College is an expensive time for the average attendee. Not only are college students worrying about the cost of tuition, but books, school supplies, student fees, and living expenses often pile up as well. If you’re struggling to pay the bills as a college student, here are some areas that you can start saving on: Saving on Textbooks
Textbooks can costs hundreds of dollars each semester, a hefty sum even when you’re not already struggling to pay the bills. Rather than buying books from your campus, consider buying books online, through a friend, or at a used bookstore. By purchasing used books from a source other than your university, you can reduce to the cost of a book from $100 to less than $5 in some cases.
College students are famous for eating out, especially fast food, which is relatively cheap. Rather than eating out every meal, though, try cooking for a change. There are a variety of college cookbooks on the market, or basic recipes online that require basic ingredients and minimal time. By eating in more regularly, you’ll see improvement to both your health and your budget.
Eating in also includes making your own coffee, which is cheap and easy to do. Rather than spending $5 a day on coffee from a café, buy a $20 coffee maker and start brewing your own.
If you’re driving to campus everyday, stop! By driving, you’re spending extra money on both gas and a parking pass. Plus, it’s not very environmentally friendly. Rather than driving, consider carpooling, biking, walking, or using public transportation. Your bank account, your body, and the earth will thank you.
Utilize Student Discounts
Most cities and towns that have universities within them have businesses that offer student discounts. Ranging from grocery stores to restaurants to phone services, there’s a good chance that by showing your student ID card, you’ll be able to receive a discount on a variety of items and services. Take advantage of it, and ask businesses if they offer student discounts whenever you go out.
Plan Inexpensive Activities
A lot of college students find themselves spending a lot of money on date nights, going out to movies, or meeting friends at the bar for drinks. College is a social time, and with that comes a lot of social activities that cost money. For your next get-together or date night, suggest something that’s more inexpensive, such as heading out for a hike, going stargazing, or having a game night at your apartment. Free activities can be just as fun as those that cost money, and they allow you to save some extra cash simultaneously.
If there’s something you need to buy—be it groceries, a costume for an upcoming party, or a new laptop—make sure you compare prices before you buy. While you can compare in-store, a great option is to look at prices online through websites like Amazon, which often offers discounted prices, especially for used items. By comparing prices online, you’ll guarantee that you’re getting the best deal around.
In addition to saving money in all of these areas, make sure you establish a budget for yourself and stick to it. By setting up a financial plan and cutting back on unnecessary items, you may even be able to save money while pursing your college degree.