Money Saving Tips for College-Bound Students

Hand dropping a dollar bill in a transparent piggy bank.

Flickr user Ken Wilcox

The fact that you’ve made it to college doesn’t make you an independent, financially responsible adult just yet. Daily outs and abouts in the first year can set you back more than you think if you don’t watch your spending.

For a freshman, flashy jewelry, hip clothing, and all the trinkets that shine but aren’t an utter necessity can turn out to be both a waste of cash and a guilt trip waiting to hit home.

The good news is there are lots of ways for college first-timers to make savings here and there and invest the cash in a smarter goal instead of a one-off thrill. If you want to find out the best ways to save money without sacrificing the little things that make your heart skip, you’ve come to the right place: here are a few simple tips a university freshman can use to cut their monthly expenses.

1. Budget Up Front

The first thing a college freshman needs to do when looking to reduce their spending is define a framework budget and cost estimate. To get a realistic image of your monthly expenses, write down utility costs and estimated prices of food, toiletries, transport, laundry services, and other necessities. Based on the monthly costs you can’t avoid, you’ll have a clear idea about the amount of money you can put aside for emergencies, extras, and future goals.

Sallie Mae logo.

3 Repayment Options

Variable rates from 2.62% - 12.97% APR with auto-debit

Learn More

2. Cut Your Costs

Once you’ve laid out the monthly budget, you should look into the options to cut your costs by making your own meals, using Laundromats or dorm washing machines instead of paid laundry services, and walking or biking instead of driving to campus. It would also be a smart idea to carpool with roommates or classmates to cut transport costs when going grocery shopping or going out: after all, the more is always the merrier, and the cheaper.  

3. Earn Your Extras

Even if you don’t have to sing for your supper and can rely on your parents for financial backup, you might want to find a part-time job and start making your own money as soon as possible. A part-time or freelance job such as tutoring, copywriting, or bartending won’t take up too much of your precious study time but it will earn you a smart amount of cash which you’ll be able to put aside or spend on fancy gizmos, weekend trips, and other smart study motivators.

4. Freebies Welcome

Freebies are every student’s best friend, and you should use every freebie fate drops in your lap. From free movie tickets to recreation programs and various promotional products, you should use every freebie that can save you quite a lot of money down the road. You can also make arrangements with your friends to do each other’s nails or hair: apart from being fun, DIY beauty regimens can save you a lot of amount of cash in the long run.

5. Discounts Matter

As a freshman, you’ll probably be entitled to various discounts that can save you cash for other purposes. To stay on the safe side of your expense list, you can ask around for special discounts and coupons students are entitled to in local restaurants, stores, bars, fitness centers, cinemas, and stores. It’d also be smart to team up with roommates and make use of discounts supermarkets, book stores, and certain shops grant for bulk purchases.

6. Gift Cards Galore

When the funding gets tough, the tough grab their trusted gift cards and cut the costs at the right angles. As a freshman, it’d be smart to check prepaid gift cards on offer and select the one that entitles you to special discounts with travel agencies, sports clubs, and other services you intend to use in the first year of your college studies. Expert tip: when choosing the gift card, bear in mind that prepaid cards entitle you to a limited amount of money, so use them wisely to avoid unwarranted expenses.

Going off to college is the beginning of a new stage in your life, and as such requires a lot of planning and preparation on many levels. To keep your finances together during the first year of your university studies, stick to the tips above and you’ll never catch yourself stretching your dollar at the end of the month. Ready, steady, go and make most of your freshman days!  

Use College Raptor’s new Student Loan Finder to discover personalized loan options. Compare lenders and interest rates to find the ideal student loan—for FREE!



Lender Rates (APR) Eligibility
Sallie Mae logo.
2.62% - 12.97% Variable
3.75% - 13.72% Fixed
Undergraduate and Graduate
Credibe company logo.
1.19% - 11.98% Variable
3.52% - 14.08% Fixed
Undergraduate and Graduate
Lendkey company logo.
Undergraduate and Graduate
Ascent company logo.
0.98% - 10.04% Variable
3.22% - 13.16% Fixed
Undergraduate and Graduate
College Ave company logo.
1.29% - 12.99% Variable
3.22% - 13.95% Fixed
Undergraduate and Graduate
1.66% - 6.46% Variable
3.19% - 7.40% Fixed
Undergraduate and Graduate
Earnest company logo.
1.34% - 11.44% Variable
3.22% - 12.78% Fixed
Undergraduate and Graduate
1.86% - 11.52% Variable
3.20% - 11.99% Fixed
Undergraduate and Graduate
College Raptor is not a loan lender and does not assume responsibility for suggesting a loan to a user who may not be eligible for it. Rates, terms, conditions, eligibility, approval, and other considerations are the decisions of the lenders and may vary depending on which lender or marketplace the user selects. We urge users to carefully consider and review all loan options and terms before committing to taking out a loan.

Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published.