Money Saving Tips for College Students

Money Saving Tips for College Students

By Melissa Newton

Copyright 2015

Shakespir Edition License Notes:

This ebook is licensed for your personal use only. This ebook may not be re-sold or given away to other people. If you would like to share this book with another person, please purchase an additional copy for each recipient. If you’re reading this book and did not purchase it, or it was not purchased for your use only, then please return to your favorite ebook retailer and purchase your own copy. Thank you for respecting the license notation of this author.

Table of Contents


Chapter 1: The Facts on U.S. College Students

Chapter 2: Choose to Live a Savings Money Lifestyle

Chapter 3: 108 Ways to Save Money


College Choices

Loans & Free Money


Choose & Manage a Bank Account

Credit Card Use

Class Fees

School Supplies (Books)



Transportation & Travel

Entertainment & Outings

Other Ideas

Social Media

College Departments & Services

Resources for Money Smart Students

Chapter 4: Internet Blogs & Articles to Read

The Wrap Up

About the Author

A Selection of Books, Papers, and Blogs by Melissa Newton

Connect with Melissa Newton


Help Us Share the Message of Money Saving Tips for College Students!



It is a tremendous opportunity to be a college student today!

There are thousands of colleges and universities from which to attend. You have so many options in areas of study. You can even be an international college student and embrace the adventure of another culture. However, one reality hasn’t changed. The cost of college is a huge financial investment.

Money Saving Tips for College Students is your best resource to find ways to save money to your bottom line. Better yet, we’ve done the research for you! We have 108 ways to help save you money!

In this ebook, you’ll find tried and true tips, ideas, and resources to save you money without compromising your lifestyle. From budget basics, school loans to shopping savings on books and entertainment, you can save hundreds or more dollars a year by using the ideas highlighted in Money Saving Tips for College Students.


Chapter 1: The Facts on U.S. College Students

There has been a gradual increase in the number of students attending college in the U.S. As you know, obtaining a college degree is essentially a requirement for your generation. In order to have access to the opportunities and obtain the right academic qualifications to get your foot in the door, post high school education is your only option.

Let us look at some statistics about your college community.

How many are in the college student community in 2015/2016?

*20 million college students enrolled in college

*11.5 million women and 8.7 million men are enrolled in college

*1.13 million international students are enrolled in the U.S.

*17.3 million students are enrolled in undergrad programs

*12.6 million students attend college full-time

What is the cost of attending college in the U.S. annually?

The following statistics are based on data from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York’s Household Debt and Credit Report reflecting the 2013-2014 annual cost of undergrad tuition, fees, room, and board.

  • $15,640 to attend a public institution

  • $23,135 to attend a private for-profit institution

  • $40,614 to attend a private nonprofit institution

What is the outstanding student loan debt in the U.S.?

According to a report at the end of September 2015 by the U.S. Secretary of Education, the default rate on student loans lowered slightly to 11.8 percent. However, the statistics are still alarming for money smart consumers. Consider the following:

*$1.19 Trillion in outstanding loan debt

  • 40 million borrowers

*$29,000 average outstanding loan balance per graduate

The challenge presented to your generation of college students is to do everything you can to avoid the fate of your predecessors – extreme loan debt. One strategy to help keep more money in your bank account is to choose to live a savings money lifestyle in college and following graduation.

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Chapter 2: Choose to Live a Savings Money Lifestyle

Did you grow up in a home environment that encouraged the financial habits of saving? If not, now is your opportunity to incorporate a savings mindset into your daily money lifestyle. It’s a philosophy you can carry with you years after graduation.

You can easily become money smart by making thoughtful and strategic money choices. By empowering yourself with the knowledge of how to save and when to save, you’ll find more money at your fingertips. We will provide you a list of ideas to get you on your way to big savings.

Before we begin, let me share three money life principles that money smart consumers live by:

Principle #1: Pick your lifestyle and live within those boundaries

When you pick your lifestyle and choose to live within those boundaries, it is extremely empowering. Take the following considerations into account:

  • As a college student, now is the best time to take command of the “wants” and “needs” in your lifestyle.

  • It can be a fun game to see how much you can get for FREE.

  • It removes a lot of stress from your life when you opt to live a lifestyle of less spending and more saving.

  • Remember – when you choose your money lifestyle, you feel empowered because it was your choice.

Principle #2: Always seek the best value for your money

Doesn’t it make sense to find the best value for your money whenever you buy? Absolutely! Here are money smart approaches to incorporate into your lifestyle:

Always ASK about discounts

Always WATCH for a great deal

Always SIGN UP for reward benefits

Always CONSIDER the best months and dates for buying

Principle #3: Be smart on how you manage credit

You hear a lot of chatter about the negatives of using credit. However, if used properly, credit and borrowing can be a useful tool in managing a successful and engaged money lifestyle.

As a money smart college student, you can protect yourself against the hidden dangers of using credit by following these rules:

Rule #1: Educate yourself about credit card use.

