friends who are at least a year or two batches higher than you, as long as they’re not a different edition. Although most of the time, the differences are minimal, you’re still better off knowing that you have the correct book. Just save on whatever you can and don’t force something that’s not supposed to be.
Buy your school supplies in bulk
How much do you spend on your school supplies? I personally didn’t spend a lot on mine, since I usually buy things in bulk. This included things like all kinds of paper, printer paper, printer ink, pen inks, as well as other supplies. After all, I knew I was going to use a lot of paper throughout the whole year, so why would I buy just a couple of sheets?
And I’ve always liked taking down notes even though I also had my laptop with me at all times. To save money and reduce hand fatigue, I’d use a fountain pen. Fountain pens are kind of like a one-time big-time purchase. They’re pretty pricey at first, but you do save quite a bit of money in the long run. Not to mention, they’re extremely comfortable to use. I personally use the Pilot Metropolitan Fountain Pen. At less than $14, it’s super cheap and very comfortable to use. I’ve been using mine for years and it still works perfectly.
Save money as a college student by buying your school supplies in bulk. You can even avail promos and discounts when you buy during the off-season! For example, 1 ream of Amazon Basics printer paper costs $7.99, but 3 reams cost $15.49. That’s like buying 3 reams for the price of 2! If you buy 5 reams, it’s only $23.99, or 5 reams for the price of 3 separate ones. See, if you know that you’re going to be using a lot of something, save money by buying in bulk!
SEE ALSO: 5 Ways To Be More Frugal Everyday
Buy other things, including food, in bulk
School supplies aren’t the only things that you can buy in bulk. You can also buy other things, such as your food and toiletries, in bulk.
Toiletries are some of my favorite things to buy in bulk, to be honest! I knew I was getting old when I started becoming excited every time I saw a “Buy 2, Get 1 Free!” on toothpaste, soaps, and shampoo. I love hoarding toiletries during mall sales, for three main reasons:
- There’s always a good deal on toiletries.
- You can never get enough toothpaste.
- You use them all year round, anyway.
As for food, if you’ve got your own place, one budget tip that you should try doing next time is cooking your food in bulk. See, there’s no need for unhealthy diets and budget meals consisting of fried everything. All you have to do is to cook at least twice a week and just reheat your food in reusable microwavable containers, which are very durable and cheap. Not only can you save money by buying your ingredients in bulk, you can also save a lot of time by doing this.
Limit the number times you go out
I know, I know. As a college student, you want to spend all the time with your friends. After all, college is that stage in life where you have enough freedom and not enough responsibilities (like mortgages, huge credit card loans, and even bigger student loans). I’ve been there before, and I know. I had a full-time schedule at school and several part-time gigs, but I still had quite a lot of time to spare. Way more, in fact, than even my least busy day nowadays.
This can lead to a very expensive hobby: going out. Did you know that Americans spend around $3,154 on eating out alone? This is still on top of the $4,049 worth of groceries per year! Sure, going out once or twice per week is not a mortal sin, but going out–and eating out–almost every day is a huge no-no when you’re trying to save money as a college student. Heck, it’s a huge no-no even if you’re already working.
Save money as a college student by limiting the number of times you go out. Going out and eating out can be very expensive and unhealthy for you. You’re much better off just preparing your own food at home.
Find budget-friendly entertainment alternatives
What do you usually do for entertainment with your friends? Maybe you watch movies at the cinemas, eat out in restaurants, or go to amusement parks. Whatever it is you do, there’s a huge possibility that you’re spending money while you’re at it. The thing is, you’re not alone. According to the same study already mentioned above, the average American spends around $3,000 per year on entertainment. While this already includes in-home entertainment, majority of this amount is used towards outside entertainment.
Save money as a college student by finding budget-friendly entertainment alternatives. Why not play sports in the park on a good day? Binge-watch series at a friend’s home? Or go window-shopping at the mall? After all, you don’t have to spend a lot of money to have fun with your friends.
Get a part-time job or side hustle
The best way to save money as a college student is to find a way to make more money. See, the more money you make, the more you’ll be able to save. Many students are already juggling their regular school schedules with a part-time job. Or two. If you don’t have one yet, you might want to try applying to a nearby part-time job. Even just 4 hours a day can go a long way in terms of saving, you know.
If you want something that’s less of a hassle, you can also opt for side hustles instead. The hard thing about side hustles is that you have to do everything yourself, from finding clients to accomplishing tasks. The good thing, though, is that you can work on your own time, without a boss ordering you around. This might be more ideal for you, especially if you have a more course-heavy load. Just don’t fall for multi-level marketing schemes, and you’ll be fine.
It’s not easy to save money as a college student, but it’s 100% possible! Plus, by leaving to save even when you’re still in college, you can not only build savings, but also good habits that you can carry until after you graduate. And nothing’s more valuable than good financial habits early on in life.
What’s your favorite way to save money as a college student? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments below!