It’s an American tradition that college students are broke. But don’t fret. There are ways to make the most of your college experience by being savvy and frugal.
1. Begin looking for a job now. There are tons of part time jobs on campus and you won’t have to worry about them scheduling around your classes–they understand. Look in the campus paper classifieds or call your advisor to see if she or he has any suggestions. It may not be glamorous, but a few hours a week puts a little change in your pocket.
2. Look for an RA position if you’re at least a sophomore. Most RAs get seriously reduced boarding cost, if not free. If you get an interview, do your research because these are coveted positions.
3. Rent your text books cheaply. There are lots of ways to do this. Campus Book Rentals, Kobo, or Chegg are great places to start. Buying previous editions is also cheaper and typically, there are only minor changes in order to keep people buying the book. Just do this at your own risk and discretion. And the best part? We have coupon codes for even CHEAPER books!
4. Prep some of your own meals. Most students living on campus are required to buy a meal plan. But you do have options. Purchase a smaller meal plan and bulk buy healthy food from Costco, BJs, or even WalMart. Taking yourself shopping every few weeks for cost effective meals can save you bundles.
5. Take advantage of campus amenities. Likely, your school has lots of free entertainment. Instead of going to the movies, see what rentals are available at the library, or see if a club is holding some kind of activity (and hey, join the club). Join the gym on campus, attend games, and other fun things happening on campus. Don’t be too cool for school.
6. Rent stuff, don’t buy it. First of all, you can split the rent on the minifridge with your roommate. Second, you don’t have to get rid of it or move it when its time to move.
7. Volunteer. We know, this doesn’t sound like a way to make money, but reconsider that trip to Cancun. Instead, you can travel nearly for free to a high need area and help out. You’ll be happier with yourself and won’t be nursing a week long hang over. Doing good things does wonders for your self worth.
8. Don’t use a credit card. Just don’t. EVER. And NEVER, EVER sign up for credit cards on campus. Even if they are offering a free t-shirt. Repeat: NEVER.
9. Carpool. Gas is expensive. No matter how lazy you’re feeling, driving the .5 miles to class daily is only going to cost you in the end. Plus, it’s a free way to exercise. If you’re not up to it, just suck it up and take the bus.