118 Ways to Save Money in College

So you have already looked for scholarships, grants, and loans and are still finding it hard to pay your way through college? It goes without saying that the typical college student is either broke or financially hanging in the balance most of the time. We’ve assembled a long list of both practical and creative ways you can save some green while you’re going to campus.

Managing the Money You Have

Picture of Money.To save money you need to manage it. I hate to get on the topic of money management right off the bat, but if you expect to save money you need to be a bit savvy with the little bit of cash you have:

  1. Get a free checking and savings account. The bank will nickel and dime you on dumb stuff like too many ATM withdrawals, too many checks written, or a funds transfer. Shop the town for banks catering to students. Make sure you can access online banking, pay bills and manage your account without attached fees.
  2. Take the free checks that the bank offers in the maximum amount they allow - mine was initially going to give me 50, but for some reason I thought I needed more right away and paid $4.95 for another 50. If you need more, you simply go online and order more, but leftover checks are more typical than not, especially with online bill pay options becoming more commonplace. Extra checks become nothing more than wasted paper and wasted dollars.
  3. Failure to keep track of your bank/checking account can easily cost you money via overdraft fees. Your debit card can easily get you into the red if you don’t know what’s in your checking account. Think your card will be declined if your account has insufficient funds? Think again.

    If you go into the red in your checking account, your debit card will usually continue to work without even so much as a burp. Every time you make a debit card purchase while you have insufficient funds in your checking account you are also being slammed with a banking fee. (My banking faux pas cost me $250 in fees one weekend because I didn’t pay attention to the balance in my checking account and my debit card just kept on smokin’. On top of that, the bank charged me another separate fee to transfer funds from my savings account to my checking!) Unless you have an automatic overdraft protection that enables funds from your savings account to be transferred, you can be way more broke than you ever imagined in one, short weekend. Make sure you know what banking fees you’ll be spanked with if you make a mistake.
  4. If you have to have a credit card, make sure you get one with the lowest interest rate possible; no annual fees and with only enough of a credit limit to get you by in an emergency. Don’t carry it with you, but instead keep it in a safe place known only to you.
  5. Pay credit card bills on time. Companies charge late fees, sometimes as much as $50 per month. And do not go over your credit limit—that offers just one more way for your credit card company to get rich off your poor judgment.
  6. Serious about saving money, huh? For one month save every receipt of everything you purchase, from a pack of gum, a tube of toothpaste to your computer. Log each expense in a notebook. When the month is up, tally up what you’ve spent and take a good look at just where most of it went. Food? Beer? Gas? Games? This sure fire technique will unabashedly expose the evils of your spending ways.
  7. Save that spare change you’ve got jangling in your pocket or sloshing around in the bottom of your backpack or purse in a big jar or can somewhere out of the way.
    • Count and roll spare change yourself.
    • Stay away from those coin-counting machines you see at the grocery store. They will rip you off or at the very least charge you a fee.1


It’s an expense many college students will not forego. Each year, college students spend about $5.5 billion on alcohol, mostly beer.2 So here’s how to save, and some creative alternatives for your favorite beverages.

St Patrick's Day Green Beer.
  1. Don't drink. But if you must...
  2. Be cheap
    • Buy the cheap stuff. Pabst Blue Ribbon and Old English 40 oz. bottles come to mind ;)
    • Buy in bulk. A cheap 5th of Vodka might cost about the same as a drink or two at a bar.
    • Drink where the specials are. Some college bars and dance clubs have pitcher specials, 1 dollar drink specials, no cover charge, or other specials for people going out early or going out on slower nights.
    • Pre-game if you do drink heavily.
    • Don't bring much money with you to limit how much you drink and spend.
    • Hit other people’s parties.
  3. For those beer lovers who really dislike the cheap beer, join a beer brewers club or get a group of dorm mates to brew beer. In the last few years the hobby has grown exponentially and college students everywhere are brewing. Warning: brewing may not be “legal” in your dorm room….que sera, sera.
  4. Hate beer? Brew cheap wine.
  5. At a sit-down restaurant avoid ordering the alcoholic beverages. Most restaurants make a killing on beer, wine and fancy cocktails. The alcohol mark up can be anywhere between 75 and 400 percent! An option is to shop for BYOB restaurants.


