As a college student, I know the struggle of money stress. You begin to pay for bills, food, entertainment… you mentally prepare yourself for student loans post-college. Whether you are financially independent or simply aware these events are in the future, one way to ease your mind is to learn how to save a little cash! Here are my five tips for saving money as a college student:
1) Save on books by shopping for the best deal. It takes a little extra time and effort, so before your semester starts- grab a notebook or the notepad on your phone and price compare the text books you need. Also, ask yourself if you’ll need this textbook in the future or if it’s not important in your major. If it’s not, renting books through the bookstore or Chegg.com are great options to save money! If you plan to keep your book, look for used books. For the amount that you’ll save, it’s worth the less-than-perfect cover.
2) Ditch the plastic bottles and Starbucks and save $$. It may seem like a few dollars for a latte, or $1 for that bottle of water, but this adds up! Bring your water bottle and fill up at the water fountain. If you can’t ditch the Starbucks coffee, buy ground coffee at the store (for the price of 1-2 lattes) and make a pot of coffee that can be used all week. I like to pour my brewed coffee into large Mason Jars because this keeps the coffee fresh all week long. Heat up at school or drink iced!
3) Pack lunch and snacks. Some of us (*cough* fellow dietetics students) absolutely love packing a balanced lunch and snacks everyday, but this isn’t everyone’s favorite thing to do. If you’re looking to save though, this will help a ton! At very least, throw a granola bar, trail mix or a piece of fruit in your backpack for brain power during class.
4) Be familiar with cheap and nutritious snack options. Some inexpensive (and healthy!) snack options include bananas, apples, hardboiled eggs, yogurt, cottage cheese and popcorn. For a full list, check out Healthy Foods: 44 Cheap Foods Under $1.
5) Utilize your resources. Use the library to rent books, DVDs and magazines for free. Google local festivals in the area; they’re often free and very abundant in the fall! Check for local events on Fontbonne’s website for campus activities, and ask classmates from the Saint Louis area what they like to do for fun.