Rule #2: Never buy on credit when you can’t afford to pay off the full balance when the bill is due.

Rule #3: Never carry balances.

Rule #4: Always pay on time. Use Online Bill Pay through your bank.

When you choose to live a savings money lifestyle, you need access to the ideas, resources, and tools to help you make good choices. You want to find the right balance between saving and enjoying your college experience. In the next chapter, we provide 108 ways for you to select from to maximize your savings money lifestyle. Let’s get started!

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Chapter 3: 108 Ways to Save Money

The day you settle in on campus is the day you start being responsible for your money lifestyle. Every money decision you make impacts your bottom line. And, the daily necessities of life can add up fast! Items like tuition, books, clothing, class and lab fees, food, gas, and entertainment are costs that chip away at your bank balance. There are a lot of sensible ways to save money on all your college expenses. In the pages to follow, you’ll find ways to really stretch your money.

We will look at 16 money lifestyle categories to identify ways to save you money. The last category offers you resources to further your own study. These categories include: Budget, College Choices, Loans & Free Money, Housing, Choose & Manage a Bank Account, Credit Card Use, Class Fees, School Supplies (Books), Shopping, Health, Transportation & Travel, Entertainment & Outings, Other Ideas, Social Media, College Departments & Services, and Resources for Money Smart Students.

I encourage you to discuss the ideas in this ebook. Compare strategies with family and friends. Share with others what you learn.


The Trends in Higher Education category on the CollegeBoard.org website provide undergraduate budgets data from the 2014/2015 period. The data indicates the following conclusion:

Tuition and fees constitute 39 percent of the total budget for in-state students living on campus at public four-year colleges and universities.”

Other expenses you should consider in your budget:

  • Room and board

  • Books and supplies

  • Transportation

  • Miscellaneous other expenses

To empower your college experience, you must create a budget. Create what I call a College Consumer Budget. It is the secret to enjoying college life at its fullest without compromising your money lifestyle.

1. Meet with your family and crunch the numbers

Control over your finances requires an analysis of the monies you have, what you need, and what may need to be borrowed.

2. Create your master College Consumer Budget

List all annual/monthly expenses and money resources. When you see the numbers, it allows you to be strategic in your spending. You can then create different buckets for your fixed (tuition, for example) and variable (food, for example) expenses.

3. Use a personal finance management tool

Download a free personal finance management app to your smartphone. Use the search phrase “free money management tool.” Start your research by reading a [+ March 2015 BusinessInsider article+], which highlights seven apps.

4. Live the “need” versus “want” lifestyle

Be tough on yourself. Decide what you really need instead of what you just want. It takes self-discipline, but you can do it!

5. Embrace the money lifestyle of a college student

Frugality and finding free opportunities is money smart! Once you’re established in a career, you are in a better financial position to make budget adjustments for spending.

6. Just say “no” to impulse buying

It’s easy to get caught up in the moment. Avoid the trap of impulse buying. Even little purchases add up over time.

7. Review bank and credit card statements monthly

Keep to budget by tracking your expenses and incoming deposits. Catch potential fraudulent activity early to meet certain timeframes. Missed deadlines notifying the bank can leave you liable for any loss.

8. Develop the discipline of good spending habits

Begin smart spending habits in college. You will appreciate the freedom of choices that money in your bank account offers.

College Choices

The college or university you attend will impact your future in many ways:

  • If you finance your education, what debt will follow you after graduation?

  • Impact your personal brand as a business professional.

  • Friends in school may become colleagues in your career life.

  • May influence where you decide to work and live.

The more information you can gather from research, talking to family and friends, advisors, and people you know who work in your career choice, the better decisions you can make regarding your education. Remember – knowledge is power!

9. Know your direction

Meet with your advisor to strategically plan your class schedule. Certain classes may only be offered during specific semesters. In this way, you can avoid taking “filler” classes that have no direct value to your degree. You can save thousands of dollars on your College Consumer Budget.

10. Community college to begin school

If your budget is really tight or you’re still exploring ideas for your major, consider taking a few course requirements at the local community college. You can save on tuition and living expenses. It may result in more financial resources for the four-year institution of your choice.

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Loans & Free Money

When it comes to taking out a loan(s) to pay for school, you must be on the top of your game! The fine print details both in federal and private loans can be complex. Protect your present and future financial position by understanding everything you can about these lending products.


Ask questions

Plan your strategy

As for free money, there is a lot of cash to be had. You just have to find it.

11. Do your homework on loans and financial aid

Don’t underestimate the complexity of the loan and financial aid part of your college research. Read reputable blogs and articles available on lender, government, and bank websites.

12. Visit the U.S. News & World Report website

The Education category at the U.S. News & World Report magazine website offers reports, blogs, and articles on all topics related to college.

13. Research and apply for scholarships

You’ve heard it before, but take the time to find every scholarship opportunity offered by the school and other organizations. Don’t leave unclaimed money on the table.

