Tips for College Students to Save Money
MEFA recently participated in the Education Finance Council (EFC)'s monthly Twitter chat, which provided college students with smart money-saving tips. We've include some highlights from the chat below. Pass them along to your favorite student heading to campus this fall.
On buying textbooks:
- Buy used books, or rent them if possible
- Check out chegg.com for both rentals and purchases
- Share books with classmates
- Check cheapesttextbooks.com to find a comparison of textbook sites
- Check out books from the library
- Consider an Amazon Student Membership
- Find a budget tracking system that works for you, and be consistent. Use phone apps such as Pocket Budget or Mint, or use a simple Excel spreadsheet.
- Budgets are like goals. They must first be attainable to be successful. Don't exaggerate debt or income.
- Plan ahead for bigger expenses, such as gifts, spring break, or an upcoming concert.
- Use your meal plan – you've already paid for it!
- Eat free whenever possible – including leftovers from family visits
- Buy groceries for cheaper in bulk and split them with friends
- Make your own coffee
- Purchase light groceries for your dorm room
On credit cards, debit cards, and bank accounts:
- A credit card can help build your credit, but only use it if you can pay the balance in full each month
- Check to see what bank is on campus and open an account there for easy access to funds
- Be aware of your debit balance before you buy – overdraft fees can be significant
- Avoid any accounts and cards with monthly or annual fees