There are many different elements of college that make it an amazing part of people's lives. However, financial choices typically aren't one of these elements. Fortunately, you don't need to say goodbye to fun to stay away from large credit card bills. What follow are 50 suggestions for students to save money without resorting to noodle diets.
1. Scholarships online
Look at sites like Fastweb and Collegescholarships. They have lots of categories and topics that make it likely for you to come across some scholarships that pique your interest.
2. Studies in psychology
If there's a grad school in your college, its psych department will, in all probability, be on the lookout constantly for student participants for a range of studies. Some studies might let you make a decent bit of money without putting in too much of your time.
3. Think about working as an RA
RA programs are available in most colleges, and they let you keep your housing costs under control while making additional cash.
4. Work study
Depending on how much money you have on hand, you might be eligible for a work study. These are jobs that are created for you to be able to work them while taking a full load of college classes.
5. Jobs on campus
If you aren't eligible for the work study program, look to see if there are any other jobs available. Some examples might include cafeteria or gym work, front desk work, or lifeguarding. You'll typically have a smaller commitment than you would for jobs off campus, and they're much more convenient in terms of location.
Care and similar sites are good for finding open positions for babysitting.
7. Work as a tutor
If you don't like babysitting, try Craigslist and similar pages to connect yourself with families who'd like a college student to tutor their child.
8. Try local contests
Look for any local contests in your campus or city. This might mean something like a poetry, writing, or singing contest, or something else in an area of skill that you have.
9. Liberal arts skills
If you've majored in English or in the humanities, you might want to try to sell your work or do some freelance jobs on the side as an editor or contributor to blogs.
10. Try the student ID
A number of theaters, retailers, and similar sites will let you knock a few dollars off the price if you do so with a valid student ID.
11. Use additional student discounts
There are a range of student discounts that are easy to access through the Internet. For example, Apple, Dell, and similar companies in technology offer discounts for students on things like laptops and tablets.
12. Look for free entertainment on campus
Look on campus to see if there are any free events offered. Many schools have karaoke nights and similar events. You can also build up your social circle by trying out these events.
13. Save money with school supplies
Look at social sites like Twitter or Facebook to check for used materials people want to trade or sell. Half is also a good site for buying or selling textbooks.
14. Try out student banking
Do some research on student bank accounts and choose the one that works best with your finances. Read the fine print, of course, but you might end up saving a good amount.
15. Test out of courses
If you do so, you won't spend as much on tuition or on textbooks.
16. Start lists
Lists are things you should have wherever you go, and make sure you use them. This keeps you from spending too much on clothing or on groceries.
17. Make a routine
Setting up a routine will increase your efficiency. You won't do as much laundry or other things that are done frequently and cost increasing amounts of money.
18. Keep your coupons
Coupons are a great idea if you use them to your advantage. Keep them close at hand so you make use of them.
19. Nix the bad habits
If you smoke or drink, stop before you empty your wallet. You'll also take advantage of improved levels of health.
20. Reflect on daily experiences
Look through the things you buy on a daily basis, such as coffee. If you're spending just $1 each day, you'll suffer over time. Try to save money!
21. Start a budget
Look at how much you spend each month and stick to a budget. Mint is a great way to track your expenses.
22. Analyze spending
Check where most of your money tends to leave your bank account. Are you draining money on gas, on groceries, on rent, or somewhere else? See if you can reduce that area.
23. Look over your meal plan
If you've got a fixed meal plan but don't make much use of it, you might want to drop it. If you can learn to cook yourself, you will save a lot of money in comparison.
24. Ditch brand names
If you've got a taste for brand names, try to develop a taste for the generic. It'll save you money.
25. Think about your fun spending
Do you need to go to every game? Figure out which sports or matches matter to you most, and save your money with the rest.
26. Start riding bikes
The quickest way to cut down on your car expenses is to get rid of your car. Invest some money in a decent bike, and you'll not only save money, you'll also get a good workout.
27. Ditch the car
If you can, ditch your car so you don't have to pay parking tickets, maintenance, and similar issues. If you only drive once in a while, you might do much better with something like Relay Rides or Zip Cars.