14. Submit for financial aid

Never assume you don’t qualify for financial aid from the U.S. government. Fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) online. Watch some [+ videos+] on this topic.

15. Know the difference between a federal and private loan

There are different rules for federal loans versus private loans. Read up on the differences at Federal Student Aid and the [+ Consumer Financial Protection Bureau+].

16. Opt for federal loans first before considering a private loan from a bank

Why? Private loans don’t offer the flexible repayment terms and borrower protections available in federal student loans. Read #15 for other fine points.

17. Pay off interest on your loan while in school

The interest begins accruing on the day funds are disbursed. If possible, immediately start paying just the interest on your loan(s) every month. You can potentially save yourself hundreds of dollars and graduate with just a little bit less student loan debt.


Your housing arrangements will impact your overall college experience.

Do you want a more integrated daily lifestyle with friends, activities, and the convenience of living on campus? Are you further along in your college experience and find apartment living more appealing? Are you a U.S. college student managing a tight budget? Do you need to live at home and attend a local community college for a time?

There are many checkpoints to consider when deciding what your housing arrangement will be for school. In most cases, it comes down to the bottom line – how much money is at your disposal and the college experience you want to enjoy.

18. Save money by living at home for a time

The “traditional” college experience is not available for everyone. The budget will always win in the end. Consider attending school locally and living at home for a time. This option will save you money.

19. What comes with your dorm room?

Some dorms will include a microwave, refrigerator or an ironing board in the laundry facilities. Check the list. Skip buying what you won’t need.

20. Know what is allowed in the dorm room

Don’t waste money on items you can’t have in your dorm room. Candles, a hot plate for cooking, toaster oven and even certain electronics may not be allowed. Check the list!

21. Avoid duplicate buying

Good communication can save you money. Connect with your roommate(s) to verify who is buying what. Share and save money!

22. Find used and recycled goods

Why buy new when you can take advantage of gently-used products and recycled goods? Need furniture items? Ask family members and friends for any hand-me-downs.

23. Become a Resident Advisor (RA)

Save on room and board costs. Opt to be a Resident Advisor. Per Wikipedia, a RA “is a trained peer leader who supervises those living in a residence hall or group housing facility.”

24. If you plan to rent, know your costs

Do your homework. You will need first and last month’s rent (security deposit) upfront. Compare rental space pricing. Are utilities included? How far is the apartment from campus? Do you plan to have a car or use public transportation?

25. What comes with the apartment?

Verify what amenities come with the apartment. Is there a laundry facility onsite? Does the
apartment have a microwave?

26. Take care of your apartment

Don’t trash your apartment or you will forfeit the security deposit.

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Choose & Manage a Bank Account

Now that you are a college student, you have to take command of your personal finances. One item on that checklist is choosing and managing a checking account. In this way, you have the means to receive money, pay bills, and make purchases easily and safely.

For international students, a U.S. bank checking account provides a convenient way to receive wire transfers, save on currency, and daily purchases using a debit card.

You want to maximize the benefits a bank can offer to college students. To do so, you need to understand the finer points of managing your account.

27. Find a bank to meet your lifestyle

Choose a bank that will meet your money lifestyle. Is there an in-network ATM on campus? Can you access Online Banking and use Online Bill Pay?

28. Open a student checking account

Some banks offer a student checking account product or certain benefits to students.

29. Review the Fee Schedule and Deposit Account Agreement

You will receive the above documents when you open a checking account. These are the bank’s playbook on fees and rules on your account.

30. Set up Online Banking

You can handle all your personal finances and banking activities in the digital world 24/7.

31. Set up Online Bill Pay

Manage your bills and always pay on time. Online Bill Pay can help you avoid fees due to late payments or a payment getting lost in the mail.

32. Use a debit card wisely

Institute best practices for debit card use. Never spend more than your account balance to avoid overdraft fees. Keep your PIN private. Understand the rules of Zero Liability Protection.

33. Use text alerts

Online Banking allows you to set up text alerts on a wide range of options. Never worry about being charged an overdraft fee when you set balance thresholds!

34. Only use in-network ATMs

An in-network ATM is an ATM owned by your bank. Avoid additional fees and surcharges by using your bank’s ATMs. See the bank’s website for a list of its ATMs.

Credit Card Use

When consumers discuss credit card use, the first issues that come to mind are debt and high interest rates. However, as a college student, these are problems you can avoid. Plus, you can benefit in the long-run by establishing your credit history by the time you graduate.

Some college students may be cautious about using a credit card. But, there are money smart strategies you can use to avoid debt and take advantage of a credit card’s reward program.

We will highlight these tactics and tips in the next few pages. However, these tips and tactics will only work IF you are a disciplined, educated credit card user.

35. Choose the best card you can

Perform your due diligence. Select the best credit card product you can find. No annual fee. Maximum rewards. The websites BankRate.com and CreditCard.com are resources to start your research.

36. Pick your rewards program

There are many types of card reward programs to pick: cash, hotel, travel, gasoline, airline, and others. Pick the program that fits your money lifestyle.

