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Money Moves

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How to Save Money in College: 13 Tips for Being Frugal

College can be an expensive time – but it doesn't have to be! If you're looking for ways to pinch pennies and save money, you've come to the right place. In this article, we will discuss some tips and tricks for frugal living while in college. Whether you're a freshman just starting out, or a senior about to graduate, these tips will help you keep your expenses down.

1. Buy or rent used textbooks and sell last semester's books.

This is one of the easiest ways to save money on college expenses. Buying used textbooks can save you a ton of money, and selling back your old ones can help offset the cost of new books. You can also check out online sources like Amazon and Chegg for cheaper textbook options.


2. Look for student discounts whenever possible.

Many places offer student discounts with a valid ID – so be sure to ask about them! From restaurants to movie theaters, there are many places that want your business – and they're willing to give you a break on prices.


3. Look for affordable spring break options.

If you're planning on taking a trip for spring break, there are plenty of frugal – and fun! – options available. From road-tripping to camping, there are lots of ways to enjoy a week off without breaking the bank. 

You can also look into traveling with volunteer groups such as Habitat for Humanity to go sight-seeing while working to help others.


4. Make your own meals, snacks and coffee.

Eating out can be expensive, so one of the best ways to save money is to cook your own meals. If you're living in a dorm or apartment, you should have access to a kitchen where you can prepare simple meals and snacks. And if cooking isn't your thing, there are plenty of quick and easy recipes that anyone can follow.

This can also go for making your own coffee instead of going to Starbucks or a café and spending money every day. A good thermos of homemade coffee is a practical way to save money throughout college.


5. Try to reduce your drinking.

This may be easier said than done, but reducing your alcohol consumption can save you a lot of money in the long run. If you're trying to quit or cut back, there are plenty of resources available to help you – including campus health services.


6. Do not make impulse-based purchases.

One of the best ways to save money is to avoid making impulse purchases. If you see something you want, wait a day or two before buying it. This will give you time to think about whether or not you really need it – and chances are, you'll probably realize that you don't!


7. Always pay bills on time to avoid late fees.

This is a good frugal tip for anyone – not just college students! Paying bills on time will help you avoid late fees, and it's also a good way to build up your credit score.


8. Use your campus gym.

If your school has a gym, take advantage of it! Most schools offer access to fitness facilities for free, so it's definitely cheaper than joining an off-campus gym membership. And even if your school doesn't have a gym, there are usually plenty of other ways to get exercise for free, like running or biking.


9. Attend the social activities on your campus.

One of the best things about college is all the free events and activities that are available. From concerts to comedy shows, there's usually something going on – and it's usually free or very cheap. A lot of times there is free food and giveaways. So take advantage of it and have some fun!


10. Stick to water.

Instead of buying soft drinks or alcohol if you do go out to eat at a restaurant, stick to water. It's cheaper and healthier for you! 


11. Do not use a car if you do not have to.

If you can, avoid using a car. Cars are expensive, and the costs of gas, insurance and maintenance can add up quickly. If you don't need a car to get around, save yourself the money and don't buy one.

If your college is located in an area with public transportation, utilize that to get around town. The great thing about college is that a lot of amenities and places to go are within walking distance. 


12. Sell what you don't need.

If you have any old textbooks, furniture, or other items that you don't need, sell them! There are plenty of ways to do this, including online classifieds, campus-wide yard sales, or Facebook Marketplace. You can also sell items to local businesses or thrift stores.


13. Attend all your classes.

This may seem like a no-brainer, but it's important to attend all your classes. Not only will you get the most out of your education, but you'll also save money on tuition and fees because you won't have to take extra classes. You're already paying for it, so get your money's worth!


Saving money in college doesn't have to be difficult – there are plenty of easy ways to do it and these money-saving tips are just a start. Make sure you're careful with your spending and don't make any impulse purchases. With a little bit of effort, you can easily save money and still have a great time in college! Enjoy college life!

The information and topics featured are for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal, tax or financial advice. All financial situations and circumstances are different and may not apply to the specific information provided. Seek the advice of a financial professional, tax consultant, or legal counsel to obtain guidance specific to your needs.