Ways to Save Money in College
Managing the Money You Have
Get a free checking and savings account.
Take the free checks that the bank offers in the maximum amount they allow.
Failure to keep track of your bank/checking account can easily cost you money via overdraft fees.
If you have to have a credit card, make sure you get one with the lowest interest rate possible; no annual fees and with only enough of a credit limit to get you by in an emergency.
Pay credit card bills on time.
Don't drink, or drink less, especially when socializing in bars and restaurants.
Don't smoke. Cigarettes are very expensive and are a serious public hazard. Smoking is not allowed on UNI campus.
Before purchasing a textbook, consider borrowing it from someone else on campus or from the campus library.
If you can’t borrow, buy used college textbooks.
If you live on campus and pay for a partial or whole meal plan, be sure to utilize it.
Have a coffee fix? Make your own.
Don’t tip just because someone poured you a cup of coffee.
Skip the fast food forays and late night take-out.
Collect coupons and follow the weekly sales at the grocery store.
Kick the bottled water habit; support your local tap water and drink for free.
Computers - Hardware and Software
If you’re buying a computer, save by shopping the student specials; discounts, rebates and back to school specials.
While you’re in college don’t take risks with your electronic equipment. Laptops and other trendy little electronics can be made off with quickly in a dorm environment.
Software is another high-dollar item. Also shop online software clearinghouses for discounted products from all vendors.
Decline extended warranties.
Entertainment- Music, Movies, Arts and Culture
Forget about the T.V. You can watch cable television through your computer.
Trying to save money on going out to the movies? Hit the matinee showings. Look for free movies on campus; chances are you will find classics, independents, student films, noir and experimental.
Rent DVDs as a group.
Buy used CDs at the local music shop. Turn in your old CDs for credit and you may never have to exchange real money!
Avoid spending money this weekend. Be creative in what you choose to do, even if it includes a picnic, a long walk, flying a kite, a pickup game of soccer or football, an impromptu poker game (not played for money), or reading a good book.
Pick up a local newspaper and check upcoming events for freebies: concerts, arts and crafts fairs, theater, festivals, art galleries, and museums.
Off-Campus Apartment Living
Get a studio apartment or split rent with roommates.
Rent a place that will have all appliances provided.
Pay utility bills before they are due. Avoid late fees.
Save money on bills by keeping the A/C or heat turned down or off if possible
Turn off lights; use the oven sparingly and take shorter showers.
If winters are cold and heat bills are high you can insulate your windows with plastic.
If you have to shop, make sure you patronize places that offer student discounts.
Shop for stuff you really need during the tax-free week - available in many regions of the country.
Shop early or late for Christmas and the holidays.
Create Christmas and holiday gifts with your own two hands.
Get a few friends together to pitch in for the price of an annual membership at a place like Sam’s Club or Costco.
Buy in bulk.
Don’t shop hungry, and that goes for any kind of shopping.
Learn how to shop for clothes at the consignment shop.
Try to get an apartment which is close to campus.
Don’t take the car to campus.
Walk, bike, roller blade, skateboard your way around town.
Public transportation is cheap, too.
Save money by doing the least amount of traveling necessary. Road trips are great fun, but you will put out money for gas, accommodations, food, drink and entertainment. When it’s all said and done, your long weekend will smack your wallet.
Name your own price for a flight or accommodations, if you must travel, by using services such as Priceline. Factors such as current events and gas prices may cause travel prices to fluctuate.
Check prices for Amtrak or Greyhound versus air travel. Both companies offer student discounts.
A student travel discount card will get you nice discounts on accommodations, food, and transportation if you are traveling nationally or internationally: STA Travel and International Student Identity Card, ISIC
The Cost of Keeping in Touch
Refer to cell phone comparison sites that offer side-by-side data of plans from company to company.
Save time and save money on your next cell phone plan: avoid text messaging.
Use a pay-as-you-go cell phone plan. This will only work if you use your cell phone on a minimal basis.
Communicate via email, instant messengers, create a blog, share photos on Flickr, or invite friends to visit your MySpace site.
Use an inexpensive or free internet phone calling service: Skype; Vonage; Google Talk; Trillian & Gaim; Facebook; international calling cards
Shop for your personal items at a discount retailer. Money strategists suggest buying the “store brand” as a cost-saving alternative, as well.
Doing laundry costs money: bring your own detergent versus buying the single use from the machines; buy discounted detergent or on sale only; bring your own drink and/or snack versus buying from the vending machine while in the laundry mat; fill the machines to capacity.
Enroll in an on-campus exercise class such as yoga, tai chi, kick-boxing or spinning. Exercise will keep you healthier and happier and will fill up time you might otherwise have spent spending money.
Feeling down and getting the urge to splurge? Instead go for a run, a bike ride, or a brisk walk. You’ll get some exercise-induced serotonin coursing through your brain and the feeling will cost you nothing.