37. Read the credit card user agreement

Read every word in the credit card user agreement. Protect yourself from fees. Know to the letter the rules of the product. If you don’t understand the terms, research online or call your creditor and ask.

38. Use a credit card like a checkbook

Purchase groceries, gasoline, and other daily items on your credit card. You don’t have to carry cash. It’s easy to track purchases. Rewards add up. You receive consumer protections.

39. Keep the credit line low

Even if the bank is willing to offer you a higher credit limit, keep it low. An example of a low credit line is $500.

40. Pay off the balance when it’s due

The danger of credit card use is making purchases you can’t afford to pay off immediately. NEVER carry a balance. Pay the balance in full when it’s due. You can establish credit history without carrying debt.

41. Impulse buying adds up

When you make purchases outside your budget, these are impulse buys. Even the smallest purchases add up. Stick to your budget!

42. Never spend beyond your means

The ONLY way to avoid credit card debt – don’t spend money you don’t have in your checking account.

43. Credit card for emergencies only

Do you want to avoid credit card use in college all together? Restrict the use of credit to emergency use only.

44. Get educated about credit

Using a credit card in college is up to you. If you choose to use a credit card, you MUST get educated about the best practices of using credit. It is knowledge that will empower you to manage credit in a smart way!

Visit the following websites to begin building your knowledge about credit cards:



Federal Trade Commission

Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation

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Class Fees

45. Ask about class fees

Avoid surprises to your budget. Find out about any fees associated with classes you will be taking. Depending on your field of study, special equipment may be used.

The secret to avoiding dings to your budget is research, ask, and never make assumptions that a cost isn’t involved.

School Supplies (Books)

Establishing your inventory of school supplies is another line item on your College Consumer Budget. Books will be another major expense.

  • An August 2015 Time magazine article reported, “Textbook prices have gone up 1,041% from January 1977 through June 2015.” In addition, “A student going to a public college is projected to need $1,225 in textbooks this year.”

  • The National Association of College Stores stated, however, that students are spending less on books because of rental, digital, used, and print-on-demand options.

Let’s consider a variety of strategies to lower the cost of what you’ll spend on books. We have provided a list of over 20 money tips below.

46. Find the best retail or borrowing options

Do your homework. Once you have the course list for books and other materials, identify the best retail or borrowing options.

47. Ask a student who took the class

Can you connect with students who have already taken the course? Find out what books and class materials you really need.

48. Ask the professor what you really need

Better yet, contact the professor to see if he/she will verify the books and materials you will really use on the syllabus.

49. Shop early to avoid last minute shoppers

Don’t get caught up in the last minute buying frenzy. You’ll have more options to choose from, particularly if you want to rent or buy used books/course materials.

50. Pay attention to the refund policy

Know the retailer’s refund policy. Take special notice of deadlines. If you drop a class or the book isn’t used, you want to return the book within the designated time frame.

51. Follow the return rules for unused materials

If you want to return unused class materials for a full credit, follow these rules:

Do not unwrap class materials

Do not make any marks in the book(s)

52. Keep all receipts

File your original receipts. If anything needs to be returned, retailers typically require proof-of-purchase before offering credit.

53. Does the retail store do price-match?

If using a retail store, check to see if they offer a price-match against other online retailers.

54. Options other than a new print book

If using the college store, do they rent, buy used, or offer ebook versions of a book or other course materials? You may save one-third to half the price of purchasing new.

55. Use social media to watch for deals

If using the college store, become a follower or fan of the store’s social media (Facebook, Twitter, etc.). Some stores offer special savings or notices to followers and fans.

56. Does the college store do price-match?

Does the college store offer free shipping, guaranteed buy-back, or special pricing (sales) on class materials the day before classes begin?

57. Verify book title, edition, and ISBN# (Important!)

If you opt for a retailer rather than the college store, verify the title and edition of the book, and obtain the ISBN number. (An ISBN is a unique identification number assigned to each book). You don’t want to buy the wrong book!

58. Buy used, spend less

Buy used. But, verify that any required online access codes that come with the book are not forfeited.

59. Buy used and recycle by re-selling

If you buy used, re-sell your used books. Read the buy-back fine print carefully.

60. Sell hard-to-find books on the school’s Intranet

Do you have a hard-to-find book? Re-sell it to another student. Post a notice on your school’s Intranet.

61. Rent a book instead of buying

Consider renting your books. Some rentals can save you 80 percent of the book price.

62. Leverage the library

Check out books you only need for a short time. Is an ebook version available for download?

63. Is a PDF version available online?

Do an Internet search for the book. Is a current PDF version available to download and maintain on your tablet or computer? Verify if permissions allow printing.

64. Purchase a tablet and use ebooks

Ebooks are convenient and eco-friendly. Review the terms of use. Some ebooks don’t allow printing.

65. Book share with friends

For books and magazines not related to your school work, borrow them! Take advantage of book sharing with friends and family.

