Tuition, books, room and board, and life in general cost more than they should. But you work hard for your money, so don’t let the cost of college break the bank. All you need to do is become a savvy spender. Here are 5 ways to save money in college:
The best way to save money in college is to think about spending before you do it. Start by putting a limit on your monthly expenditures. Avoid exceeding that limit at all costs! To choose a number, consider the following: conservative estimates are better and no budget should exceed the income that funds it. In other words, don’t dip into your savings if you don’t have to.
2. Make use of your student ID.
You know what’s awesome about being a student? Student Discounts! You’d be surprised how often and how much you’ll save on food, entertainment, transportation, museums, and more. As a student, you even qualify for an International Student Identity Card, which can save you boatloads on travel! A rule of thumb to maximize your savings: every time you spend money, get in the habit of asking if there’s a student discount.
3. Buy in bulk.
Don’t resort to sample-sized bottles of toothpaste, deodorant, shampoo, or food items that don’t spoil. Go big and save money. Better yet, go big during a sale and stock up when all your essentials are cheap. You’ll spend a bit more at the register, but over time you’ll save money.
4. Enjoy free fun.
Eating out at restaurants or going into the city can cost a pretty penny, so why not enjoy free campus activities instead? Most campuses host screenings, lectures, dances, parties, concerts, and more—all free of charge. Check your school’s events calendar for leads.
5. Use cash instead of credit.
The nice thing about cash is that you can’t spend more than you have. If you spend more than you have with a credit card, and don’t pay your bill at the end of the month, you’ll get stuck with late fees or interest payments. That’s wasted money! Plus, according to psychologists, people tend to spend less when they’re using cash. Apparently the physical act of handing someone money—and actually seeing your wallet get thinner—isn’t as enjoyable as you thought.
Benjamin Franklin once said there were only two certainties in this world: death and taxes. But we’d like to add the high cost of college to that list. Even after tuition you’ve got room and board, textbooks, and living and travel expenses to consider. But all is not lost!
Here are 7 ways to earn extra cash in college:
1. Get a job on campus
So what if you have to actually work for your money? On-campus jobs are great. You get paid, have flexible working hours, and don’t need a car or a transit pass to commute to work. You can even earn money in between classes! Some jobs, like working at the library, may also allow you to get homework done. The only catch is that on campus jobs are in high demand, so get your application in early.
2. Donate plasma
If you’re not afraid of needles, donating plasma can be a great, easy, and conscientious way of earning money—usually between $20 and $40 per donation! Better yet, you can donate up to twice a week. Thankfully there are plasma donation centers all over the USA. To find one near you, check out DonatingPlasma.
3. Sell used stuff online
Got used textbooks lying around? Or used video games? Or even a used iPhone? Sell them for more money with ValoreBooks. Online price quotes are instant and shipping is free. The best part? ValoreBooks has the highest sell-back prices in the industry, meaning you always get more money from them than from anyone else.
4. Participate in research studies
The good thing about being on a college campus is that there are often research studies going on—which are often compensated. They could be medical, psychological, or even social, but play guinea pig and you’ll definitely get rewarded!
5. Babysit, pet-sit, or house-sit
6. Save your change
You’d be surprised how much your pocket change is worth. Keep a jar on your desk and save up your pennies, nickels, dimes, and quarters. Don’t leave them under the couch cushions or lost at the bottom of your purse.
7. Have a yard sale
Uncluttering your life is rewarding for two reasons: it frees up room in your living space and scores you some extra money. Get rid of old clothes, old frames, old furniture—anything you’re not using anymore. Chuck that stuff out on the grass, throw up a few yard sale signs, then kick back and relax.
College tuition already costs an arm and a leg. Plus, every year prices seem to rise. So why should back-to-school shopping cost another bucket of money? Good news: it doesn’t have to, even if you need a computer, furniture, clothes, textbooks, and supplies. The key, of course, is keeping it cheap. Here are 6 ways to spend less while back-to-school shopping:
1. Make a budget
Decide how much you can spend before you decide what you want to buy — and always remember to never spend more than you have.
