7 Tips For Saving Money As A Broke College Student

When students start college it can be an exciting and nerve-wracking experience. It can also be an expensive one. For me college I didn't realize how expensive being a college student could be. Who knew that the cost of college is more than just the typical ones we all think about - classes, books, room, and board.

Once it hits that the costs for college go beyond that, it becomes clear that going to college is like getting your first takes of adulting.

white envelope with several different dollar bills
(This information is not meant to be financial advice and is just for educational purposes. This post may include affiliate links. Should you click an affiliate link and make a purchase I may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you.)

Well, there are ways that you can limit these other costs. In fact, here are seven.

Use student discounts

Who knew there were several companies out that would reward you for being a student by giving you a discount?

You can find these discounts by visiting sites like studentrate.com. There you can find student discounts for clothing retailers, technology like computers and cell phones, entertainment, and even travel.

While student discounts aren’t anything new, there are more now than when I was in school. Over your college years, student discounts could save you hundreds of dollars a semester.

Have roommates

My college roommates and I would take turns purchasing grocery staples or foods we all eat like milk, eggs, sandwich fixings, and ice cream. We would even carpool to the store and other places.

Splitting living costs like an off-campus apartment or groceries in two or more ways can help you save a lot over your college career.

Use coupons

I’m a big believer in coupons. No matter where you are in life or how much money you make or don’t make.

Students today have more options now than when I was in school for how to get and use coupons. Most of them make saving money convenient because they are apps you can easily use on your phone. So you don't have to clip or cut out any physical or paper coupons.

Some of my favorite places for digital coupons are Ibotta, coupons.com, and Rakuten.

Eat out less

This can be a hard one to do since eating out is a great way to make friends and build relationships. But it’s also costly.

You can eat out less by finding ways to have meals in your dorm room or apartment. When I lived in the dorms I would bring pre-made meals from home that I would freeze and then defrost and heat up in the microwave.

You can also find ways to have breakfast in your dorm room. Foods like cereal, bagels, and microwavable sausage make easy breakfasts that don't cost a lot or require a kitchen.

After I moved off campus I would cook most of my meals and only eat lunch a few days on campus and the occasional dinner with friends who still lived on campus.

Do less decorating

I admit all of the pretty dorm room essentials advertised by retailers can be pretty tempting, but many of those “essentials” are items you don’t need.

Things like bed skirts, vanity mirrors, lounge seating, ottomans, and picture frames I found weren’t necessary. Besides, what you buy for your dorm room most likely won't fit the type of aesthetic you want for your first apartment. And you’ll end up throwing it away or giving it to Goodwill.

Related read: The Ultimate High School And College Graduation Gift Guide

Limit the extracurriculars

Don't sign up for non-essential or elective classes that require you to buy or rent equipment or special clothing.

Also, try to limit the number of concerts and movies you attend. And whenever you do, opt for places that have a student discount or go to the matinee. Or opt for the free movies and entertainment offerings that your school provides.

Shop off campus

If you can, I highly recommend that you don't buy items from campus stores. Items such as snacks, toiletries, school gear, etc. I've found these stores mark up their items quite a bit making them so not a good deal.

When it comes to your books, you may want to look off-campus for those as well. When I was in college I found much better deals in off-campus stores and online.

Another alternative for your textbooks is to rent them. Then you don't have to worry about whether or not you can re-sell them and not lose a ton of money.

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