Tips for Saving Money This Semester
September 26, 2023
As a college student, managing your finances efficiently can be a real challenge. Between tuition fees, textbooks, housing, and social life, expenses can quickly add up. However, with careful planning and some basic spending and saving strategies, you can navigate the semester without draining your bank account. In this blog, you’ll find practical ways to save money when you head back to campus, so you can make the most of this semester!
Create a Budget and Stick to It
Start by calculating your monthly income, which may come from sources like part-time jobs, allowances, or financial aid. Then, note your essential expenses like rent, groceries, transportation, and bills. Be sure to set aside a reasonable amount for recreational spending, which includes entertainment and social activities – it’s budgets that don’t allow for any fun that are the hardest to stick to! Once you have a final budget that you’re happy with and feel good about, do your best to stick with it to avoid overspending.
Save on Textbooks
Textbooks are a significant college expense, but there are some ways you can cut down costs!
- Check the Library: Many textbooks are available to you for free in your college library. While you might not be able to take them home for the entire semester, you can photocopy or photograph the required chapters.
- Buy Used or Rent: Look for used textbooks or consider renting them. Websites like Chegg, Amazon, and campus bookstores often offer these options at a fraction of the cost.
- Digital Versions: Some textbooks are available in digital formats, which can be more affordable than purchasing physical copies.
Eating out frequently can add up over time. Learn a handful of simple recipes that you enjoy and get into the habit of meal prepping at home. Not only does this save you money, but it also puts you in control of your nutrition. Plus, you can plan meals and snacks around your classes and avoid purchasing over-priced food options on campus.
Cut Down on Transportation Costs
Transportation expenses can add up, but there are ways to minimize them:
- Use Public Transport: If your campus is well-connected by public transportation, opt for that instead of driving or using ride-sharing services.
- Carpooling: If you live off-campus, consider carpooling with classmates who live nearby, or roommates, to split fuel costs.
Take advantage of your student status! Many businesses, restaurants, gyms, and entertainment venues offer student discounts. Always carry your student ID and ask if they offer any special deals for students. Many websites offer student discounts as well whether you’re shopping for clothing, furniture, or even music subscriptions! My UniDays partners with a ton of websites and brands to bring student discounts right to you – click here to see for yourself!
Minimize Impulse Spending
Before making non-essential purchases, give yourself some time to think. This can help prevent impulse buying and save you money on items you might not actually need. And remember, quality over quantity! Spending a little more for items that will last, rather than cheap items that must be frequently replaced, will pay off in the long run.
Limit Credit Card Use
Credit cards can be convenient, but they can also lead to overspending and accumulating debt. Avoid signing up for high-interest cards on campus and look to a local credit union for student-friendly options. Use them sparingly and only for necessary expenses. Lastly, always pay off your balance in full to avoid interest charges.
Part-Time Jobs or Freelancing
Taking up a part-time job or freelancing gig that fits your schedule is a great way to earn some extra money to cover your expenses while you’re away at school. Most colleges and universities have plenty of jobs available right on campus so you can find something close by that works around your academic schedule.
Utilize Free Campus Resources
Universities often offer a range of free resources for students, such as fitness facilities, counseling services, tutoring, professional development services, and workshops. Taking advantage of these free offerings rather than paying for them somewhere else is a great way to save money.
It takes discipline and smart decision-making to save money during the semester. By following these tips, you can focus more on your studies and growth rather than worrying about financial strain. Remember, every small decision adds up over time and can save you big time at the end of the day!
Sarah graduated with her BFA in Graphic Design from the State University of New York at Fredonia in 2018 before beginning her career at Family First. Sarah is a designer, content creator, and community outreach coordinator. She received her certification in financial counseling in 2020 and is an active volunteer within the Rochester community. She is also on the Board of Directors for the Penfield Business Chamber and currently holds the position of Director of Special Projects.