As a student, the cost of living can increase substantially because you are generally not earning much of an income while attending classes. On top of that, the rising cost of tuition is requiring that students earn a part-time wage, or at best, make solid attempts at saving money. Fortunately, there are several easy ways to offset some of the expenses of going to school. So, let’s try to answer the question and give tips on how to save money. Budgeting, frugality, and working a job on the side are some of the tips that we will explore here.

Budgeting

More and more families realize the importance of money management and take action to teach their kids early on. There are a lot of interactive programs and games that will help prepare kids for adult life and teach right money management. When it comes to saving money as a student, the first thing you’ll want to do is set a budget for yourself. Establishing a budget will consist of calculating how much money you’ll be receiving versus the essentials you’ll need to buy. It will give you a baseline that will help you with your money-saving methods later on.

How will you be paying for school? Will the money come from your parents, a job, or loans? How much of that money will go towards tuition, and what will you have leftover for general expenses? Once you have an idea of how much money you’ll have to spend, you can then look for frugal ways to reduce your spending.

How to save money as a student

Be frugal. Many of the primary school expenses have more affordable alternatives. Textbooks, housing, transportation, and food costs can all be reduced with frugality in mind. For textbooks, try finding them in an electronic format or used on eBay. Ebooks are often many times cheaper than the physical editions. Also, check your school or local library for copies of your required readings. 

Housing costs can be reduced by rooming with others. And if your parents live nearby, stay at home while attending classes. Current trends show that millennials are increasingly living with parents due to the rising costs of schooling; there is no shame in that. 

Try to take public transportation as much as possible. Stick to an affordable vehicle that requires less maintenance. To save even more, see if a schoolmate will want to carpool to the campus with you. Or, try finding on-campus housing. Living on campus is often the best choice for a lot of students.

Get a credit card. Credit cards often have a bad reputation, but the reality is that if you use it responsibly, they can save you tons of money. But it’s essential to know precisely which type of credit card is right for you. In general, you will want to look for a student-centric credit card. These are credit cards that grant bonuses just for being a student. Features often include subscription discounts or cash bonuses for maintaining good grades. 

Ideally, you will also want a credit card with cashback bonuses and no annual fee. Cashback rewards come in the form of real cash or travel credit that you can use as you please. Since you will undoubtedly be spending the money anyway, it is a win-win to receive a small amount of credit back at the same time. The key is to be responsible!

Another type of credit card popular with students is a secured credit card. With secured credit cards, you pay a refundable deposit that acts as your credit limit going forward. The advantage is that you’ll only be spending money you’ve already had on hand, rather than borrowing the money from the bank like with traditional credit cards. This is especially useful if you don’t have an established credit history. 

Again, credit cards need to be used responsibly. Not paying off your credit card balance immediately can result in interest charges or late fees that will add up to money lost over time.

Utilize smartphone apps. Thanks to living in the internet age, there are now a plethora of financial apps that are helping people save money. General savings apps like Tip Yourself and Qapital act as convenient savings accounts giving you the initiative to put a little money to the side here and there. In the previous post, we went over best investing apps like Robinhood, Acorns, and Stash. These apps take savings to the next level by also teaching you how to invest some of your spare cash.

Likewise, some apps aggregate special offers for services and retail stores. Slickdeals, Ibotta, and Groupon are examples of great apps for sourcing special offers on anything from entertainment to groceries. With these apps, you can delay gratification and wait until things that you need to go on sale.

Tackle student loan interest. Just like any other loan, a student loan will accrue interest over time that needs to be paid on top of the actual amount you’ve requested. A smart way to reduce your financial stress in the future is to start paying the interest immediately. Thousands of dollars can be saved post-graduation as you settle into a stable career. 

Party less. Colleges are often recognized for their party scenes, and many colleges are even rated as the best party schools to attend. Unsurprisingly, partying is a fast way to drain your funds. While having fun can be a good stress reliever and networking opportunity, you should minimize it whenever possible. It goes beyond campus parties. Spending less money on parties, bars, concerts, or sporting events will go an incredibly long way. 

Look for discounts. Keep a lookout for general store discounts, coupons, and special promos. Before shopping, search online for special offers. Download promo apps like Slickdeals, Ibotta, or Groupon to keep tabs on deals. 

Student Discounts. When seeking out entertainment and necessities, always keep an eye out for student discounts. These will usually require proof of enrollment in the form of a school email handle or Student ID card, so always keep one handy. 

Additionally, several service providers offer student discounts when signing up. Things like cellphone providers, internet and cable providers, gym memberships, and streaming services often have special student pricing. Even Amazon Prime has a special student version.

Student discounts can also be found when shopping retail. Whether you’re looking for software and technology to help with your studies, or just shopping for new clothes, many retail stores will offer student discounts. 

Work on the side. Having a full or part-time job is one of the best ways to reduce school expenses. Job income can go towards tuition so that you can take out fewer loans, or it can go towards other living expenses. 

An excellent job for students living on campus is as a residential assistant (RA). RAs are the overseers of college housing who make sure rules are being enforced. The benefit of being an RA is that your room and board are often provided for free. This offsets a substantial financial load that the majority of students have to carry. 

You can also try to do remote work while in school. Work that is done online, from the comfort of your home, is an excellent way to cut costs on transportation. It also affords some flexibility in your schedule, so you have more time for school work.

Take advantage of the “gig economy.” New app-based services like Door Dash, Upwork, and Uber allow for a flexible way to make cash. Barriers to entry are pretty low, and some of these companies will provide you with the tools you need to succeed.

Prepare for a bright future

Saving money while in school will set you up for the best possible start post-graduation. Right budgeting and making smart choices with money is a foundation for ” how to save money. ” Careers are not guaranteed right after college, so it’s best to minimize the financial burden early on. Think smart and creatively while utilizing the above tips, and you will be on your way to financial freedom.