66. For U.S. students, find out about the American Opportunity Tax Credit

Keep your book receipts! The American Opportunity Tax Credit was extended through December 2017 by the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012.

In addition to books, other out-of-pocket costs like tuition and fees may be paid. Visit the Internal Revenue Service website for details.

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There are a lot of places your money can be spent under the general topic of shopping. The more ways you can find to cut corners, the more you’ll save to your bottom line. We’re going to break out our shopping tips into three main sections:

Meals, Snacks, Beverages

Store Shopping


For all your shopping experiences, there are basic money smart approaches to keep in mind.

  • Be a compare price shopper!

  • Research back to school specials and discounts by major retailers just before classes start.

  • Take advantage of incentives and rewards program.

  • Stick to your College Consumer Budget by shopping with a list.

Meals, Snacks, Beverages

67. Use your meal plan

If you’re already paying for a meal plan, use it before opting for fast food or restaurants.

68. Know the details of your meal plan

Maximize what your meal plan offers. Can you help yourself to fruit or other items to serve as snacks for long days or tidbit back in your dorm room?

69. Stock up on extras for emergencies

Keep non-perishable extras in your dorm room in case your meal plan is maxed or the cafeteria is closed. Oatmeal, trail mix, crackers, granola bars, cereal, bread, peanut butter, and microwavable options work great.

70. Drink water and skip the soda and juice

Purchase a refillable water bottle. Save hundreds of dollars and promote better health – drink water.

71. A cup of coffee at a discount

If you periodically meet friends for coffee, do what I do. Substitute the fancy coffees for a cup of plain coffee. Add the extras like crème, flavoring, or sugar. The result is a tasty beverage without the extra cost.

72. Bring your own tea bags

Buy your favorite teas at the store and keep a stash in the dorm. Keep a bag or two in your purse or backpack for when you want a cup of tea on the go.

73. Cook your own meals

If you live off campus in an apartment or share a common kitchen in the dorm, save a bundle by
cooking your own meals. It’s cheaper than eating out and can be healthier depending on your

74. Try Crock-Pot cooking

If you live off campus in an apartment, embrace Crock-Pot cooking. It’s cost-effective. It’s healthy. It’s a source for leftovers. Most importantly, dinner is ready when you walk in the door!

Real World/Online Store Shopping

75. Buy in bulk when you grocery shop

Save time and money. Buy multiples of items you always use when they are on sale. It helps avoid frequent repeat trips to the grocery store.

76. Buy in bulk when you shop online

Buy multiples of the product(s) you use. Purchases over a certain dollar amount often provide free delivery.

77. Consider generic/house brand over brand names

The quality of many generic/house brands will be satisfactory and cost less. Test out your favorite brands and if the difference is negligible, choose generic.

78. Discount stores for house, health, and school

Determine what you can buy at discount stores. Retailers like The Dollar Tree can save you a bundle. Check out some of the products you can buy for $1.00.

Household Items

Health & Beauty

School Supplies


79. Discount stores for clothing

Choose discount over retail for fashion and accessories. Develop the habit of shopping at discount malls and chains in college. You will save thousands of dollars in the years to come!

80. Be fashionable without breaking the bank

Mix and match your fashion. Make it a game to find the best deals. Never pay full price. Shop post season.

81. Avoid fashion that requires dry cleaning

Dry cleaning can add up to hundreds or more over time. Here are two cost examples. A man’s golf shirt may cost $5.00. A woman’s sweater may cost $6.00.

82. Always check the store’s website for deals

Register your email and receive a one-time discount. Avoid being inundated by messages in your personal inbox. Create an email address just for retail promotions, coupons, and e-newsletters.


83. Holiday and gift-giving

Plan ahead so holiday and other gift-giving is a pleasure, not a burden.

  • Plan gift-giving well in advance. This strategy allows you to buy on budget, avoid the stress of last minute shopping, and opt for the right gift, not just a gift.

  • For holiday and gift-giving within your family, decide budget limits on spending.

  • Receive coupons, sales notices, and member sales. Register online or connect through social media with your favorite stores.

  • Set your budget, make your list, and shop throughout the year.

  • According to Shannon Medisky, the author of The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Stretching Your Dollar, certain months of the year offer better deals on products and consumer goods. Consider the following examples:

February: Electronics

March: Winter coats

July: Computers

August: School supplies

December: New cars


Your schedule as a college student can be fast-paced and demanding. To maintain as much balance as possible towards a healthy lifestyle and savings to your pocketbook, try some of the following ideas.

84. Make time to exercise and breathe

Walk, run, or go to the gym. Take 10 minutes a day to close your eyes, breathe deeply, and calm the mind. Identify what works for you to dial down the stress.

85. Make healthful choices whenever possible

It’s to your advantage to make healthy food choices. Why? You want to avoid the Freshman 15 (weight gain your first semester). Also, better food choices will empower your body’s natural defense mechanisms to fight illness.

