You’re finally free! Your parents have dropped you off at college, and for the first time in your life, you feel like you’re free to do whatever you want. That is the euphoric feeling which lasts all of 10 seconds before you realize that you’re poor and unable to afford to do much at all. While no longer be restricted by parental rules, you are limited by how much money you have in your wallet. That is the reality faced by the vast majority of college students who arrive on campus with enough money to live on, but not enough to do much else. Fear not because there are ways you can save money while still enjoying everything that campus life has to offer.
Tip 1: Don’t spend a fortune on textbooks
What one of the most significant upfront costs college students have to face is the price of textbooks. Textbooks can cost over $100, and you are often required to purchase multiple textbooks for a single subject. That means some students are forced to spend over $500 on books alone before the semester has even begun. Fortunately, there are alternatives to buying your textbooks from the campus bookshop.
Tip 1A: Use Amazon Coupon Codes For Your TextBooks!
Before you pay full price for your textbooks (which you should never do), check out Amazon’s coupon section. It has a dedicated textbooks section where you can find out if there’s any students looking to sell their textbooks for a significant discount. On top of that, if you use a promo code and you’ll save even more.
More TextBook Savings Strategies:
The first thing you should do is to check if your campus has a second-hand bookshop or co-op on campus. These often have a ton of textbooks which students have either donated or traded in, and there is a high chance you will find some of the books you need, especially if you are doing any of your universities more popular classes. If there is no second-hand bookstore on campus, you can also try surrounding thrift shops.
The internet is another great place to look for textbooks. Often the publisher will sell books to you directly for a lower price than what your campus bookshop is offering. You can also find second-hand textbooks on sites like E-bay and Craigslist. If your campus has an online classified section, this is also a great place to look.
Finally, check out online textbook rentals. There are now specific websites which will loan you online copies of your textbooks for the remainder of the semester for a fraction of the cost of buying them. They don’t have every book available, but it’s worth checking out because it could save you a small fortune.
Tip 2: Carpool home
Another expense many college students face is the cost of traveling between campus and home. You obviously want to see your family as often as possible, but the cost of either driving or flying back and forth can quickly build up. The best solution to this problem is to find someone else who lives in or near your hometown and carpool with them when it’s convenient for both of you. This way you can split the cost plus those long drives won’t be as tedious if you have someone else in the car. The more people you can find who live along your route, the more people you will have to split the costs. If you live quite far away and need to stop for a night, make sure you don’t pay full price on hotel rooms. Click here to find discounts on accommodations.
If you don’t know anyone on campus who lives near you, then just post a flyer on a notice board asking if anyone from your area would be interested in carpooling. Colleges are full of students who are also trying to save money so there is a high chance you’ll be able to find someone.
Tip 3: Use vouchers and take advantage of special offers
Going out while poor can seem like a drag because you can’t afford to do or go anywhere you want. It doesn’t have to be this way though. You can still go out and have a great time while living on campus; you just have to be smart about how you do it. It’s a good idea to keep an eye on voucher sites and even subscribe, so you get notifications when there is an offer available in your area. Local bars and restaurants will often advertise 50% off some meals and offer 2-for-1 deals. If you can take advantage of such offers then eating out can become an affordable and realistic option. Theme parks, bowling alleys, and cinemas also offer similar deals via voucher sites so keep your eyes peeled if you’re looking for something fun to do on the weekend.
Tip 4: Thrift shop for clothes
The most valuable tip on this list, and probably the most under-utilized, is to go thrifting. Thrift shops are full of clothes, shoes and other items which are in good condition and cost a fraction of the price of new things. If you’re looking for a new pair of shoes or a new suit jacket, go thrift shopping first before you resort to buying new. Many of the items donated have barely been worn and come with expensive labels, meaning you can sometimes get higher quality when you purchase second hand than when buying from a boutique clothing retailer.
Tip 5: Investigate and ask for students discounts
Many stores and restaurants around university campuses offer discounts for students when they show their student card. Often your campus student association can provide you with a list of shops and retailers which do just that. If you’re not sure if the store you’re in offers a student discount, it never hurts to ask. Often even if they don’t, the salespeople are authorized to give discounts if they believe doing so will increase the likelihood of a sale, so often they will give you one anyway. Although 10% of a meal here and 15% of a sweater there may not seem like that much money, these small saving can add up.
Hopefully, the above tips will help you save a little money. The key things to remember are to always be on the lookout for a deal, never be afraid to buy second hand, and try to share costs with others when possible.