Every college student must buy books. You’ve probably heard horror stories of textbook “final bills.” Well, we have options that will save you money on your textbooks. Make sure to allow yourself time; don’t wait to run to the bookstore the day before your class begins.

  1. Before you even think about putting out money for a textbook, don’t you think someone else on campus had to already have one? Borrow if it’s possible.
  2. If you can’t borrow, buy used college textbooks. On sites like Amazon.com used hardcover books are often cheapest. Soft cover are more valued for convenience, so if you’re willing to haul a couple extra ounces, then hardcover is the cost-saving choice. ISBN.nu allows you to easily compare book prices from major online book stores. The campus bookstore will sell a supply of used books, but they are limited; so check the online sources as well.
  3. If you are buying new, check for an “international” edition. The book will be almost exactly the same, except for maybe some Chinese characters on the front, AND it will be exponentially cheaper.
  4. Have your own store of used textbooks?
    • Sell your used textbooks online and make some cash for yourself, at the same time you will help some other starving students save their money.
    • Or you can sell them back to the campus bookstore, but expect to take a big hit on the value if you sell them back to the book store. Some sneaky students wait in the campus bookstore with their old books in hand, trying to connect with new students that need their books, hoping to strike a better payout directly.


Ramen Noodles.Food is one of the top priorities in a college student’s life. Eating fast, eating healthy, it can all cost money if you don’t take time to consider the nitty-gritty of eating to save money.

  1. Trying to eat on 12 cents? Two words: Ramen Noodles.
  2. If you live on campus and pay for a partial or whole meal plan, then use it. Some programs don’t restrict you from taking food to go or eating as many meals as you wish. Peanut butter packets are your friend :)
  3. Have a coffee fix? If you are one of millions of college students ducking into the corner coffeehouse every morning for your daily cuppa Joe, then you are wasting money.

    Your daily latte, cappuccino, or mocha will run you between $2.50 and $3.50 depending on the size you need. Seven days of that routine costs you $17.50 per week, $70 per month and around $280.00 per semester! That’s over $500 a year you drank in morning caffeine. Make your own. By the time you graduate from a four-year degree, you’ve saved over $2000 in coffee beverages. That’s just one a day….Buy a decent coffee maker or even a small espresso/cappuccino machine for your dorm room or apartment. You’ll save hundreds of dollars.
  4. Don’t tip just because someone poured you a cup of coffee. Keep your own change. Everyone wants a tip; “Poor college students work here…..” You’re poor, too. They have a job. Drop it in that change jar we mentioned under “Managing the Money You Have.”
  5. Oatmeal is fast, filling, and affordable.
Peanut Butter Rocks.
  1. Skip the fast food forays and late night take-out. Make sure you keep healthy, affordable options in your room or apartment. Yogurt, cottage cheese, string cheese, bagels, peanut butter are all affordable, convenient and much more healthy than a late night burger and fries.
  2. Collect coupons and follow the weekly sales at the grocery store. Avoid high-end markets like Whole Foods. These are nice, but most products cost much more. Once you’re out of school and have a good job you can shop the upscale markets.
  3. Kick the bottled water habit; support your local tap water and drink for free. Get a some kind of filter if you want better tasting water.
  4. Avoid a sit down restaurant with a large group. You’ll already be charged at least 15% gratuity, and if everyone decides to “split the bill,” you can really get screwed if you tried to eat cheap and didn’t splurge on alcohol. Know in advance what the tone of the party will be and what will be expected so you’re not surprised when the bill arrives.
  5. Many people suggest sharing a larger meal at a restaurant, but make sure you’re eating someplace that doesn’t ding you with an extra charge for splitting.
The Ladies Man.
  1. Don’t have anything to eat, dining hall closed? Go to a take-out joint if you must, or some other low-cost eatery where self-serve is available and you are not obligated to tip.
  2. If you’re on a date, prepare a simple, candlelit dinner and stay in; it’s not the food that counts, but the ambianc. Get your roommates to stay out for the night. Bonus ambiance tip: don't forget the Courvoisier.
  3. Save your tip if the pizza guy gets lost, your order is messed up, or he is lacking in customer service and general niceness.3
  4. Want free pizza? If you are studying computer sciences, hit Google up for free pizza.

