Money Saving Tricks and Advice for College Students

At college, there can be a lot of expenses that arise from living and schooling. For example, professors may want certain textbooks or software or there may be additional costs for lab courses. Schools will also charge you fees each semester for on campus amenities like gyms and recreational centers. All this money can really add up so it’s important to be cognizant of how to save money while retaining resources for success.

1.Do NOT just purchase every textbook or required reading
Before you purchase a book at any point do the following:

  • Ask students who have previously taken the course if the textbook was necessary (this can be subjective so I would recommend asking several sources)
  • Look into free alternatives to purchasing the book via reddit, websites, e-pdfs and more
  • See if the book is available at your school’s library or if you can receive it via an ILL (Inter-Library Loan)

2. Look for Student Discounts for items you would already have purchased anyway

  • Do NOT buy items just because you have a discount this can lead to overspending
  • Determine if the discount is reasonable (i.e. 10% or 20%) or if it would be better to wait for a sale
  • Look into what verification is required for the discount (do you need your ID card, for example, or school email?)
  • Make a list of student discounts available for stores that you regularly shop at
  • All technology usually has a student discount (make sure to ask for it!)

3.Do NOT leave essential shopping to the last minute

  • Convenience comes at a hefty price tag. Local shops or convenience stores will be open later and may be closer, but will have their goods cost more
  • You’ll have less time to look for a deal or verify whether the price is fair
  • It’s likely that you’ll not have prepared ahead of time by checking any coupons or running promotions
  • Look into generic equivalents for the same things you buy

4. Sell what you no longer have any use for

  • Sell your old textbooks (if you had to purchase them). Try to sell to underclassmen as they haven’t taken the course yet
  • Sell any clothes that you no longer care about. This way you can put money towards buying some new clothes that you’ll enjoy. Use apps to do this or local forums.
  • Sell your notes! If you have nice handwriting, people are usually willing to pay for notes for challenging courses. Put your notes in a google drive or one note to stay organized for this.

5. Try Tutoring or Residential Advising

  • The BEST way to save money on housing and food is to become an RA. Some positions also including an additional hourly stipend. Competition will be steep for positions because of the benefits- prepare accordingly and connect with your current RA for advice.
  • Tutoring is a great way to get some cash for daily expenses. You can charge based on your qualifications and experience so as you continue to tutor you can end up earning more and more money. Make sure to be upfront with costs and expectations including cancellation policies! Furthermore, either make sure that you are paid in advance or right after every session to avoid getting scammed.

Published by Magda Wojtara

Magda Wojtara is Junior at the LSA Honors College at the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor on a pre-med track with a major in Neuroscience. In her free time, she write articles, volunteers at a chronic pain outpatient facility with UM Medicine, does research, competes in HOSA, and, of course, enjoys photography and singing. In her spare time she manages her own travel and lifestyle blog: @journeythedestiantion on instagram and journeythedestination.weebly.com

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