86. Know the details of your health insurance

You can remain on your parent’s insurance plan until age 26. Know the facts in the fine print of the policy so you’re prepared for the “what if” scenarios:

Order medication

Visit to the doctor

Visit to the emergency room

87. Choose generic medication when possible

There can be a significant cost difference between brand and generic medication. Verify with your doctor if you are able to opt for generic medication.

88. What if you’re not eligible under your parent’s insurance?

You must have insurance. Students are NOT exempt from penalty under the Affordable Care Act if you don’t have coverage. Research your options.

  • Review the Healthcare.gov website.

  • Contact your school to verify coverage provided by your school’s student health plan. The plan must qualify for you to avoid penalty under the healthcare law.

  • Before committing to the school’s plan, compare it to the Marketplace. Verify if another option offers lower monthly premiums and other savings based on your income.

89. Keep a First Aid Kit in your dorm room

You don’t have time to be sick or side tracked with a minor injury. Be prepared. Keep a First Aid Kit in your dorm room for the times you don’t need to visit the college healthcare center.

  • Include items for life’s inconvenient illnesses like upset stomach, headache, fever, or cold.

  • Check out a complete First Aid Kit checklist at the [+ CollegeParents.org+] website.

90. Keep an emergency kit should a disaster strike

A natural or other disaster strikes when we least expect it. Enjoy peace of mind by being prepared.

  • Establish a communication plan with your family. How will you communicate? What if cell phone service doesn’t work?

  • Discuss a communication and action plan with your friends and roommate(s).

  • Visit the Ready.gov and Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) websites.

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Transportation & Travel

Every student is going to have different transportation needs.

  • If your school is out-of-state, your major costs will be airfare and cab fare.

  • If you opt for public transportation, costs will be bus or train fare. If you ride with a friend who has a car, your costs will be to help cover gas expense.

  • If you choose to use a car, costs include insurance, registration, maintenance, gasoline, and parking fees.

No matter what form of transport you use, some cost is involved.

91. The benefits of no car on campus

If you don’t have wheels, you can quickly see the value of living on campus. It is also another reason to choose a bank that has an in-network ATM onsite at the campus.

You can save money by using old-fashioned modes of transportation. These offer great forms of exercise that will enhance your overall health:

  • Bike around campus and to short distance destinations.

  • Walk to and from short distance destinations.

92. Ideas to save money if you use a car on campus

  • Contact your auto insurance provider to see if they offer student discounts on insurance. Full-time students may benefit from lower rates.

  • If you’re the mode of transportation for friends, have them help cut the costs. Ask them to chip in gas money. It’s fair and everybody wins.

  • Use an app to track gas pricing at local stations to get the best deal on gas.

*Stick to the maintenance program for your car. Keep your tires inflated to the correct pressure. You will save money on gas.

93. Websites to check out on car care

Browse a selection of websites for articles and tips on car care that add up to savings to your bottom line.

Edmunds.com offers a range of articles in their Car Tips & Advice category.

CarCare.org has a category called Car Care Resources. It contains a variety of articles so “drivers can multiply fuel savings and save more money at the pump.”

[+ Consumer Reports.org+] has an article from April 2015 that highlights 10 do-it-yourself car care tips.

94. Reminders about saving on flights and travel

  • If you’re attending an out-of-state school, learn the tricks of travel by reading travel blogger posts and articles. Use the search phrase “travel tips for college students” or “cheap flight tricks and tips.”

  • Add travel websites to your newsfeed on your smartphone. Type “travel” into the search and pick the websites that apply. My Pulse newsfeed includes the website Budget Travel.

  • Use tools to help you find the best deals. An example is Google Flights as discussed in the March 2015 Huffington Post article [+ 6 Google Flights Tricks That Are Better Than Any Travel Agent+].

Check for student discounts offered by providers such as the following:

[+ Greyhound Bus+]. Do the math to see if purchasing a $20 Student Advantage Discount Card works for you. It offers 20 percent on destination travel, 40 percent package shipping, and discounts on select entertainment, clothing, and books.

Amtrak. Save 10 percent with a Student Advantage Card.

Transit Authorities in your city location. Find it by using the search phrase “transit authority .” Public transportation will be cheaper than taking a cab.

Entertainment & Outings

It’s important to strike a balance between the academic and social activities of your school experience. A strong academic performance can help you transition to a successful career. But, the social aspect of college is just as important.

  • Spending time with friends can dial down the stress that is a part of pursuing academic excellence.

  • Allows you to begin developing effective people and leadership skills. These abilities will play an important role in your professional success.

  • Let’s be honest. The social aspect of college just makes school a lot more fun!

95. Find the freebies on campus

Find out what free amenities come with tuition and living on campus. Mix up your activities with both fun and learning. Some activities include:

Movie rentals from the library

Dorm dinners

Sports events

Guest lecturer events

Gym membership

Local bands, comedians, and other shows on campus

College clubs

  • Notice if free food will be served at campus events. Free is always a great side benefit at events.

