college students buying text books
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While you might be spending a lot on tuition, you don’t have to go broke in the process.

Following these steps is an easy way for students to save money in college without giving up the benefits that attending university has to offer.

Avoid the shiny new textbooks

A crisp, new textbook comes with a steep sticker price. Instead of splurging on new books, scour used book sales and check online retailers for used books available at a fraction of the cost.

You also could borrow from a friend or try to check the books you need out of the library.

Ask about student discounts

Many restaurants, retailers and vendors offer discounts to anyone with a student ID. It can’t hurt to ask if any discounts are available before buying something.

Plus, taking advantage of discounts at places like museums or theaters can be a great way to lower your entertainment cost.

Limit the fast food visits

If you’re living on campus, chances are you’ve got a meal plan that allows you to eat at the dining hall. Because you’ve already paid for your meals, don’t let that money go to waste. Eating on campus instead of dining at restaurants can save you lots of money in the long run.

You also should stock up on snacks like granola bars, trail mix and cereal so that when you’re looking for a late-night snack, you won’t be tempted to order out.

If you are living off campus or have a limited meal plan, learning to cook can really pay off. Not only will it save money, but it is also a valuable life skill that can serve you well later.

Buy a coffee maker

If you’re a caffeine addict, a coffee maker is one thing you should buy. A daily visit to the coffee shop quickly adds up, which means an inexpensive coffee machine will pay for itself in no time.

Want to make the purchase go even further? Split the cost and share the coffee maker with a roommate or friend.

Cut the cable subscription

Cable TV is expensive, and as a student you should ask yourself how much time you’ll really spend watching TV. Chances are, the high cost of cable just isn’t worth it. Instead, opt for an online streaming subscription.

Sell your car

If you don’t absolutely need a car on campus, consider selling the one you have. In addition to a car payment, you have to pay for gas, insurance and maintenance fees which can add up. Instead, utilize public transportation (or bum a ride from a friend).

Choose credit cards wisely

Credit cards are a huge temptation for college students, but avoiding their lure is a good practice.

If you get a credit card, make sure to compare benefits and interest rates, and pay off the balance in full each month. If the balance accrues, interest can pile up.

The key to using a credit card is to treat it like cash and only charge what you can afford. If you aren’t sure you’ll be able to pay off your balance each month, skipping the card altogether is a smart way to save money in college.


Saving money in college requires creative thinking, but building up your bank account is an attainable goal. It is wise to take as many steps as you can to save money, and with discipline and desire, it’s possible to get an education without going broke.


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