If you are a student, chances are you’re on a tight budget. Even if you’re lucky enough to have scholarships or generous parents, you still need to be responsible and live within your means.
Living on a budget is not the fun part of college. However, you will be grateful you made the effort if you have a healthy bank account and good credit when you graduate.
Here are some tips that will help you stretch your dollar while you’re in school:
1. Stay away from brands. Pay for the quality, not for the name. Generic items are almost always more cost‐effective.
2. Don’t spend your money on music. That’s what YouTube is for!
3. Track your income and expenses. is a great app to have on your smartphone.
4. Even the most diligent students get overwhelmed at times. If you decide to buy papers online, at least make sure you get a discount. , for example, offers 15% off your first order.
5. Start making your own coffee. You never know, it might turn out better than Starbucks, and it will definitely be cheaper.
6. Don’t skip classes. You’re paying for each and every one of them, so make the most of that investment.
7. Find cheaper alternatives to fancy summer and spring break trips.
8. Get a summer job. The money you earn can make a big difference in your bank account throughout the school year.
9. Buy only those textbooks you absolutely need. Try to rent or borrow books whenever you have the option. If not, always purchase used copies.
10. Sell the books you don’t need! Also, sell the clothes and shoes you don’t wear, the tech items you don’t use, and the furniture you need to get rid of. Sites like and are a great source of income for students.
11. Don’t pay for the gym. If there is a free gym at campus, use it. If not, find other ways to exercise without spending money. Jogging and walking are always free.
12. Opt for cheaper college meal plans. They tend to be better values than the more expensive plans.
13. Do you really need a car? Gas and maintenance can consume a huge chunk of your budget. Use public transportation, ride your bike, or walk.
14. Pay your bills on time. You don’t want to pay late fees!
15. Avoid eating out. Learn how to prepare your own meals and shop sales at the grocery store.
16. Do not buy things on a whim. Think about every single purchase you’re about to make.
17. Become a tutor. If you are particularly strong in certain subjects, share your knowledge for profit.
18. Drop courses you’re not sure about. You don’t want to pay tuition for classes you won’t benefit from, or worse, that you’re at risk of failing.
19. Take loans only for tuition, not living expenses.
20. Open an interest bearing savings account and keep any extra money there.
21. If you’re thinking about getting a pet, wait. A pet can be very expensive and you don’t want to be in a position where you can’t provide it with the necessary care.
22. Attend movie nights and social events at campus. They are much cheaper than bars!
23. Don’t buy expensive notebooks, pens and other school supplies. Supplies need to functional, not stylish.
24. Share your food! When you split the expenses for groceries with your friends, you can save a significant amount of money.
25. Use your student ID to get discounts. Many stores offer student discounts that may seem insignificant when you’re making a single purchase, but the savings will add up.
26. Get a cheaper cell phone plan. You can often use the Internet to communicate with people for free, so there is no point in wasting money on an expensive phone plan.
27. If you don’t live on campus, find roommates to split the expenses with.
28. Stop smoking and drinking. These habits are bad not only for your health, but for your budget as well.
29. Do not go at the grocery store with an empty stomach. It’s easy to spend more than planned when you’re hungry.
30. If you already have a credit card, be responsible with the payments. That will be good for establishing credit, but a single slip can be detrimental for your credit score.
Are You Ready to Change the Way You Deal with Money?
Your peers may think it’s funny to be a spendthrift. Don’t be like them! Soon you will be out in the real world and you’ll need to know how to support yourself. Your years at college are a great time to learn how to manage your finances.