Nine ways to save money at school - MoneySense

Nine ways to save money at school

University students don’t have to come out of school buried in debt. Accept that you’re poor students.



Students are always broke. Have you seen what it costs for tuition and books these days? So finding ways to save while you’re at school makes good sense. Here are nine ways to spend less.

1. Sign up for a free chequing account. Savings accounts don’t cost anything, but chequing accounts can be expensive. Look for a bank that gives students a break: no fees. Then make sure you stick to the rules: no using someone else’s ATM. No NSFs. No overdraft.

2. Skip buying coffee. Yes, it’s nice to meet friends for a coffee and a gab. And you may even need a cuppa to get your motor running so you can make sense of your 8:30 calculus class. Make your coffee at home, put it in a travel mug and save. Two cups of regular take-out coffee, or one fancy coffee at $4 a pop, will run you to almost year’s worth of tuition. $4 a day x 7 days a week x a 4-year undergrad = $5,824. Make it at home and cut your costs by 80% to 90%.

3. Don’t buy bottled water. Make a habit of filling a large bottle 1/3 full and freezing at night. Fill it up in the morning, pop it in a plastic bag and stick it in your backpack.

4. Don’t grocery shop when you’re hungry. Everything looks delicious when you’re starving. You could find yourself spending up to 50% more on impulse purchases. Eat before you grocery shop.

5. Look for free events on campus and in your local community. Hey, I know all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. But if you’re spending gobs of money on entertainment then you may not be dull, but you’ll be broke. Check local newspaper free concerts, festivals, and theatre. Go to movies on cheap nights or in the afternoon when tickets are less expensive. Eat before you go and don’t buy all the junk food. Hit the library for a movie and watch at home with a couple bags of microwave popcorn and some pals.

6. Cut the cable. You don’t have time to watch TV. You’ve got studying to do, and people to hang out with. If you’re paying for premium cable, you’re wasting your money … and your life.

7. Get Skype. You can use it to call home when you’re missing mom and dad. You can use it to coo at your boy- or girlfriend. You can keep up with your best friend who’s at the other end of the country. All for FREE.

8. Take advantage of special offers for students. Hey, you can travel the bus system for less. You can buy stuff for less. Put on your poor student face and ask for a discount.

9. Get another roommate. If you can find a way to squeeze one more body into your house, you can come up with enough money to pay the utilities. That’s a cost you won’t have to shell out for. Speaking of which, turn down the heat at night. Unplug your electronics when you’re not using them. And turn off the frickin’ lights when you leave a room!