Computers - Hardware and Software

Not many college students can survive these days without their own computer, but do you need to put out the big money for a souped up version, or can you make it on the stripped down model? Begin by shopping wisely following these money-saving tips:

  1. If you’re buying a computer, save by shopping the student specials; discounts, rebates and back to school specials. Some regions/states even have a tax-free shopping week. Apple Computer offers student discounts to students and teachers, and consistently advertises important education incentives and rebates. I recently bought an Apple laptop because it was bundled with a free Nano iPod and a free photo printer, copier, scanner. These freebies were rebate items so I had to take the time to fill out online applications and attach copies of receipts and bar codes from the packaging, but my total savings was close to $400 for some very worthy items. Other computer companies offering student discounts:
    • Dell Computer offers student discounts directly through a participating college or university.
    • Hewlett Packard’s Academic Purchase Program is available to eligible students and teachers. You have to sign up. Word has it that you can save around 15% on the purchase of an HP computer. 4
  2. Should you go for the inexpensive desktop or the snazzy little notebook model? Okay, all college students want a sharp-dressed little laptop they can take with them to class or the coffee shop. But if you know you can do without the laptop, you will possibly save hundreds of dollars shopping the desktop models. Bank the most savings if you opt for a model that gets the job done without a lot of extra (read “costly”) bells and whistles. If you MUST have a notebook, you may consider exploring the refurbished notebooks; a used laptop will cost significantly less than a model not driven off the lot yet, and in some cases you can get a darn attractive warranty and a good system to boot.
  3. While you’re in college don’t take risks with your electronic equipment. Laptops and other trendy little electronics can be made off with quickly in a dorm environment. Unless you’ve bought some renter’s insurance, you will foot the bill to replace.5 Keep your room locked and valuables stowed.
  4. Software is another high-dollar item. Using Linux software will keep you away from the higher-priced Windows alternatives. You can also buy discounted software through Apple’s Education Store. The company specializes in attracting college students and offers enticing student discounts and rewards. Microsoft discounts for students come in the shape of mass “licensing programs” through participating colleges and universities. Also shop online software clearinghouses for discounted products from all vendors. Many categorize by subject.
  5. Freeware and shareware are a great way to get your hands on games, utilities, spyware removal, anti-virus and firewall programs:
    • Tucows features thousands of products free or for just a few bucks-- “rated and reviewed.”
    • Download.com offers free music, videos, games and utilities.
  6. Decline extended warranties. Your computer should be under manufacturer’s warranty for the first year anyway. Companies dupe you into believing the plan is worthwhile. They become rich off your extra cash. Anything extra is likely just….extra.
  7. Not only do we suggest you protect your physical property, but you’ll head off future repair bills if you protect your computer investment with anti-virus software and a firewall. Anti-virus and firewall protection will keep your computer in top working order and it will last much longer. When shopping for software avoid retail electronics departments. Instead seek out some good freeware and shareware products on the sites we mentioned in #35.
  8. Your computer printer is a costly headache when the ink cartridges run dry. Aaaagh! Cartridges at an office supply store can cost you top dollar. Leave with a black cartridge and a color cartridge and you will likely have spent $40 or more.
    • Try shopping for printer cartridges online, compare prices and find free shipping.6
    • You may be able to get your ink cartridge refilled economically from a local ink refilling store like CartridgeWorld.
    • If you are daring and a do-it-yourself type, ink refill kits can cost as little as $5 per cartridge.
  9. Hacker ethic? Lifehacker shows you how to convert a laptop into a DVR recording fiend.
  10. Have you ever tried to throw away an old computer? You cannot just put computer components in the trash, and that includes monitors and printers. Old inoperable computers must be recycled. Recycling typically costs you money. Facilities that recycle, and most municipalities do, must charge for their disposal services. Also consider asking if hard drives are “de-gaussed.” This means they are magnetically erased en masse. Besides municipalities and recycling businesses, some computer manufacturers such as Dell and Apple provide customers with their own recycling programs.

