saving money in collegeA recent study shows that one in every three college students experiences insomnia due to financial worries. As the average student loan debt in the US climbs to nearly $30,000, it’s no wonder students are suffering from anxiety. Luckily, aside from the obvious–such as applying for financial aid and scholarships–there are some easy ways to save. Check out these quick tips that can help you save money in college.

1. Save on Textbooks

Today, students spend an average of $665 per year on textbooks when pursuing a bachelor’s degree. If you’re smart about your textbooks, you can easily save on these costs. Here are a few easy ways to cut your textbook costs:

  • Buy used textbooks.
  • Rent your textbooks.
  • Share books with a classmate.
  • Purchase eBooks instead of printed textbooks.
  • Resell your textbooks when the course is finished.

2. Be Smart About Your Food Choices

Restaurants near colleges and on-campus dining services are often expensive. By putting more thought into your food choices and going with the cheaper options, you can save heaps of cash. The best way to do this is to make your own meals and bring them to campus instead of purchasing on-campus lunches.

Not sure if this tactic will really save you money? Kerry Taylor of Squawk Fox set out to show just how expensive McDonald’s was. When she cooked up her own egg muffin with the same ingredients McDonald’s used, she not only found that her version was 65 percent cheaper, but it was also healthier. When you’re tight on cash, making your own meals is a better way to save than heading to a “cheap” fast food joint.

3. Consider Online Courses

Online courses come with many benefits, one of those is that you can save money. Their convenience factor allows you to complete your courses around your work schedule, so you don’t have to worry about lost wages. Plus, you don’t have to live on campus, so you can save on boarding and food. Furthermore, commuting costs are eliminated, and you’ll often pay less for textbooks and supplies since many professors post the readings online.

Perhaps one of the biggest money savers of online colleges comes in the price of tuition. Since online students don’t interact with the campus directly, schools don’t have to charge as much per course to keep up with on-campus maintenance costs, so your tuition is cheaper. What’s more, many online programs are designed to be accelerated degrees, which means students looking for online MBA programs or other degrees will finish sooner than those going through a traditional program, saving time and money.

4. Cut Your Entertainment Costs

In college, it’s easy to save on entertainment if you’re strategic about it. Start by looking for entertainment options on campus, such as movies, performances, and parties. As a student, you’ll usually get in free or for a low price with your student I.D. depending on your campus policies. When you’re headed to off-campus events, make sure to bring your student I.D. along in case there’s a discount for enrolled college students.

Want to join a gym? Look at the on-campus gym first and compare the student prices to other gyms around town. If you want to get away for the weekend, your school might also offer low-cost trips. It’s usually easier to save money when traveling with a group anyway since you can split costs.

5. Get a Roommate

Living with a roommate can help you cut your monthly expenses in half. While a two-bedroom apartment might be more expensive, splitting it with another roommate or two can leave you with fewer expenses than a one bedroom place. In addition to cutting down on your rent, you’ll also be able to split Internet, utilities, cable, and other living costs. To keep track of expenses between your roommates, consider all downloading the Splitwise app, where you can stay on top of bills and IOUs.

Going to college doesn’t have to completely drain you of your finances. If you’re smart about your money, you can save a lot and avoid debt.

What tips would you add?

Photo Credit: Ambro

About Robert Farrington

Robert Farrington has written 77 articles on this site..

Robert Farrington is the founder and editor of The College Investor, a personal finance site dedicated to young adult and college student finances.

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