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How to Save Money as a College Student

Published: August 10, 2015 | Updated: December 13, 2019

It can be really difficult to save money when you’re working, going to school, and trying to have a life. But these money saving tips for college students can make you more aware of how you spend and where you could save your money:

Make a Budget and Stick to It

The number one money-saving tip is to make a budget. Before you can cut down on expenses, you need to know what they are. You also need to have a clear picture of how much money you make. Compile a list of all you spend. Include items like rent, utilities, food, transportation, and medical expenses. Also, add that night out to the movies or dinner and that quick trip to Starbucks. Little amounts add up! Then, add all your sources of income. Do you work full time or part time? Do you receive child support or an annual gift you can depend on? The more accurate you make your budget, the better.

Once you have a realistic budget, take a look at spending you could trim. Here are six more tips. Can you think of any more?

More Money-Saving Tips for College Students

  • Prepare you own meals. Instead of grabbing breakfast and lunch out, make them both at home. Set a timer to have coffee brewing when you get up and eat breakfast before you leave for the day. Use leftovers from dinner or buy lunch ingredients and make one every day. If you’re not an early riser, prepare everything the night before. You’ll save time and money!
  • Use your local library. You can get books, movies and even video games at your local library. And they’re all free! They also may stock some of the textbooks you need for class. Libraries are great sources for discounted tickets to museums and art galleries. They even host free events throughout the year. Check with your local library and find out all the fun you might be having without spending any money at all.
  • Dine out with care and coupons. It’s okay to go out to dinner occasionally. Just do so with care. Take advantage of early diner specials, two-for-one deals, and discounted days. Use restaurant coupons and consider splitting entrees and appetizers. And instead of a pricey soda, drink water with your meal. It’s better for you and it’s free.
  • Seek out free entertainment. Live outdoor music happens often in the summer and it’s often free. Even in the colder months, communities and schools put on plays, concerts and lots of other events free-of-charge. Check the websites of area schools and community pages and look at their calendar of events. What’s happening in your area?
  • Use your student id. Your student id is more than just a ticket to your courses. It’s a great discounter. From restaurants and retailers to concerts and plays, your student identification can save you money. Gyms often give discounts on memberships and companies like Apple offer discounts on technology. Wherever you shop or go look for signs offering student discounts, and ALWAYS ask, whether there’s a sign or not.
  • Use coupons. Don’t shop without checking for coupons first. Many grocery stores still print out weekly flyers, but you can find deals online. Especially for big ticket items, don’t ever pay full price! Wait for a sale or find a coupon.


At Charter College, we know you have a lot on your mind, including your budget. Do you have any tricks you use to save money that we may have missed? Let us know.