We asked the college students of the BuzzFeed Community to tell us the best tips and tricks they used to save money while in school. Here’s what they had to say!
1.Ask retail stores if they have extra hangers you might be able to take.
“Don’t buy hangers! I used to work at Old Navy, and they throw away bags full of hangers every night. If you go in about an hour before closing, it doesn’t hurt to ask if you can keep the hangers they plan on throwing away.”
2.During the summer, stock up on gift cards for essential places (like a gas station) so you can use it during the semester when you’re low on money.
During the summer when you might be working more, buy gift cards for gas, local food places, grocery stores, etc. That way, when your bank account is low during the school year, you have those in case of an emergency/you’re running low on funds.“
3.Join certain apps that let you earn extra money for services like babysitting or petsitting.
“See if there’s an app for local childcare gigs! I use one, and they only hire college students. It’s a great way to make extra money. “
4.Buy a cheap crockpot and learn how to use it.
“Get a crockpot and find a few staple meals. I can get a week’s worth of tasty and healthy meals from $10-$15 of groceries. Plus, you can set it to cook before classes and have it done when you get back that night!”
5.Forgo buying textbooks by seeing if your school’s library carries them.
“Instead of buying textbooks, I would borrow them from the school’s library. If I couldn’t check them out for the semester, I would just scan them and have the PDFs on my laptop.”
6.Keep your coins and any spare change you find and take them to Coinstar.
“I saved up all the spare coins I found and kept them in a piggy bank. Every August before school started, I took them to Coinstar. I’d turn thee coins into an Amazon gift card and paid for textbook rentals that way.”
7.Stock up on your mom’s home cooking and freeze the leftovers in your dorm.
“Have your mom cook a few different meals for you and freeze them. That way, you’ll save money and you’ll be eating home cooked food while you’re away at school.”
8.Don’t be afraid to see if a place offers college student discounts.
“A LOT of stores, restaurants, and clothing stores have college discounts. If you’re in a store and you don’t see it, always ask!”
9.Use your dorm’s meal plan to use ingredients in the cafeteria to make healthier meals.
“At my university, we were required to purchase an unlimited meal plan for the dining hall, but sometimes you get tired of the same food. My friends and I would grab a to-go box and hit the salad bar for fresh ingredients to use to cook in the dorm kitchen instead. You have to get creative, but there are a lot of things you can cook using dining hall ingredients, which helps save on a grocery bill!”
10.Free on-campus events might mean free meals, but they also are a good way of making new friends.
“University clubs have so many free events! This is especially true at smaller schools. Join an events page on social media or look for flyers on campus to see if there are free dinners, movies, or general social events. It’ll break you out of your routine and help you meet new people!”
11.Do the math, because hourly parking might be cheaper than paying hundreds of dollars for a parking pass each semester.
“If you’re living off-campus and don’t have class every single day, sometimes it’s cheaper to pay for hourly parking. At my university, the cheapest parking pass costs about $450 per semester. I didn’t have classes every day and I found it was cheaper to pay a meter a few times a week than to pay for the permit. Bonus: that might mean you can also park in ANY lot you want by paying when you get there!”
12.Order from the kid’s menu if you go out to eat.
“When you go out to eat, order from the kid’s menu! The portions are smaller, but it is half the price and still filling.”
15.Walk, bike, or use any free transportation (buses) that your school may provide to get around instead of driving.
“Walk everywhere instead of driving as much as possible! I didn’t have access to my car for the first two years of college, so I saved a ton of money on gas.”
16.Use the cash trick to avoid reckless spending on your debit card.
“I find that I spend a lot less money when I have cash on me instead of paying with my card. I try to keep at least $20-$40 dollars of cash on me so that when I buy something, I use the cash first. This stops me from buying useless things that I don’t really need!“
17.Find apps that reward you with discounts.
“Use Pocket Points. It’s an app that racks up point while you have your phone closed while you’re on campus, and you can use those points to get free stuff or discounts at local places. I lived on campus and would leave it on while I slept. I racked up so many points that I don’t think I ever managed to spend them all.“
18.Buy or rent textbooks from online stores that tend to be cheaper than on-campus bookstores, or just borrow from a friend.
“Don’t get textbooks through the school bookstore. Use Amazon or another website. Or if they’re core classes that everyone has to take, borrow the book from someone who has already taken the course.“
19.And if you get a job at a restaurant, chances are you might get free meals!
“If you’re good at multitasking between taking classes and working, I suggest getting a job at a restaurant. Boom! Free meals every shift, and you’re getting paid on top of that.”
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