Life: 10 College Saving Tips

12:00:00 AM Arianne 9 Comments

I was chatting with someone on Twitter, and then a thought popped into my head: I was pretty good with saving my money when I was in college. I lived on a budget and was still able to get by without taking out a loan. So, here are my tips for making the most of your money while in college.

1. Apply for scholarships. If you're reading this and you're still in high school, my very first tip would be to study hard to get the best grades so you can qualify for scholarships and grants. If you're already in college, I suggest joining undergraduate programs such as EOP (Educational Opportunity Program) if it is available in your school (in the U.S.), or something similar to it if you live internationally. DO YOUR RESEARCH. Money won't come knocking at your door.

When I was in college, I was in EOP and received a grant of $300 each semester. It wasn't much, certainly wasn't enough to pay my rent, but it helped pay for my gas and food.

There are also many scholarships out there that you can apply for; you just have to be willing to write a lot of well-written essays to win the scholarship. The website I used to search for scholarships was called Fastweb. It literally has hundreds of scholarships you can apply for.

2. Cook your own food. Think about it. A fast food combo averages about $7, but you could also use that to buy all the ingredients for a meal. So what's the difference? A fast food combo is only good for one meal, but if you cook your own food, it could last for at least 2-3 meals depending on how many ingredients you can afford for the same amount.

3. Buy used books. As much as possible, I avoided new books like the plague. I scoured the internet for used books. The most popular I found was Also, after the semester, you can resell your books to other students taking the same class or the Amazon trade-in program.

4. If you have a computer, buy a printer. In college, you write a lot of papers - drafts, more drafts, and more drafts, before the final paper. Paying to print at the library for four or more years would cost more than if you invested in your own printer. All you have to do then would be buy your own printing paper.

5. Carpool. If you have friends in the same class, you would save gas money if you carpool. Usually, classes are twice a week so you can alternate with your friend. You can also save on parking permits by sharing it. Just make sure that you have complete trust of each other. If all else fails, or you don't have a car yet, take public transportation. Make sure you do your research to see if there are discounts for buying a long-term bus pass.

6. Live off-campus. When I was in college, I paid half the rent of what students paid for living on-campus. If you know where to look, you could save so much more and have a much bigger, possibly private, room. If you have a lot of clothes, you would also appreciate a regular-sized closet.

7. Get a part-time job. If you have the discipline, get a part-time job, whether that's off-campus or on-campus. You can also apply for work-study if your university offers it.

8. Join clubs. You might be wondering, "how would joining clubs help me save money?" Well, you know how clubs have gatherings? Well, gatherings always have food - free food that's paid for by the club budget. Take advantage of it and make friends at the same time!

9. Use your student status for discounts. If you didn't know already, being a student makes you entitled for discounts online and in-stores. All you have to do is ask if they offer student discounts.

10. Make your own coffee at home. Assuming that you drink coffee and assuming that you would have many sleepless nights cramming all day and all night; it is much cheaper to make your own coffee at home than regularly buy them at Starbucks (or Costa if you're in the UK).

I'm not an expert. These tips were only based on my experiences when I attended college. I hope this post would help you save money. Let me know in the comments if you have other tips on saving while in college.


  1. Buying used books is the way to go! Freshman year I bought all new books, and it cost $400.. I learned my lesson and now I only buy used. I also only buy the "required" books and never the "recommended" ones, unless I feel like I need them,

    I've also saved on buying my own food and making my own coffee. Although sometimes Starbucks is just too tempting!

    Meet Me in Midtown

    1. I'm not much into Starbucks.. strangely enough, I'm quite good at disciplining myself when it comes to buying things from stores like that.. but I can't be bothered to be disciplines when it comes to Cadbury candy bars ;)

  2. Student discount is probably the best perk, especially when clothes shopping :) Mines would probably be looking around on Amazon/internet for books :)

    Velvet Blush

    1. the only downside of online shopping for books is that it might not arrive when you need it if you order it when school already started.. there's always Amazon Prime I suppose, but I don't like paying fees ;)

  3. I'm currently hunting on ebay and other online places for used textbooks for a much cheaper price (why must they be so expensive to start with?!?) And I'm heading down to the town, I'll be heading to uni in, next week to hand out CV's in hope of getting a job before the rush of students turn up : )

    Kathryn |

    1. I'm quite good at finding deals ;) let me know if I can help!

  4. These are amazing tips! I'm not a student but I'm definately going to keep some of these ideas in mind.. As I'm on a spending ban!

    Lust For Beauty

  5. Great tips, I nearly always cook at home, and shop at Lidl! I am lucky my dad manages a printing shop so he got me a printer for my student house! I also managed to get three books for free first year of uni, second hand, given to me by my sister's friend's cousin! Portsmouth has hardly any jobs though :( haven't found one in the last year! xo

  6. I start College on Friday, so this couldn't have come at a better time :) fantastic tips! x