8 Money-Saving Hacks for College Students

Have a game plan before setting foot on campus.

Zions Bank Aug 15, 2017

Graduating high school is an exciting time. You are about to leave “the nest” and set out on your next adventure, which for many means college. Gaining higher education is a valuable investment but an expensive one nonetheless.

School tuition, steep textbook prices and rent for housing are just a few of the costs that college students face.  At times, it may seem impossible to save money. The best way to be successful with smart money management is to be prepared. Have a game plan before setting foot on campus.

To help get you started, consider these money-saving hacks:

  1. Eating out? Don’t do it. As a college student, you lead a busy life. Between school and work responsibilities, clubs, volunteering and maintaining your social calendar, it can be a lot to juggle. This can certainly make eating out for convenience sake a very tempting solution to save time. However, this is a fast way to drain your bank account. Dave Ramsey explains that 80 to 85 percent of what you pay for at a restaurant is the experience and not the food itself. It may take some extra planning on your end, but taking the time to grocery shop and cook at home can prove to be more economical and healthy! Reserve eating out at your favorite restaurants for the weekends — it makes for a great date or just an opportunity to hang out with friends
  2. Go thrift shopping. Try to save every hard-earned penny you have, but when you need to go shopping, opt for thrift stores. Purchasing clothes, furniture, books and kitchen supplies at thrift shops is a great alternative to purchasing merchandise at full or even sale prices. This will make your piggy bank fat and happy. Don’t know where to go? Many college towns will have local thrift shops, but check out well-known retailers like Plato’s Closet, Idaho Youth Ranch, Uptown Cheapskate, Deseret Industries or Savers to start!
  3. Study! Study! Study! It really does pay to be a good student. Zions Bank even pays junior high and high school students for every “A” grade earned. Keep the good habits through college because universities offer academic scholarships to help pay toward tuition and school supplies. Other forms of financial aid include student grants and loans.
  4. Rent, don’t buy. School textbooks are notorious for being mandatory in class, yet come at steep prices that will make you want to cry (and just wait till you see the class syllabus). Rather than dumping hundreds of dollars on a full-price book, opt to purchase gently used books, or rent books on websites such as Amazon.
  5. Go green. Cars can be expensive, but sometimes necessary. When you are able, walk or bike to campus — it is a great way to get some extra exercise in and lower your carbon footprint. Longer excursion coming up? Carpool with friends to save money on gas.
  6. Take full advantage of the student discount. Many businesses offer discounts for students, in a variety of categories such as retail, restaurant, entertainment and so on. Some businesses actively advertise these offers but never be afraid to ask a business if you are not sure — you may be surprised by the deals you can receive with that little I.D. card!
  7. Use online budgeting tools. Zions Bank offers helpful budgeting calculators to determine what expenses you can expect as a college student and an estimate of how much you should be saving — all to help you be a smart money manager without having to major in financial accounting (unless you’re into that sort of thing).
  8. Attend free events. Being frugal does not mean you have to miss out on the fun. Yes, entertainment and events can be pricey, but there is also a vast array of free events that you can attend, especially in college towns. Take advantage of these free events and use them as an opportunity to create fun and lasting memories with your friends.

On top of these smart money management tips, Zions Bank offers student banking services for you to set up accounts or apply for loans or debit cards to get your college career off on the right financial foot.


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