96. Use local newspapers, websites, and social media

Community activities are a super way to spend time with friends and get to know the college town.

  • Review the city or town website and local newspaper online calendars for free things to do.

  • Follow favorite local businesses on Facebook or other social media for free or low-cost events, coupons, and deals.

  • Watch for free days at museums. As an example, [+ museums in Chicago+] offer select free days at many of its museums in the city.

97. Get out in nature by finding low-cost or free options

Step off the fast track and get back to basics in nature. Recharge your energy reserves.

  • Search for free parks near school for day walking, hiking, canoeing, boating, fishing and the like.

  • Check for free entrance days at national parks by visiting U.S. National Parks.

  • How about free campsites in the U.S.?

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Other Ideas

98. Choose other means to watch T.V. and movies

If living off campus, say “no” to cable. Watch television entertainment and movies online in lieu of costly cable programming. What can you watch for free in the community room when living on campus?

99. Volunteer with friends

There are a lot of benefits to volunteering.

  • The satisfaction of helping others.

  • Time spent with friends creating positive experiential memories.

  • Valuable work experience on your resume.

  • Expansion of your personal and professional network.

100. Redbox freebies

Do you live off campus and have a Redbox near your place? Sign up for text and email alerts for free movies. The article [+ 17 Free Redbox Codes and 7 Ways to Get More+] at About.com provides some tips and ideas.

101. Use your student I.D. for savings

Always verify if your student I.D. offers a free or discounted benefit. Find out how much money you can save on the following:


Eating at a restaurant

Retail shopping, coffee shops

Cell phone plans

Car insurance

Social Media

Just a reminder to leverage your social media – Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, LinkedIn, and more! Save money now by staying in the know on news, deals, coupons, and services you can use. Save time later by keeping your profiles and images current and conservative.

102. College posting news

See if your school posts information on its social media of choice. Find out about free events, deadlines like scholarship applications, and upcoming events to plan your budget.

103. Keep LinkedIn profile updated

If you don’t have a LinkedIn profile, get one. Now is the time to begin building your professional image (also known as “brand”) to land a job when you graduate.

104. Maintain a digital calendar

Your schedule is (or will be) too demanding not to take advantage of what a digital calendar offers. If you aren’t using one, start today.

One option is Google Calendar. In addition to its features, your schedule follows you when you sync your calendar between devices. It can be used on both Apple and Android devices.

College Departments & Services

The resources available from your school are tremendous. Take advantage of the vast experience, information, and guidance the staff can provide to you.

105. Student Aid/Financial Aid Department

Unless your education will be cash paid, some of it will likely be financed. Financing your education – loans, grants, stipends, and the like – can be complex and time-consuming to manage.

Don’t walk down this path alone. Create your team of partners to optimally manage the financial side of your education. The Student Aid/Financial Aid Department will be one of the members of your team.

106. International Student Services Office

As an international student, take the worry out of navigating college life. The staff at your school’s International Student Services Office is ready to help.

The office will provide advising services and support programs so you can concentrate your energies on coursework, not other distractions. Find out what other resources are available to you including:

Student orientation

Programming overview

Living and working in the U.S.

Consultation on daily life

Other questions that arise, just ask

107. Career Center/Career Development

Be prepared to start your career the day you graduate from school! The Career Center at school is a powerful partner in your transition from student to working professional.

  • Find job opportunities on campus

  • Research job opportunities in your industry

  • Connect with recruiters at on-campus job fairs

  • Identify internship opportunities at companies

  • Navigate international students work in the U.S.

  • International students identify employers

  • Create/critique resume and cover letter

  • Practice mock interview sessions

  • The value and strategies in networking

  • Job shadow opportunities in companies

Resources for Money Smart Students

108. Resources for money tips and I.D. protection

There are valuable website resources to broaden your knowledge on just about any money issue including identity theft. Here are some to get you started:

Federal Trade Commission

Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation

FDIC Consumer News (quarterly e-newsletter)

Consumer Financial Protection Bureau

Practical Money Skills for Life


MoneyBasicsU.com magazine

Yahoo Finance

[+ About.com+]

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Chapter 4: Internet Blogs & Articles to Read


[+ 54 Ways to Save Money+], America Saves.org

[+ Top Ways to Save Money on Apartment Living+], About.com

[+ 10 Ways to Save Money on Groceries Without Coupons+], Kiplinger.com

[+ 8 Unconventional Tips for Saving Money in College+], Huffington Post.com

[+ Tax Benefits for Education: Information Center+], Internal Revenue Service


[+ How to Avoid Student Debt+], Student Debt Relief.us

[+ How to Attend College Without Student Loans+], U.S. News & World Report

[+ 10 Ways Students Can Build Good Credit+], CreditCards.com

Identity Safety

[+ Identity Theft+], U.S. Department of Justice

Identity Theft, Federal Trade Commission

Computer Security, Federal Trade Commission

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The Wrap Up

Congratulations! The savings choices you begin making today will leave more money in your bank account. It’s an important step in positioning your personal finances. Use strategic choices now to enjoy financial wealth today and into the future.