28. Try the family plan
Bundle up with your parents on cell plans when you can, even if you have to pay your parents for the privilege. You'll still save just about every time compared to an individual plan.
If you have friends or family who live nearby, try to visit frequently for dinner or laundry, and help them in the house when possible.
30. Go home on the weekends
Going home if you live closely will not only save you money, it'll also help you build your relationship with your parents.
31. Student credit cards
If you can get a student credit card, you might earn rewards in areas where you're already spending money on gas, textbooks, or groceries.
32. Try eBay
eBay is a great way to save on all kinds of things, including electronics, hair products, and clothes.
33. Try Craigslist
When you're not using eBay due to the shipping issues, look for local sales on Craigslist. Buying things used is the way to save.
34. Sell things you don't need
If you can buy things, you can sell things. Make extra money through ditching things you don't need via Craigslist and eBay.
35. Look for consignment stores
Look for your local consignment shops. If you take your clothes in, you can sell them, get credit, and buy nice things without spending nice money.
36. Say no when you can
You might want to eat out or join weekend trips all the time, but you'll save lots of money if you learn to simply say no. Try suggesting things that don't cost a lot of cash, such as potlucks or hikes. You'll probably enjoy yourself much more that way.
37. Avoid the vending machine
Dollars now and then add up a lot. Rather than feeding the machine, feed yourself by buying your snacks, soda, and water on your own in large amounts.
38. Ditch the duplicates
If you don't have a lot of money, you don't need multiple copies of boots and coats. You'll probably save space by getting rid of them; that's why dorm closets are small.
39. Try window shopping
Window shopping is a great way to keep away from buying things on impulse. If you'd like something, look at it and think about it for at least 2 full days. You might learn that you don't even remember it in a day.
40. Keep your wits about you
If you want to save money, you need to protect it. Keep away from store credit cards and other things designed to empty your wallet; high interest rates are a particularly easy way to lose your money.
41. Try new things
Look at your local listings for things like art galleries, museums, and festivals that are free. Similarly, look for farmers' markets and outdoor concerts when the weather is warm.
42. Save on dates
You can meet new people by looking for cheap date ideas, such as packing food and having a picnic instead of spending money on eating in a fancy restaurant. Rent a movie instead of driving over to the theater.
43. Leave Netflix alone
Netflix is cool, but saving cash is cooler. Try the library instead. There are also things like Amazon prime, which get more videos each year.
44. Groupon your things
Group buying power is a great way to add to your cache of stuff without depleting your wallet seriously. You can even use mobile apps to keep you from buying the coupons that you'll never really make use of.
45. Look into social media
Keep an eye out for social media freebies. There are sites like Yelp and partner businesses that give you discounts if you visit their Facebook pages and like them.
46. Share your clothes
Look to your friends and see if you can save a bit of money by moving clothes between each other. A clothes swap is a neat and fun way to do this each semester or at the start of the year.
47. Share your car
If you live close together, you might as well get to know each other. If you can share a car, you can share gas costs, which means you all end up saving.
48. Share your groceries
Just as with gas, if you can share your groceries, you get social time while saving on your financial drains. You can even go to somewhere like Costco and buy a lot of food in bulk to divide equally rather than each of you making individual and expensive trips to Whole Foods.
49. Try the DIY life
The DIY life means getting creative with sites like Pinterest and YouTube. You can learn to do or make just about anything you set your mind to if you're willing to spend the necessary time to learn how to do it. The Internet is free, so why not use it to learn a language, learn to plumb, learn an instrument, or to learn to cook?
50. Live with confidence
Finally, a big part of saving money is simply developing the way you think about yourself and interact with the world. If you try to keep up with everyone around you, you're going to end up frustrated, stressed, and ultimately broke. That's because you don't know what's going on inside everyone's financial portfolio. The dorm mate who always seems to have the latest clothes and gadgets may be funded through the Bank of Mom and Dad, or may be knee deep in credit and student loan debt. Blaze your own path and save some cash along the way.