How to Save Money in College: 10 Ways to Keep Your Coin

Last Updated on September 4, 2023

A young African American woman with curly hair is excited to save money in college and is pointing to cartoon coins on her palm.

Ah, college life. A transformative period filled with late-night study sessions, unforgettable experiences, and… bills? We get it: managing to save money in college can seem like climbing Everest in flip-flops. But you're not alone, and we're here with the ultimate life hack guide to keep those dollars in your pocket. 💰🎓

Master the Art of College Budgeting: Your Roadmap to Saving More and Stressing Less at HBCUs

Think the words “college” and “saving money” don’t go together? Think again! The truth is, college is a big investment, and like any investment, it's wise to know how to manage it. Whether you’re a new student, a parent, or even a seasoned upperclassman, you’ll find something of value in this guide. We cover everything from how to save money on food in college to applying for scholarships and taking advantage of student discounts.

Get ready to tackle your college expenses like a pro!

1. Scholarships, Grants, and… Reddit?

Okay, listen up! Scholarships and grants are basically free money—so why leave them on the table?

  • Apply for Scholarships and Grants: Make it a full-time hobby to search for scholarships. Websites, local organizations, and your college’s financial office are good places to start. If you're really committed to discovering how to save money on college tuition, scholarships and grants can make a monumental difference.
  • Reddit Community: Looking for real-world, gritty advice? Head over to the how to save money in college reddit community. You'll find unfiltered discussions about cutting costs and maximizing resources.
  • Plan Ahead: If you want to save money for college fast, make sure to start your scholarship search as early as your high school days. The early bird gets the scholarship (and less debt!)

2. Part-Time Jobs: The Double Win

Getting a part-time job isn’t just about the money; it's about the experience. Remember, your pocket isn’t the only thing you’re filling—there’s that resume too!

  • On-Campus Jobs: Many on-campus jobs are tailored for students. The best part? They often offer flexible schedules to accommodate your classes.
  • Local Job Opportunities: Working off-campus at local shops, cafes, or non-profits can not only add some extra cash but also broaden your social circle. You get paid to network. How cool is that?

3. Textbook Tactics: Buy, Share, and Sell!

Remember that time when Tom shared his super expensive textbook with Jerry and they both managed to save money in college? No? Well, they should have!

  • Buy Used or Shared: Check out platforms like BookScouter to buy and sell textbooks at the best prices. If you’re eyeing the same book as your roommate or friend, consider sharing. It’s a simple yet effective way to save money in college.
  • Digital Copies and Libraries: E-books are usually cheaper than physical copies, and your college library is likely to have a digital collection. Also, the library might just have the book you need for the semester. That’s zero dollars spent!

4. Foodie on a Budget: How to Save Money on Food in College

Food, glorious food! But how do you satisfy those taste buds without breaking the bank?

  • Dining Halls and Meal Preps: If you've got a meal plan, use it to the fullest! And for those days when you crave something homemade, consider meal prepping over the weekend.
  • Student Discounts: Don’t shy away from asking restaurants if they offer student discounts. You'd be surprised how many do, and that's a wonderful advantage of student discounts.

5. The Transportation Tactic

The journey to save money in college isn't just metaphorical. Let's talk about the literal journey: transportation.

  • Leave the Car at Home: Unless absolutely necessary, a car is more of a liability than an asset for a college student. You can save money on transportation and also contribute to a greener planet by choosing public transportation or campus rideshares.
  • Biking and Walking: If your campus is small or if your classes are close by, consider walking or biking. It’s a great way to keep fit and save money.

6. Fashion Without Fortune

Wanna look fly without forking over a fortune? How to save money on clothes in college is simpler than you think!

  • Clothing Swaps and Sales: Make an event out of it! Invite friends and exchange clothes you’re bored of. Keep an eye out for sales and clearances as well.
  • DIY and Upcycling: Got a creative flair? Make your own accessories or upcycle old clothes into something new and fashionable.

