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6 Tips to Save Money in College

Winter break is over, the new year is here, and many of us college students are working to get back into a solid routine. Let’s be real; one of the biggest struggles we face as students is keeping our finances in order.

College and college life is not cheap, but we can make little adjustments here-and-there for which our bank accounts will thank us. 

If one of your goals for 2020 is to improve your budgeting skills, you are in the right place! Here are a few money saving tips that will take your bank account go from drab, to fab. 

Tip #1: Track Your Spending

One of the best ways to identify “money-suckers” is by tracking what you spend over an indicated period of time. You can write down what you spend in a notebook, put it in your iPhone notes, or, if you are really feeling ambitious, log it in an Excel spreadsheet. 

If manual computing is too much for you, there are mobile apps to help you track your spending. Mint is a free app for Android and iPhone users that streamlines all of your accounts, creates automated budgets and provides AI suggestions on budget adjustments based on your spending habits. Score. 

Not only does tracking your spending help you to identify where your money goes, it also helps you to identify any tweaks you can make to your budget to both save money and ensure that your hard-earned dollars go towards things you need and things you want.

Tip #2: If You Can, Make a Few Meals at Home 

It just so happens that in college your favorite foods (good & bad) are often ALL around you: cafes, bars, fast food, oh my.

Grabbing your daily iced coffee or $16 salad from that chic café across from your apartment is totally OK, just take the opportunity to make a few meals at home during the week or brunch at home with DIY mimosas.

Especially during the busy seasons (think mid-terms, finals, rush, etc.), try meal prepping a few lunches or breakfast foods so that you can grab-and-go. Some things are better fresh than prepped, but there are some easy go-to breakfast and lunch options:



  • Salads (minus the dressing)
  • Sandwiches
  • Any combination of protein, carb and veggie
  • Stir fry
  • Pasta
  • And more!

Taking the time to enjoy a few meals at home will not only help you to save a few dollars, we also tend to make better food choices when we prepare our meals ahead of time. Double win.

Tip #3: Download UNiDAYS! ASAP

If you aren’t aware of the UNiDAYS app, you are missing out on some serious savings. UNiDAYS is an app reserved specifically for college students; they bring you the best deals in fashion, beauty, food, drink and so much more. The app boasts over 150 brands who are ready to give you some killer deals.

This app has saved me so much money since I started college years, giving me in-store and online discounts for some of my favorite clothing brands like H&M, Express, RayBan and Levi’s. UNiDAYS lets me treat myself, but feel less guilty about it.

Signing up for the app is free and easy. Just visit the UNiDAYS site and register with your school email address.  

Tip #4: Buy Used Textbooks When You Can

The price of textbooks is outrageous and makes me want to cry inside. Fortunately, you don’t have to buy textbooks at full price; there are so many other options to buy textbooks at a discounted rate. 

Amazon is my go-to for buying textbooks. Just type your book’s ISBN into the search bar, and Amazon provides you with an ample list of options for new, used or rental textbooks; this applies to e-textbooks as well.

Amazon also give you a list of other sellers who offer the book at reasonable prices in various conditions. Unless you need to buy the book new, try surfing through these options first!

Chegg and Barnes & Noble also have options for purchasing new and used textbooks. See what works for you.

Tip #5: Take Advantage of Student Discounts

When operating on a budget, it may feel like everything is extremely expensive; you’re noticing the price-tags on items, which is actually a good thing. Fortunately, some businesses offer student discounts for the price of flashing your student ID.

Certain college and university towns offer discounts to students at local movie theatres, play houses, transportation options, museums and more. Before you foot the bill on an extravagant night, check out your town’s local discounts for students and invite your friends.

Tip #6: Have Clothes You Don’t Wear Anymore? Sell Them.

If you’re looking for a way to scrape up some extra cash, look no further than your closet. If you have clothes that don’t fit you anymore, clothes you never wear or clothes you simply don’t want anymore, you can sell them to a thrift store, your school or on apps like Poshmark, thredUP, and Depop.

This is one of my favorite ways to make additional money; it’s easy and takes very little time. Selling my unwanted clothes has helped me to earn additional funds that go towards groceries, books and school supplies. Every bit counts.

It looks like your bank account doesn’t have to suffer too much from the various college and college life expenses. Making a few tweaks here-and-there can help you spend money where and how you want, which is a huge win.

What are some of your favorite budgeting tips? Share them in the comments, below.  


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