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How to Save Money in College

Set yourself up for a successful semester with our ways to save money in college.

Shopping, planning, and packing — OH MY!

Yes, ‘tis back to school season. Students and families everywhere are preparing for a new school year full of learning, studying, and straight A’s. Of course, going back to school is stressful and we want to make sure that your personal finances are stress free. We have tips and ideas on how to save money in college, before and during the next school semester.

1. Create your college student budget

When you're trying to determine how to save money in college, the first thing you should do is make a budget. Creating a personal budget prior to move-in day will be your guide to financial success during the semester. Items that you want to make sure you budget for include tuition and fees (minus any student loans, scholarships, or grants you may have received), housing, school supplies, food, transportation, and other miscellaneous expenses.

Looking for a tool to help you create and sustain your college student budget? Our free tool, Money Management, shows your complete financial picture (including accounts from external financial institutions) all in one place.

2. Prepare for moving expenses

Preparing for move-in day also means you're preparing for moving expenses. Depending on where you currently live versus where you’ll be going to school, you may have rent a moving truck. On the other hand, if you’ll be flying, you’ll have to consider for any checked bags. Moving expenses are often over looked, so it’s important to consider these when budgeting.

3. Take advantage of college student discounts

Between studying and going to classes, it’s important for college students to take time to have some fun. Going out to dinner, seeing a movie, or visiting a local museum can help you step away from the stress of school, but these entertainment outings can become costly. It’s very common for local businesses to work with universities to offer college students discounts on their goods and services. Put that Student ID to good use!

In addition, keep an eye out for free or discounted on-campus events or services. For example, many colleges have free fitness centers for students to use. Gym memberships can get quite expensive and could put a hole in your budget. With all that being said, take advantage of all those perks when you can — your budget will thank you!
 

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4. Use credit wisely

When looking for ways to save money in college, it's important to keep your spending habits in mind, especially when it comes to credit. It can be easy to fall into the trap of thinking credit cards are an infinite source of cash. Students can become victim to high credit card balances, missed payments, and high interest rates. It’s important to be responsible with credit cards by not charging more than you can afford when the bill comes due. It’s also ideal to try to pay off the amount every month to avoid high fees and rates. Also, keep in mind that having a credit card and successfully paying it off will help build positive credit.

5. Consider getting a part-time job

Once you get settled into your new routine on campus, consider getting a part-time job to make some extra money. Depending on where you go to school and what surrounds your campus, you may be able to find local businesses to work a few hours a week. Your school may offer different employment opportunities to students as well.

Overall, saving money before and during college will set you up for financial success in the future. Implementing our tips for how to save money in college will help build positive financial wellness habits for years to come.

Looking for a way to learn more about financial literacy? Our financial literacy app, Zogo, is a gamified financial literacy app that rewards you for completing bite-sized financial literacy lessons on intelligently saving, spending, and managing your money — perfect for on-the-go college students!

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