Lindsey Lansky is a sophomore at the University of Pennsylvania where she studies economics.
She is from Austin, Texas and is a marketing consultant at BargainJill.com, a website that compiles coupons, deals, storewide sales from across the web (Check it out!!). She is an avid money-saver and the best bargain shopper that she knows; her goal is to spend as little money as possible on her Ivy League education.
Read on as our fabulous guest blogger, Lindsey, shows us how to save money in College with 10 unique and effective saving tips!
This may seem like a strange suggestion, but many schools’ student employment offices have off-campus listings, and many of these are looking for babysitters or nannies. These are often easy jobs where you can do your schoolwork, and all you need to do is find one that matches your schedule. If your student employment office doesn’t offer this, find out if your professors need any babysitting help.
Professors with children love to have students they know babysit their children. This is a perfect way to supplement your income (or lack thereof) without having to really change your schedule.
2. Save money on your food.
Seriously. Food can be one of the most expensive aspects of college. In my opinion, buy the smallest mealplan possible that you can make work (unless, of course, your school requires a set-mealplan). Make your own food as much as possible; there are many cookbooks available designed specifically for college kids that include inexpensive and fast recipes. Remember to keep eating healthy, however; trying to live frugally doesn’t mean that you should just eat Ramen all of the time. The last note on this topic (and the most important) BUY A COFFEEPOT! Places like Starbucks and Caribou mark up the price of coffee astronomically, so if you need your caffeine fix, make the coffee yourself.
3. Keep track of your budget.
Again, there are many free resources that can help you create a simple budget. Figure it out with your parents at the beginning of the year, and stick with it! (Parents, sometimes creating an incentive program like rewarding your children if they stick to their budget or spend less than their budget can be helpful!)
4. Remember that your time is money
if following number 1 or 2 means that you will flunk out of school, ignore everything I said.
5. Watch how much you “go out.”
Alcohol and drugs (and the munchies that come with abuse of them) can really create a blow to your budget.
6. Find free local events.
If you’re college is in a decent-sized town or city, then there will often be free festivals, art exhibits, and concerts to keep you occupied. Even if you go to school in the middle of nowhere, many performing arts groups offer concerts and shows for free. These can be great study breaks and chances for socializing without breaking bank.
7. Don’t be afraid to use coupons!
You don’t need to be an extreme couponer to save money with coupons. There are many, many blogs all over the web that compile coupons from stores, and using just a few of these a week can save you some money that you can use for other purposes.
8. Keep a budget (I need to say this again).
Having a notebook where you record all of your expenses will make your college financial life so much easier.
9. Never, ever, ever (!!!) buy your books at your school’s bookstore (unless you must).
Use Amazon or a similar site to shop around for your textbooks. This can save you hundreds of dollars per semester.
10. Sell your books.
I suggest opening an Amazon store with your old textbooks; this can make you back much of the money you spent on your textbooks.
I promise (as a college student who discovered these tricks and began using them) that these tricks and others will allow you to have more money for things you enjoy and not be “in the red” with your parents. :)
How do you save money in college? Leave a comment below!
Category: shopping tips