Here's How to Save Money in College

Updated 02/02/18
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Learning how to save money in college is one of the most important lessons you'll learn during your career as a student. In fact, in order to enjoy the fun parts of college and make it through all the challenges, it's crucial to keep a close eye on your wallet. To state the obvious, higher education is expensive, making now a great time to equip yourself with basic financial skills and responsible spending habits. 

Now that we got that lecture out of the way, we're here to assure you that it's actually pretty simple… At least simpler than your Econ 101 assignment. Jokes aside, these saving hacks and lifestyle tips will help you develop better budgeting skills to use on campus and beyond. Ready to learn how to save money in college? Get the full details on the five easiest ways to ensure financial stability as a student below. 

Try a Money Cleanse

If you're reading this, you're probably trying to recover from a weekend of overspending. Consider the money cleanse your lifeline. Created by the author of Beautiful MoneyLeanne Jacobs, this hack is all about working with you have. And even though it isn't a cleanse of the juice variety, Jacobs also happens to be a certified nutritionist and yoga instructor with an MBA, so she definitely knows what she's talking about. First, organize your space so you can have a clear head. Then lay out your calendar so you can better track your spending. Cancel activities that don't make you and your bank account happy. Last, replace canceled activities with others that clear your head so you don't overstress about your financial state. This holistic approach will create a more effective, sustainable change in your attitude toward money. 

Practice the 24-Hour Rule

Another good way to manage your day-to-day money habits is the 24-hour rule. A big reason people struggle to save money is because of impulsive shopping for events or items they don't really want or need. This can be particularly dangerous during sale seasons… To minimize the habit of purchasing things outside of your budget, make yourself wait 24 hours before you swipe that credit card. Giving yourself time to weigh the pros and cons of a purchase will prevent overspending. The payoff? You'll have more cash left over to use on essentials or you can put it away to save for a rainy day.

Opt for Free Activities and Affordable Meals

Instead of going to expensive concerts or events, research organizations that host free events. Since you're on a campus, there are plenty of cool things to do. Maybe there's an awesome speaker or a student-run play happening this week. Or take a walk outside and hang out with your friends on the quad. These are great alternatives to splurging on day trips or weekend getaways. The money you'd save on transportation alone makes it worthwhile. And instead of eating at pricey restaurants on a regular basis, keep healthy snacks around from Trader Joe's—you can order your favorite things on Amazon if there isn't one nearby. Or host a potluck and cook at home with your friends. 

Use Your Time Wisely

If you're taking a full load of classes, you probably spend most of your time studying, getting involved in extracurricular organizations, and hanging out with your friends (our personal favorite). That doesn't leave you with very much time for a side job, does it? If you aren't able to bring in some extra cash through on-campus jobs, like tutoring or taking library shifts, search ahead of time for a summer internship. If you have the support to participate in an unpaid internship, try to secure one that boosts your résumé to help you secure a post-college job. Another great option is opting for a summer job in your hometown. This way, you'll have more spending money to use throughout the year. 

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