Entertainment- Music, Movies, Arts and Culture

You’d think you would have plenty to keep you busy what with studies and all. How to entertain oneself, on the cheap, is one of the major concerns for college students. Our best advice is to be creative.

  1. Forget about the T.V. You can watch cable television through your computer. Make sure your desktop or laptop has a DVD/CD player and you can also watch your favorite movies. Your laptop has graphics equal to most HDTVs, so enjoy.
  2. Nearly as essential as the T.V. is the stereo. Today’s computer speaker sets have clear high and midrange sounds with clean bass. You should be more than satisfied using your computer as the stereo. If you have your music library all set up in iTunes all you have left is to outfit yourself with a decent set of speakers and you still have saved money. Websites like Pandora create custom music channels based on a song or artist of your choice.
  3. Trying to save money on going out to the movies? Hit the matinee showings. Look for free movies on campus; chances are you will find classics, independents, student films, noir and experimental.
  4. Rent DVDs as a group. Pass the disk along before its due date. Everyone watches for a fraction of the cost to rent. Only share with responsible friends.
  5. Subscribe to DVD rental service like NetFlix.
  6. Have a stock of your own personal DVDs you don’t want anymore? Turn them in for credit at most of your brand name video stores.
  7. Make your own movies. Talk about hours of entertainment. Stage your own music videos or film a short. Screen for friends, share a beer and laugh your a------s off.
  8. Saving money on music opens a virtual Pandora’s box of methodology. If you decide to use a file sharing network program, make sure you do your research on the software program to make sure it doesn't contain any spyware or other inconvenient additions. You know, most of the mainstream pay-per-song sites cost just as much as if you went and bought a whole CD. You can still save money by just buying your favorite singles, and there are, however, many places that allow you (legally) to download music that is free- copyright-free, that is. Most of what you will get is the work of new and upcoming artists, but if you are the experimental type, you can find yourself a whole library of music. This is precisely how many future music stars are found:
  9. Buy used CDs at the local music shop. Turn in your old CDs for credit and you may never have to exchange real money!
  10. Start a book club. Read for entertainment, then get a group together to discuss it and enjoy each other’s company. Any interest would work for group involvement: stamp collecting, scrap-booking, weight training, running, cooking, and chess. My favorite book is A Thousand Years of Nonlinear History. It rocks.
  11. Study groups help keep you focused on the primary reason you’re in college- to get an education. The more time you spend being focused and involved, the less time you have to spend money on frivolous things.
  12. Offer your services as a tutor. Anytime you have the opportunity to help others is less time you have worrying about what you don’t have or think you need. The sooner you find out that you can survive nicely on very little, the better off you will be; or should we say, the richer you’ll be.
  13. Avoid spending money this weekend. Be creative in what you choose to do, even if it includes a picnic, a long walk, flying a kite, a pick up game of soccer or football, an impromptu poker game (not played for money), or reading a good book.
  14. Volunteer in a soup kitchen or help build homes with Habitat for Humanity. Community service activities like this will not only help you fill free time wisely, but you’ll come away with a real appreciation for those who have no money.
  15. Pick up a local newspaper and check upcoming events for freebies: concerts, arts and crafts fairs, theater, festivals, art galleries, and museums.
  16. Opt instead one Saturday evening a month to stay in and do something alone and for yourself. Enjoy a bath and a good book. Like Kung Fu movies? Drag out the microwave popcorn and go to town. Those DVDs can’t cost much to rent and maybe someone else will chip in on it with you.
  17. Play on the web! The web is a virtually limitless land which will allow you to deeply explore any topic of interest, and participate in communities discussing those topics. You can also play games like Zuma or visit true time waster sites like HotorNot.com. Searching around online auctions like eBay may help you find deals while also being entertained by the prospects of bidding and winning.

