Money-Saving Tips for College


You’’ve just sent your baby away to college, and now you’’re wondering how you will ever afford the next four years. Just because you have an empty nest, doesn’’t mean you should have an empty wallet! There are a number of things you (and your student) can do to save money during this not-so affordable, yet rewarding, time.

How You Can Save:

1. Eat In

Whether you have other children at home or are on your own once again, a great way to save money is to eat in, rather than out. Think it’s cheaper to grab a hamburger on the way home from work? Making a bigger meal at home can feed you for days, not to mention the benefits to your waistline.

2. Rethink Your Necessities

You might have had all the channels under the sun when your child was home, but do you really need them now? Whether you cancel cable altogether or simply rethink your package, this is a great place to save money. Other luxuries such as trips to the specialty coffee house and shopping on the weekends are other great places to save. Cut out what you don’t need and reap the savings!

How Your Student Can Save:

1. Buy Used Texbooks/Buy Online Versions

Textbooks will likely become your child’’s best friend as he or she navigates college. Important, yet not-so affordable, these necessities can be purchased used or in an electronic format for a much lower cost. Avoid the school bookstore and shop online whenever possible to save significantly!

2. Get a Job On Campus

Of course, you don’t want to overwhelm your student, but it is important that they help out however possible. Whether they participate in a work-study program or work part-time off campus, this is a great way to earn cash, learn time management skills, and become more responsible as they grow from teen to adult.

3. Eat In

Your student may be tempted to eat pizza and fast food every night, but if you have to sacrifice, your student can do the same. While not the most appetizing, ramen noodles and PB&J are quick, cheap, and store easily. Clipping coupons is another great way to save on groceries!

4. Use Public Transportation

While your student may whine and moan about going without a car, they may thank you later as they experience significant savings. Walking, carpooling, and the taking bus are great ways to save on gas and the maintenance costs that come with having a vehicle on campus — not to mention astronomical parking pass fees.

5. Take Advantage of Student ID Savings

The student ID is a great source of savings! From shopping to food and entertainment, you may be surprised at how many places accept this form of identification as a tool for discounts. Your student’s school website should have information on the many places where the ID can be used and the discounts you can receive as a result.

You may be surprised at how much you can save with a few simple changes. Don’t sweat over your tighter budget. Enjoy this important time in your child’s life. And hey, once the tears have subsided — celebrate! Freedom at last!