Type to search

Business Finance & Markets

20 Groundbreaking money saving tips for college students

Money saving tips for college students

Most of the time college students are struggling with basic money-saving ideas and fail to save enough money to manage their various expenses. However, they didn’t know, there are plenty of money-saving tips for college students that may help them out at any kind of financial situation!

Let’s have a look at a few and learn how to implement them.

1. Make a budget

Making a budget can help college students to consolidate all of their expenses, categorize them, and track their money. So, create a spreadsheet and list your income and expenses. Compare your income and expenses. If you have a surplus, make sure to save that money each month.

There are 5 common steps to create a budget:

#Find out how much money you are bringing in to manage

Calculate your income by adding your paychecks and all other regular income. Make sure to include only the net pay after taxes.

#Track all the expenses

Tracking your spending will help you pinpoint the areas where you’re spending too much and help you determine where you can make cost-efficient cuts.

#Set prime financial goals and make them happen

You need to set your prime financial goals and start working on them. You should find out how to get out and stay debt-free, how to get the maximum coverage on your insurance policies, possible ways to contribute more towards retirement savings, when to build an emergency fund without hurting your monthly budget, etc.

#Control your spending and increase income

Take a look at the categories of your budget. Separate “NEEDS” and “WANT” and put your extra income in your savings account.

#Follow the plan strictly

Make sure you stick to your budget. By doing this, you may get the results you’re looking for to reach your end goal!

You may spend more than your income. So, look at new ways to reduce your spending or new options to increase your income. But remember, your budget is not a permanent solution. It should be dynamic. So, update your budget every month, if required.


  • You can anticipate and avoid financial issues
  • Much easier to save money as you know how much you have available for saving
  • Scheduled payments help you keep your bills paid on time.


  • Time sensitive process, requires patience.
  • If you forget to update your budget, it can throw you off for the entire month.

2. Get a frugal roommate

If you find such a roommate, he or she will encourage you to start saving in every possible way. His or her body language, sighs, glances, and even comments may warn you against overspending or wasting money. This is one of the most uncommon money-saving tips for college students. Trust me, it works!


  • You can split the cost of rent and groceries.
  • If both of you have the same interests, it would be fun living with a roommate.


  • You have to bear the cost of living (rent and groceries) if you have issues to afford them.
  • As your roommate will be there with you most of the time, you will get very little privacy compared to your other friends.

3. Find out free money!

Money doesn’t grow on trees. However, there are few amazing options to get it for free. Being a college student, you may apply for scholarships, awards, and bursaries. Many unpopular scholarships don’t receive many applications, so you may try your luck over there. Who knows, with the proper effort you may get that money and finance your study.

For your convenience, these are the popular free-money options available to you:

  • Federal grants
  • State grants
  • Employer-based scholarship programs
  • Volunteer organizations
  • Military scholarships
  • Churches
  • Local community groups
  • Philanthropic institutions
  • Labor unions and professional associations
  • Banks and credit unions
  • Online scholarship programs – Websites such as Scholarships.com, Fastweb, and MoolahSpot

4. Save money on entertainment

I know it’s quite tough to avoid new premiers and blockbusters. But don’t forget, new movies may cost you too much on tickets. So, if possible avoid going to any new movie within the first two or three weeks. After weeks ticket prices normally drop significantly.

Apart from that, you may arrange a movie night along with your friends. You may try a drive-in-movie experience with them, or play old classic movies at your place. It is much cheaper you know! But, do not encourage porn at any cost!

Some more options as follows:

  • Buy season passes for amusement park
  • Attend amateur sports events
  • Opt for discounts on dining out
  • Host potlucks
  • Throw a game night party
  • Drink at happy hour
  • Spend spare time in nature

5. Don’t waste your meal plan

One of the important money-saving tips for college students is saving money from your meal plan. If you’re having a meal plan, the perfect choice is using your basic meal dollars to have meals at the in-residence dining halls. You might be getting a 25% discount on every purchase.

You can also get a discount when you use your flex dollars at participating locations on campus. However, the discounts are much smaller, usually between 5 and 12%.

6. Stay healthy

If you stay healthy, you have the chance to avoid serious health problems and avoid spending money on doctor’s fees and medicines. Medicine costs are too high these days. So, you should exercise regularly and maintain your personal hygiene during the cold and flu season. Apart from that, you may follow these tips to stay healthy:

  • Eat vegetables
  • Drink plenty of water
  • Brush your teeth
  • Drink green tea
  • Eat a balanced diet
  • Try to sleep 8 hours at night
  • Do yoga
  • Do cardio exercise
  • Listen to music
  • Stop smoking

7. Sell your textbooks

Buy used textbooks from Craigslist and from other places. When you’re finished with your textbook, you may sell it back or try to find a new student who needs it.