Off-Campus Apartment Living

Sometimes an off-campus apartment is a choice and in other instances it just is a necessity. Living in your own digs brings its own array of money matters. Here are a few tips to help you stay in budget living off-campus.

  1. Get a studio appartment or split rent with roommates.
  2. Rent a place that will have all appliances provided. Bringing in your own or having to buy is a hassle. Think you can live without the microwave? You will likely wish you had one.
  3. Beg your parents - they will feel a connection to you by letting you use their stuff or by buying you new stuff. The more they buy the less you have to.
  4. Don’t spend a lot on décor and accessories. There are plenty of resources for creative decorating that won’t put you in the poor house.
    • Wal-Mart is, of course, dirt cheap. FedEx furniture is cheaper. ;)
    • Futons and bean bag chairs are always popular affordable choices.
College Girl on Futon.
  1. Pay utility bills before they are due. Avoid late fees.
  2. Save money on bills by keeping the A/C or heat turned down or off if possible.
  3. Turn off lights; use the oven sparingly and take shorter showers. Electricity costs money. If you find an apartment where utilities may run on natural gas (stove, hot water heater) it’s generally more cost-efficient.
  4. Living on an upper floor will typically keep you warmer in the winter, but it’ll get hotter in the summer. If you go to school in a region where winters are longer then upper floors are smart, otherwise live low.
  5. If winters are cold and heat bills are high you can insulate your windows with plastic.


Things must be bought at some point, but where, when and how you go about it can make all the difference to your cash flow. Remember, extras, frills, bells and whistles are the little things that really add up.

  1. If you have to shop, make sure you patronize places that offer student discounts.
  2. Shop for stuff you really need during the tax-free week - available in many regions of the country.
  3. Shop early or late for Christmas and the holidays. There is no more stressful time for someone close to broke than the holidays. In fact, some shopping mavens stress that there is no better time to pick up Christmas presents than the day after Christmas! Need a quick Christmas gift for a friend you have yet to see? Buy last minute on clearance sales. Also, buy for next year. Savvy shoppers have no problem making this option one of the most cost efficient shopping days of their year.
  4. Create Christmas and holiday gifts with your own two hands. The discount craft stores sell everything you need to make candles, soap, even beaded jewelry. If you can get a couple of crafty friends together you can all very affordably chip in for the materials and learn together.
  5. Ask for practical items for Christmas or your birthday. No, it’s not much fun, but getting things you need saves you from spending the cash.
  6. Get a few friends together to pitch in for the price of an annual membership at a place like Sam’s Club or Costco.
  7. Buy in bulk. You’ll save money per unit for a pack of twelve bars of soap versus singles.
  8. Save time and transportation money by shopping online. Make sure you choose an e-tailer with free shipping.
  9. Save money in decorating the dorm room by shopping at discount stores and maybe a yard sale or two. The Pottery Barn dorm room may be great, but it’s definitely not on the bargain table.
  10. Don’t shop hungry, and that goes for any kind of shopping. If you’re in the grocery store, you’ll grab more and spend more; if you’re somewhere else you’ll probably spend more than you planned getting something to eat. Carry a snack in your purse or backpack.
  11. Learn how to shop for clothes at the consignment shop. Today’s second-hand is nothing like your mother’s thrift store. In fact, these places are regularly trafficked by college students and others for the great finds in name brand, “gently used” clothes and accessories.
  12. While we’re on the subject of saving on clothes shopping, remember to make sure your fine consignment garments are washable versus “dry clean only.”


Most of us have come to expect that we simply need to move around. Think foot power and you will already have taken steps to align yourself with a saving frame of mind.

  1. Try to get an appartment which is close to campus.
  2. Don’t take the car to campus. You will spend money on parking and gas, at the very least. Having no car will keep you closer to campus as well.
  3. Walk, bike, roller blade, skateboard your way around town.
  4. Public transportation is cheap, too.


At some point it’s likely you will have to decide the best and least expensive route from point A to point B. It may be national or international, but you always have a cheaper choice.

