ways to save money in college

Everyone says they want to save money but actually doing it, that’s a whole different story. There’s plenty of ways to make sure your bank account doesn’t get too much use when you’re at school, but it’s not necessarily easy.  Here are some of the best and simplest ways to save money in college.

1. Download the UConnection mobile app

Assuming you’re on a campus meal plan (while you likely will be for at least your first two years, depending on where you go to school), it’s important to take advantage of that free food! Well, it’s not really free, but as long as you’re paying for a meal plan, make sure you’re taking advantage of it. While some of my friends are a bit more liberal with how many times they go out to eat each week, I try not to spend money on off-campus food if I don’t have to. A great way to save money on food is to use the UConnection app. It gives you access to local deals and specials when you sign up with your .edu email. There’s even a referral program so you can earn gift cards when you get your friends to sign up. Download here.

2. Get a job/internship

The other side of saving money is having money. You can be as conservative as you want with your spending habits, but if you’re not making any money, you’re still losing money in the long run. I always tell people to wait at least one semester before applying for a job, whether it’s on campus or off. This way, you can get used to the workload that your college gives you and you won’t be overwhelmed. A lot of on-campus jobs start in the fall and keep the same students employed throughout the entire year. To counteract that, put your name out there! Express your interest in the position in the fall, that way employers will remember your name and face (if you talk to them in person) when you start applying for the jobs or internships in the spring.

For information on some great paid internship opportunities with AroundCampus, click here!

3. Save your grocery shopping for when your parents visit

This one doesn’t do a lot for people who are trying to find their independence at college, but it does for people who don’t want to eat at the dining hall for every meal but also want to avoid breaking the bank. If your parents are in town for a weekend or even just a day, odds are they’d love to take you grocery shopping.

4. What’s so bad about store brands anyway?

When you do you have to go grocery shopping on your own, it’s not a bad thing to buy store brand items. Although our parents almost always stayed away from them, opting instead for name brand items, that’s because they could afford to! Odds are most college students can too, but not without breaking the bank. We’re college students, we’re not that picky when it comes to food, and that extra money you’ll save will have you in that new Ferrari in no time.

5. Look out for free clothes

Specifically around orientation time and LDOC, there will be free clothes everywhere. School sporting events are also popular places for giveaways and raffles. Maybe your school isn’t that good at sports, that’s even better! If your school is like mine, they’ll be giving away free stuff all the time just to get people in the door, and you know it works too. Free clothes are the next best thing to free food for college students. Give a man a meal and he eats for a day, give a college student a free shirt and they’ll wear it five times a week.