Money saving tips are essential to students all across America who are desperately trying to balance school and work life while still having a little pocket change. Maintaining a budget as a full-time student is hard, but it’s doable.
When it comes to budgets for students, there are a few unique factors that might not apply to the average person. For example, most student budgets factor in the cost of school supplies, like textbooks and of travel to and from school. Without further ado, here’s how to save money for students just like you to maximize your savings while taking full advantage of student discounts.
Little Tips for Saving Money as a Student
Tip 1) Make Your Own Food
This might not apply to students on a college meal plan, but those who are responsible for their own meals should listen up. One of the best ways to save money on a tight budget is by cooking your own food.
Skip the morning Starbucks and opt for a cup of coffee in your dorm. Instead of grabbing a sandwich at the overpriced student café, pack your own cheese and crackers. A weekly grocery trip for one person costs much less than eating out four times each week.
Tip 2) Make a Budget
Learn how to create a budget that reflects your situation. Your budget should include all your monthly debts (like credit cards, a car payment, rent, etc.) in order for it to be accurate. Budgets for students should always include things like room and board payments, textbooks, transportation, supplies and laundry.
Tip 3) Buy Used Textbooks
Buying used textbooks can cut the cost of school supplies in half. A brand-new science book can reach well into the hundreds. Instead of paying cover price, scan the internet to find used textbooks. You might even find a “used” book with the plastic wrap still on it. Always check to see if you can purchase a used book before buying it new.
Tip 4) Use Coupons
Anyone who has ever used a coupon can tell you they work! It’s one of the best money saving tips available. Plain and simple, coupons can reduce the cost of your grocery bill. But that’s not all – you can find coupons for local restaurants that offer free appetizers and other incentives for those moments when you want to treat yourself to a lunch or dinner out.
Tip 5) Sell Old Textbooks
Last semester’s textbooks are burning a hole in your pocket. Unless you’ll be using them in the near future, sell your old books. Look into their starting price online or put them up for sale on a flyer and post it around your school. You might be able to get back half of what you paid for them in the first place.
Learn About Student Jobs
Wondering how to make extra money on the side while you’re in school? Having a student job is a great way to earn some spending money without being overwhelmed. Student jobs usually come in the form of part-time work, so you don’t have to worry about it interfering with your schedule.
When it comes to high pay, summer jobs can really fit the bill. In fact, most summer jobs are designed with students in mind. They offer short-term work, competitive wages and may even allow for a week’s vacation.
Summer jobs like lifeguarding, babysitting and bartending are some of the highest-paying positions available for the average student. Of course, you may need to become trained or licensed to perform some of this work. However, you may be able to work as much as you desire during the summer, helping you rack up the savings.
Grants for students are often available in the form of work-study programs. A work-study is a part-time job on campus that provides students with work in exchange for fair hourly pay. Some work-study jobs are centered around a student’s area of study.
Other ideal jobs for students include desk jobs, such as receptionists and data entry clerks. During slow periods, students can catch up on homework while multitasking if need be. Students can look for these jobs on campus or at businesses in the surrounding area.
Depending on your schedule, you may be able to find jobs you can do before your first class starts. For example, some families need a babysitter during the morning to help with child care during transitional schedules. One parent may leave for work before the other gets home, which is where you may be able to help for an hour or two before class.
Some students may consider being a driver for ride-share apps for an income since they can set their own hours. However, depending on the state, drivers may need to meet certain age requirements or have held their license for a set period of time.
Learn About Student Discounts
The question of how to save money for students can be answered with just two words: student discounts. Stores, streaming services and restaurants all provide a bevy of discounts aimed to help students balance school and fun.
Student discounts on flights are some of the most helpful discounts out there. Those who live several states away from school may find it beneficial to purchase a plane ticket using a student discount to visit family during the holidays. For example, Lufthansa provides discounted airfare to students 12 to 25 years of age.
You can find student discounts on laptops throughout the year, but especially during the month immediately before a semester begins. Many stores, including Best Buy, offer student discounts on dozens of products. Laptop manufacturers offer their own discounts, like Dell’s promise to give $100 back to any student who spends $499 or more on a Dell laptop.
When it comes to ways to save money on a tight budget, it’s good to be aware of all the student discounts available to you. You can find laptops, printers, routers and consoles marked down for those with a student ID. Likewise, many software programs offer student discounts, including Microsoft Office365.
Student discounts on streaming services solve all of your entertainment needs. For example, students can get Spotify Premium and play their favorite music for just $5 a month. They’ll even get free access to a basic Hulu package to watch TV and movies!
Amazon Prime Student offers a free six-month trial to all students enrolled in school. After the trial is up, students can receive 50 percent off Amazon Prime. Other student discounts are available for museums, public transportation and movie theatres.