You may use websites such as – BookScouter.com, Hpb.com, Amazon.com, educreon.com

Few tips you may follow:

  • Always reveal the exact condition of the book
  • Be careful when you ship the books
  • If possible, donate a few books for charity
  • Be very clear about the return policy

8. Save money from gym membership

Instead of paying a subscription to a costly gym membership, you may join intramural sports teams. You may build a group and exercise at your place with low-cost instruments.

9. Save money while dating

If you’re dating someone, arrange dinner at your home. Instead of going to a theatre, you may borrow movies from the local library and watch it at home with your partner. Don’t buy expensive gifts, make DIY gifts at home and present your partner. It will give a personal touch to your gift and the bonding between you two will be memorable.

10. Save while food shopping

Don’t shop when you’re hungry. Instead, visit stores when you are full so that you can avoid buying snacks and other food.

  • Prepare a list and stick to it
  • Plan your meals for the week before shopping
  • Shop only once a week
  • Clean out your refrigerator and cupboards bi-weekly.
  • Return bottles and cans and get the deposit back.
  • Only buy what you need and can afford

Also, make sure you buy only those things that you really need. This way you can lower your credit card usage and reduce credit card debt every month.

11. Buy in bulk

Buying in bulk will be helpful for you as it will give you the most value out of each purchase. Make sure you buy family packs most of the time so that you can get good discounts. Keep your food into separate plastic bags and use the freezer to store them for later. Even if it’s “on sale,” don’t buy it. It’ll be a good buy if you really use it!

12. Be a good student

If you fail in a class, you’ll have to spend the same amount of money to take it again. It is nothing but a waste of money. Think, how depressed you’ll be, and what about your parents?

Work hard, read properly, get your grades, and save enough for the next class. This is one of the most unique money-saving tips for college students, and it works too.

13. Donate blood or other body fluids

Although certain FDA rules disallow paying cash for blood if you want you may get rewards being a blood donor. Some hospitals and agencies may give you gift cards or other incentives in return for your favor. You may sell your sperm, plasma, bone marrow, breast milk, placenta, and even your hair to get incentives.

14. Become a virtual tutor

You may provide coaching online through Skype and get money. Use sites like Elance, oDesk, or even Craigslist to provide your tuition services.

15. Avoid expensive restaurants and over tipping

By doing this you can save a lot of money on tips. Many college students like dining in expensive restaurants. Sometimes, they might also tip more than the bill. Don’t flatten your wallet just because you have the chance to impress your friends. Over tipping is nothing but showing off your money. Stop doing that or else you’ll have to repent later.

16. Use cash instead of credit cards

Wherever you go for shopping or any other place where you need to pay money, use cash instead of using credit cards. We normally carry a limited amount of cash while going out. So, we can limit our expenses by paying only the cash. This way you may lower your credit card bills and easily pay off your credit card debts soon. So, while considering the best money-saving tips for college students, you can’t ignore this tip at all.


  • Much more convenient than credit card
  • Do not carry balances after purchases
  • Easier to manage
  • Can not use cash to make online payments


  • Cash is Vulnerable than credit cards
  • It is difficult to arrange cash in an emergency
  • Many people overspend while using cash than using credit cards.

17. Reduce heating cost

When it gets cold in winter, put on several layers of clothing, and put your blanket on yourself. Do this if you are just sitting on your couch. Use a room heater as much less as possible. If you have a fireplace, burn woodpiles to heat the room.

18. Start a side hustle

It is the best of all money-saving tips for college students, ever. You may write articles for blogs, or websites as a guest author and earn money. There are several options to work part-time in a local food joint such as restaurants, pizza joints, or a cafeteria. You may make websites and sell them if you have web developing and designing knowledge. If you have skills in crafts, make unique things and sell them online. It is up to you, find your inner skills and use them to make money.

Few side hustle ideas as follows:

  • Start blogging
  • Rent your spare room on Airbnb
  • Sell products on eBay or Craigslist
  • You can tutor people over Skype
  • Babysit or become a nanny
  • Write an Ebook
  • Become a tutor online using Skype or Google Duo
  • Start a cooking business

19. Avoid Alcohol, drugs, and smoking

These habits can finish off your entire savings along with your health. Once these habits become into addiction, they will drain out every single dollar from your wallet. Apart from that, they will give you some deadly physical and mental health problems such as cancer, Cirrhosis of the liver, lung cancer, depression, anxiety, etc. So, do not spend money on those things and use that money to build your savings.

20. Do not gamble

Gambling is just like a deadly addiction, it can demolish your finances and you’ll be in knee-deep debt. So, it is better that you must avoid gambling at any cost.


These are merely tips that can be helpful for students. You may find numerous money-saving tips for college students if you look closely. So, try to save as much money as possible while being in college. You’ll be the happiest person on earth after you graduate!