21 Creative Ways to Save Money While in College

Updated: Jan 30

College can be expensive but there ARE actually many ways to save money while you're in school. This article highlights multiple tips and resources for you to save money while you're in college.

1. Leverage Work Study

Take the full Work Study option with your financial aid package. Colleges have numerous part-time jobs on campus to support work study programs. Take advantage of this option to make some money at a job that is directly on campus with hours that work well with your class schedule. The amount of money you can make each year through work study depends on your specific financial aid package. For more details about Work Study, check out StudentAid.gov.

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2. Work in Food Service

Continuing from tip #1, take a work study job in food service! This is a bonus because you usually get a free or discounted meal during your shift! You'll make some money AND save money on your food bill. For every free meal you get through your job, you could save $5-$10! Over the course of one school year, if you work 3 shifts per week over 40 weeks, that could amount to $600-$1,200 in savings!

3. Buy Used

Buy used whenever possible. This is especially important when it comes to textbooks. I understand that often times, the professors will require new versions of textbooks so it may be difficult to accomplish this for all classes but you should check into it anyway. Examples of items to buy used include:

* Textbooks!

* Computer/Laptop (refurbished)

* Dishes

* Clothes

* Shoes

* Vehicle

* Furniture

* Backpack

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4. Share!

Share anything and everything you can. The biggest way to share expenses is to make sure you always have a roommate to share the costs of housing, utilities, etc. Some other examples of shareable items in college include:

* Housing

* Meals/Groceries

* Utility bills

* Vehicle

* Books

* Computer

* Printer

* Clothes

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5. Leverage School Activities

Leverage any and all free or discounted school-sponsored activities! Movie night in the common area? Discounted tickets to a museum? Sign us up!

6. Take Classes at a Different School

Many colleges have a relationship with other colleges where students can take courses at the other locations while staying enrolled and receiving a degree from the primary institution. It could be possible to save money by attending a college that has lower tuition but that allows you to take some courses from a participating college that has a higher tuition rate.

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7. Apply for Scholarships

Scholarship applications aren't just available before you get to college, there are usually many opportunities available while you're in school. Often times, specific departments will have scholarships for students majoring in that area of study.

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8. Use Your Student ID

Don't leave home without your student ID! It is common for businesses in the same community as a college to offer discounts on products or services for students if they show their ID. Sweet!

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9. Hang out in the Library

Libraries are GREAT resources! Not only will they have books freely available, they will have computer and printing resources and so much more. Consider it a great place to study, print your resume, research your school projects and papers, and more.