2. Buy what you need, not what you want
Once you have a budget, it’s much easier to distinguish between things you need and things you want. For example, you probably need a computer in order to type papers, complete assignments online, use the Internet, and more. But you probably want an iPad, as well. They weigh less and may be useful in class if you want to take notes electronically. But resist the urge to get both. Stick with the computer.
3. Buy or rent your textbooks online
Why pay bookstore prices when you can buy or rent millions of titles from thousands of sellers online — all while saving up to 90% off everything? ValoreBooks, our sister-company, makes it easy to find the new, used, or rental textbooks you need at prices you can actually afford. Better yet, when the semester is over, you can sell those books back for more money. That makes it easy to recoup more of your money at the end of every semester.
4. Shop after Labor Day
Good things come to those who wait. In your case, discounts. This is especially true of clothing, as retailers are looking to unload what they didn’t sell during the back-to-school season.
5. Use your student ID
Your college student ID entitles you to all kinds of discounts in life and on the web. Check out this list of where you can save money on technology, food, clothes, and more!
6. Buy used
Things like furniture are going to get banged up anyway, so why not buy used from the get-go? That way you can save money. Check garage sales, second-hand stores, Craigslist, and even your local Goodwill.
The only thing harder than studying for your classes is finding the money to pay for them. Good thing we’re here to help you borrow cheaply. Here’s the smart guide to student borrowing:
Get started today by comparing your private student loan options. Just remember to:
- Max out your federal aid before you consider the private option. Federal student loans often comes with lower interest rates and more favorable lending terms, so it always pays to use up your federal aid eligibility first. That means: fill out a FAFSA if you haven’t already.
- Know how much to borrow. One of the most expensive mistakes a student can make is borrowing too much money. Budget for all your costs, including extraneous things like entertainment, transportation, printing, and parking. But never plan on using your loan disbursement for stuff you don’t need, like a vacation.
- Find a co-signer. If you’ve got a bad credit score or no credit history, then chances are you’ll have trouble finding a private student loan without a credit-worthy co-signer. But that’s not a bad thing! Having a co-signer improves your chances of qualifying for a private student loan and may actually lower your interest rate, saving you money.
- Keep your expected costs down. There’s an important mantra to remember: the less money you plan on spending, the less money you have to borrow. Our sister-company, ValoreBooks, can help. Stop paying retail prices on textbooks. Shop or rent with ValoreBooks next semester and save up to 90%. Then use that money to pay some of your tuition bill.
- Know your borrower benefits. Private lenders offer various benefits to borrowers. Some provide interest rate discounts for enrolling in auto-repayment or for students who’ve made a certain number of on-time consecutive payments. Some lenders even cut your premium by a percentage point or two when you graduate. The key here: know what’s offered ahead of time and calculate those benefits into your total cost.
Many students find it difficult to pay for their tuition bills even with the help of financial aid. Scholarships – free money for school - are the perfect source of extra cash to help pay for college. The trouble is, of course, that these scholarships are hidden in the cyber jungle we call the Internet. Finding scholarships you qualify for often takes more time than actually applying. Luckily, we’ve compiled this list of ways you can easily find scholarships that are right for you!
1. Merit-based. Before you go searching the net for scholarships, take a look a bit closer to home. Many colleges offer merit-based scholarships, often for specific majors, specific talents, and more. Check your institution’s website, financial aid office, and your major department for leads.
2. Scholarship Center. Check out our Scholarship Center, which offers a deep selection of scholarship opportunities for students of all years and majors. Simply fill out your information and you will be given a list of scholarships that you are eligible for. It’s a great way to find scholarships without having to spend tons of time searching for them!
3. Let us keep you posted. Be sure to bookmark and check back on our blog. If you are a student looking for some tips and tricks on saving cash in school, this is the place to be. We’ll keep you updated with blog posts whenever we find great scholarship opportunities to share. In addition, we share tons of scholarship info and other fun content on our Facebook and Twitter, so go ahead and give us a like/follow and stay up to date!