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How to Save Money as a College Student

College students have plenty to worry about besides how to make ends meet after graduation. Here's 10 quick tips to help you save up while taking classes.

August 19, 2022 | Madison Foster

Six smiling college students holding textbooks while walking together on a sidewalk

College is an exciting bridge into adulthood for many, but it can come with a hefty price tag. Between textbooks, tuition, and bills, it can be difficult to save for anything beyond your immediate needs. That said, there are things you can do as a college student to help put money away. The best part? Here it is in a handy condensed list because we get it, you’re busy!

Save money you’re already bringing in

  • Student checking accounts are often great options as they typically have low balance requirements and fees. Rewards accounts are also great options as they allow you to do things like earn cash back on purchases.
  • While it can be stressful, having a job while in college is a great way to bulk up your savings plus cover your necessary expenses. Even a side hustle like ride sharing or part-time work is a great way to make some extra dough while you take classes.
  • Make sure to keep track of your spending so you don’t lose money on things such as overdraft fees.

Save money on college expenses

  • Fill out the FAFSA, which allows you to input income information and see if you qualify for any grants, scholarships, or other programs.
  • Rent textbooks when possible, to cut down on costs. If you do have to buy, try to sell the ones you don’t want to keep at the end of each semester.
  • Be mindful of your borrowing. Some loans can be helpful or necessary, but you don’t want to get in over your head with unnecessary debt after you’ve graduated.
  • Utilize campus amenities, such as a fitness center or cafeteria meal plan, which are often cheaper than a regularly priced gym membership or eating out every day.

Reduce spending in your daily life outside of college

  • Take advantage of student discounts on things like movie theaters and other local businesses. Many online merchants offer them as well.
  • Consider living at home or with a roommate to reduce rent and bills.
  • Buy secondhand. The brand-new designer clothes likely won’t be nearly as satisfying as being financially independent earlier in life. Consider going to thrift stores, consignment shops, or doing swaps among your friends to minimize spending on things you’re likely able to get cheaper slightly used.

Try to save where possible using some of these tips. Your wallet, and your future, will thank you!

OMB and its affiliates do not provide legal, tax or accounting advice. You should consult your legal and/or tax advisors before making any financial decision.

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