Money Saving Tips for College Students is just the beginning. Take the next step and start digging deep into other topics in personal finance and investing. The knowledge will give you the tools to build money strategies to create the money lifestyle of your dreams.

Being money smart can also impact your career by positioning yourself as a financial leader. You will stand out among your competitors as a chief thought leader in your industry.

To wrap up, I want to thank you for reading Money Saving Tips for College Students. I hope you found its contents valuable.

Please share the link to this ebook with your family, friends, teachers, bloggers, and in your social media. It’s free to be a helpful resource to the millions of college students everywhere! Thank you for helping us spread the message of Money Saving Tips for College Students!

One final note – as a bonus for reading Money Saving Tips for College Students, visit MoneyBasicsU.com magazine and download my ebook 7 Simple Steps to a New Money You! for FREE!

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About the Author

Melissa Newton is President and Editor-in-Chief of Millcreek Media Group and Managing Editor of MoneyBasicsU.com, an online personal finance magazine. Coming from a career in banking, she is a financial literacy advocate and leading personal finance researcher and author. Melissa is a prolific writer authoring white papers, articles, and books on money matters. She is a partner with the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago for Money Smart Week and member of the Illinois JumpStart Coalition. Her most recent book is MMG Guide to Banking Basics for International College Students.


A Selection of Books, Papers, and Blogs by Melissa Newton

MMG Guide to Banking Basics for International Students, ebook

[+ 5 Banking Tips for International Students+], LinkedIn post

[+ How College Students Can Be Smart About Money+], Blog post

5 Reminders for Money Smart Living, ebook

Money Smart Kids for the 21st Century, White Paper

Look Smart, Be Smart: How to Create a New Image for a New Job, ebook

Princess or Pauper: Are Women Securing Their Financial Future?, White paper


Connect with Melissa Newton

Shakespir author profile: https://www.Shakespir.com/profile/view/MelissaNewton

Interview at Shakespir: https://www.Shakespir.com/interview/MelissaNewton

Blog at MoneyBasicsU.com magazine: http://moneybasicsu.com/

Friend us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/moneybasicsu

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/melissanewtonpublisher



[+ Saving on a Tight Budget+], America Saves.org

27 Money-Saving Tips Every College Student Needs To Know, BuzzFeed.com

[+ 63 Quick Tips to Save Money in College+], TheSimpleDollar.com

[+ 6 Must-Follow Money Tips For College Students+], U.S. News & World Report

[+ Money Saving Tips for College Students+], Franklin County Treasurer’s Office

[+ College Students can Save Money on Course Materials with These+
Top10 Tips], National Association of College Stores

4 Tips to Save Big on College Textbooks, Time.com/Money

[+ College Textbooks Cost 1041% More Than in 1977 +], Time.com/Money

118 Ways To Save Money In College, College Scholarships.org

[+ College Student Guide to Finances and Budgeting+], StudentDebtRelief.us

[+ Facts about Generic Drugs+], U.S. Food & Drug Administration

[+ Money-saving tips for college students+], TheChicagoTribune

[+ Heading to College? Pack This Financial Survival Kit+], NBCNews.com

Shannon Medisky, The Complete Guide to Personal Finance for Teenagers and College Students (New York: Penguin Group, 2009).

Debby Fowles, The Everything Personal Finance in Your 20s & 30s Book (Avon: Adams Media, 2008).

Shannon M. Medisky, Complete Idiot’s Guide to Stretching Your Dollar (New York: Penguin Group, 2009).


Help Us Share the Message of Money Saving Tips for College Students!

It’s amazing to consider that you are part of a community of 20 million students attending a college or university in the U.S. Over 1.13 million of you are international students!

We published Money Savings Tips for Colleges Students for FREE because student loan debt in America as of this writing is over $1.2 Trillion! We want to provide you a resource to help you save money now to give you a head start on your money life after graduation.

Please share the message of Money Saving Tips for College Students with your family, friends, teachers, money bloggers, and in your social media.

Everyone can download their own copy of Money Saving Tips for College Students in a variety of formats for FREE! Visit [+ MoneyBasicsU.com magazine+] for details!

Money Saving Tips for College Students

As a money smart college student, you know making good financial decisions now prepares you to enjoy financial wealth today and into the future. Money Saving Tips for College Students gives you 108 ideas and resources on how to save money without compromising your lifestyle. We cover money saving tips in 16 lifestyle categories. See how easy it is to apply ideas for your budget, housing, student loans, credit card use, school supplies, entertainment, and much more. In addition to sharing freebie options on campus, you will discover the three money life principles money smart consumers live by. With your money saving knowledge, you will feel empowered to achieve your money lifestyle goals as a student.

  • Author: Melissa Newton
  • Published: 2015-10-13 20:40:08
  • Words: 7964
Money Saving Tips for College Students Money Saving Tips for College Students