7. The Savings Strategy: How to Save Money in College

Ever wondered why you should save money in college? Think of it as a safety net or a future investment.

Create a Budget: There are countless apps to help you budget. Regularly tracking your spending can give you an idea of where you can cut back.

Open a Savings Account: Even if it’s just a small amount, regularly putting money in a savings account can add up and provide a financial cushion for future expenses or emergencies.

8. Quick-fire Round: Final Tips & Tricks

Still thirsty for more? Here's a rapid rundown:

  • High School Savings: If you’re still in high school and reading this, you’re already ahead of the game. Start with simple saving strategies, like putting away a small percentage of your allowance or earnings from a part-time job.
  • Networking: The connections you make in college can be valuable for life. From study groups to internship opportunities, your network can also help you discover ways to save money in college.
  • Beyond Tuition: While tuition is the major expense, don’t overlook other costs like lab fees, field trips, or club memberships. Budgeting for these will ensure you're not caught off guard.

9. The ‘Four-Year Plan’: Work with an Advisor to Graduate On Time

Speeding up your path to graduation can be a massive money-saver. Here's how:

  • Work with an Advisor: It might sound like overkill, but working closely with an academic advisor can help you make smart choices for classes and potentially help you graduate in four years or less.
  • Summer Classes and Overload: If your college allows it, consider taking classes over the summer or adding a few more courses during the year. This can shave off a semester or even a full year from your college life, which also means saving on housing and tuition costs.
  • Advanced Placement (AP) Credits: High school AP courses can sometimes be converted into college credits, speeding up your graduation. If you’ve already knocked out some general education courses before even stepping foot on campus, you’re saving money right there!

10. Get Fit, Stay Fit: Use Campus Amenities

Staying fit doesn’t have to be another financial burden. Leverage what your campus offers.

  • Use the School Gym: Most colleges have a gym that’s free for students. Instead of paying for a gym membership, use your school’s facilities. Not only does this save money, but it's also a great way to meet other students.
  • Outdoor Activities: Many colleges have hiking trails, bike paths, or water sports facilities. These are often free or very cheap for students to use, so take advantage of them to stay active without burning a hole in your pocket.

Closing thoughts: Every Penny Counts

Attending Black Colleges, or any college, for that matter, is a rewarding and life-changing experience. And while managing to save money in college might seem daunting, remember: every penny counts. So whether you're pinching pennies or investing in the future, these strategies will set you on the right path.

FAQs: Save Money in College Questions Answered

What saves you the most money in college?

The biggest money-saver in college is probably securing scholarships and grants. This is essentially free money that doesn’t need to be repaid, making a massive dent in your tuition fees. The second would be living off-campus or at home to save money on housing expenses.

How can I save money while in college?

You can save money in college by applying for scholarships, working part-time jobs, sharing textbooks and housing, using public transportation, and taking advantage of student discounts. Planning and budgeting are crucial; track your expenses to see where you can cut back. Check out our guide above for a deep dive into each strategy.

Is it hard to save money in college?

Saving money in college can be challenging due to limited income and numerous expenses. However, with proper planning, budgeting, and smart choices like those outlined in this guide, it is definitely feasible. The key is to be disciplined and take advantage of opportunities to save money.

How much should I save while in college?

The amount you should save can vary depending on your expenses and income. A good rule of thumb is to save at least 20% of any income or allowance you receive. Putting this into a dedicated savings account can provide a financial cushion for future expenses and emergencies.

How do students save money in college?

Students can save money in college by being proactive and resourceful. This involves applying for scholarships, working part-time, making smart academic choices to graduate early, and using on-campus amenities. Peer-to-peer advice and online communities such as Reddit can also offer creative ways to save.

Got more questions, thoughts, or money-saving tactics?

Drop them below and join the conversation! Let's make college more about memories and less about money worries. ✌🏾🌟📚💸

Scroll to Top