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25 Cost Saving Tips To Making College Cheaper

On CheapScholar.org, I thoroughly enjoy serving as a resource for families and students that are trying to navigate the financial aspect of their college experience. I cover a lot of topics (many related to Financial Aid & Paying For College Options) but one of the most important resources I like to share is how students are saving their hard-earned dollars and making college cheaper on their own campuses.

Kayla Binkerd is a current college student and she recently entered CheapScholar’s “How Do YOU Make College Cheaper?” Scholarship giveaway. She took the time to submit 25 ways in which she saves money at her college. In an effort to share her knowledge and experience, I am passing her wisdom onto you. Enjoy!

1. Get a bank account and keep track (save receipts) of where your money goes (what you spend it on)

2. Put all of your spare change in a jar and when it is full take it to the bank-you’ll be surprised

3. Before buying your textbooks see if you can find a friend that has the book already and borrow it, or buy them used.

4. Sell your old textbooks online independently. Selling through the school cuts the value of your books substantially and chances are you will find someone who will buy them if you offer them even a little cheaper than other places.

5. Become familiar with Ramen, oatmeal, and tap water

6. If you have a meal plan – use it to its maximum and eat what you are paying for. Most schools don’t refund the meals that you don’t use.

7. Instead of buying at a coffee shop each day, invest a one-time expense in a coffee maker for your dorm room/apartment. It will save you a lot of money over time.

8. How about a date-night in? Make dinner and watch a movie in the apartment/room – way cheaper and you don’t have to tip =)

9. The super cute and new laptop is not necessary during college. An affordable and reliable one will do and generally for much cheaper

10. Keep your room locked and valuables (i.e. laptop) stored properly and securely. You don’t want to pay to replace them

11. Instead of buying new ink cartridges for the necessary printer, many drugstores will refill your empty one for cheaper, or there are refill kits you can do yourself as well.

12. Cable is unnecessary; most laptops have built in DVD players and most of the time you can watch TV shows through the channel’s web page.

13. Eating out seems cheap, but it adds up.

14. Study groups help keep you focused on the primary reason you’re in college- to get an education. The more time you spend being focused and involved, the less time you have to spend money on frivolous things.

15. Weekends are the place college kids lose money. Be creative, even if it includes a picnic, a long walk, flying a kite, a pick-up game of soccer or football, etc.

16. Pick up a local newspaper and check upcoming events for freebies: concerts, arts and crafts fairs, theater, festivals, art galleries, and museums.

17. Never shop when hungry (an age old rule); it is key to sticking to your grocery needs.

18. Walk, ride your bike, skateboard, etc. Use a car when necessary but not when feeling lazy. Gas money adds up FAST.

19. Carpool everywhere!

20. Fill out your FAFSA…early.

21. Stay on your parents’ cell phone plan, insurance, and any other necessary plan as long as you possibly can. Family plans = cheaper.

22. When you do laundry, FILL the machine to its maximum. Small loads are still the same price as large ones. If you are close enough to home, use your parents’ laundry room for free.

23. Exercise! Cheapest form of stress relief there is and it is good for you too.

24. If time allows, find an on campus job. Typically they are only 10 to 15 hours a week and if you don’t need to use it for tuition, it is more money in your personal account.

25. Work hard, but don’t forget to have some fun and know when to focus. You don’t want to have to retake a class because you forgot why you were paying for college.

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2 Responses to “25 Cost Saving Tips To Making College Cheaper”

  1. Julian says:

    Pretty comprehensive list right there! One I would add is making the most of online journals to save money on textbooks. Although you sometimes need the textbooks for certain courses, you can often write any essays you have to do just with journals that your university has subscription too. Much better to download a free PDF than spend $30 on a book!

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  1. […] Think college costs too much? Want new ways to make college less expensive? Check-out 25 tips to making college cheaper offered by CheapScholar. […]


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