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The best (easy) ways to save money in college

There’s no doubt about it. College is expensive. So as you prepare yourself for your years at a university or plan your budget before paying your student bill, you should be looking for ways to save.

There are an abundance of tips on how to afford college, and many financial  resources available to help you budget and pay for school. But how do you take steps to save the money that you have? Saving is an essential part of money management for college students.

How do you save money in college on a practical, day-to-day level?

The bottom line is, every penny counts. In this case, the cliche holds true. When you’re paying your student bill, a few hundred dollars saved here and there can go a long way. A few hundred dollars could even pay for the class that changes your career path.

Here are our top three easy tips for saving money in college

Make your own coffee

There’s something about coffee and college that go together. Whether you’re slurping a blended beverage in your morning lecture or grabbing a cup to go for a late night study session, coffee is often the fuel that keeps students going.

Do the math: Save $200+ per year

  • If you were to purchase one “nice” coffee from a coffee shop per week, at about $4, you will save about $208 over the course of a year.

Buy your clothes at A thrift store

College students need clothes. Casual day-to-day clothes, going for that first-internship-interview clothes, scholarship banquet dress-up clothes. On average, college students spend about $67 per month on clothes. To cut this cost and save money in college, shop at thrift stores instead of buying brand new clothes.

There are a lot of thrift store locations in the Minneapolis area.
Concerned about maintaining your style in thrifted clothing?

Read this helpful article from North Central’s Enactus student organization to learn more about how to dress professionally on a budget.

Do the math: Save about $400-640 per year

  • According to the National Association of College Stores, college students spend about $67 per month on clothing. That comes out to about $804 per year when you buy new clothes.
  • Thrift clothing is typically discounted 50-80%, so if you do all of your shopping at thrift stores, you will save $402-643 per year (of the average $804 per year spend)!

Walk to what you need

The cost of filling your car with gas can add up! If you choose to attend a university in a downtown setting, you will be within walking distance of all of your essentials.

Need some groceries or snacks? Walk to a nearby grocery or convenience store, rather than driving. Want to go out for a date in Minneapolis? Walk to the Stone Arch Bridge, the Guthrie Theatre, or take the Light-rail to attractions all around the metro area.

Perhaps most importantly, if you’re looking for a job or internship to work when you’re not in class, downtown areas offer opportunities at everything from large companies to small non-profit organizations and churches.

Do the math: Save up to about $500 per year

  • In sample college budgets by US News, students spent just over $500 a year on gas.
  • If you eliminate your need to drive for most every day needs, you can eliminate this line from your budget and save that $500 toward something else.

Ready to plan your finances?

Download our helpful Cost Worksheet to see what paying for college can be like for you.

Download your free Cost Worksheet!