Spring Break Dude.
  1. Save money by doing the least amount of traveling necessary. Road trips are great fun, but you will put out money for gas, accommodations, food, drink andentertainment. When it’s all said and done, your long weekend will smack your wallet.
  2. Name your own price for a flight or accommodations, if you must travel, by using services such as Priceline. Factors such as current events and gas prices may cause travel prices to fluctuate.
  3. Check prices for Amtrak or Greyhound versus air travel. Both companies offer student discounts.
  4. A student travel discount card will get you nice discounts on accommodations, food, and transportation if you are traveling nationally or internationally:
  5. Carpool home for the holidays. When everyone splits the cost of gas, it’s pretty darn cheap.
  6. Nearly all money experts say “Skip Spring Break!” Some students even choose to engage in community service during spring break.

The Cost of Keeping in Touch

Communicating with friends and family can run you into steep monthly costs if you are not willing to think outside the box.

  1. Join your parents’ family cell phone plan. It is usually much cheaper than a standalone account.
  2. Refer to cell phone comparison sites that offer side-by-side data of plans from company to company. Save time and save money on your next cell phone plan:
  3. Avoid text messaging. You can easily text your way to hundreds of dollars in extra fees. Also, because text messaging is charged both to the sender as well as the receiver, ask your friends to refrain from texting you, too. Make a phone call when you are able (and during your free minutes) or send an email instead. Some cell phone plans come bundled with a maximum number of free text messages. Know how many you can send or receive without being charged extra.
  4. Use a pay-as-you-go cell phone plan. This will only work if you use your cell phone on a minimal basis.
  5. Communicate via email, instant messangers, create a blog, share photos on Flickr, or invite friends to visit your MySpace site.
  6. Use an inexpensive or free internet phone calling service. Once upon a time the sound quality and incidence of dropped digital data packets was high, but VoIP calls have come a long way, baby. Some families, especially those spread far and wide, even international, subscribe to an online conference service. Here everyone in the group may participate in a group meeting, share photos, keep current with goings on, etc.7
    • Skype - eBay's VoIP service. Offers free incoming and outgoing calls in some areas.
    • Vonage - VoIP service provider
    • Google Talk - Google's voice enabled instant messaging service which allows you to leave voicemails
    • Trillian & Gaim - instant messaging services that interface with most major IM services
    • Facebook - Social networking site, very popular with the college generation
    • Family and friend conference calls
  7. If you are traveling, especially out of the country, catch up with friends and family before you leave, and check into the various international calling cards available.


We’ve included toiletries, personal grooming and laundry in this category - the annoying, so-not-fun expenses that are perhaps some of the most spendy. Girl Brushing Teeth.

  1. Ladies, how ‘bout forego the salon nails for the year. Instead make it a girl’s night in and do each other’s nails. Same thing for waxes and facials.
  2. You don’t have to let your hair grow to your knees, but you don’t have to choose the toniest “hair design” spot in town either. Shop around for a salon that offers student discounts. Have a cosmetology school nearby? They will charge much less for cuts, highlights and color in exchange for the use of your head. Also, funkier little salon/barbershops offer great services, for a fraction of the cost; you just need to be a bit adventurous.
  3. Share the cost for personal toiletries. This works well if you share a room, apartment or suite with others and can agree on products that suit both or all: soap, shampoo, blow dryer, curling iron, hair spray, conditioner, package of razors, shaving cream, lotions, toothpaste, mouth wash, etc. We don't recommend sharing your tooth brush though ;)
  4. Whether you share or not, it’s always a cost-saver to avoid high-end grooming products. You don’t really need the most expensive shampoo or facial scrub to keep yourself looking good. High-end products can run you between $10 and $20 per product. Buy affordable and quality products at much lower prices.
  5. Shop for your personal items at a discount retailer. Money strategists suggest buying the “store brand” as a cost-saving alternative, as well.
  6. Doing laundry costs money. A machine load of laundry costs at least a $1, and in most places a good bit more than that. Don’t drop your laundry at a service, stay and wash it yourself. Spend the time studying or decide to use laundry time to catch up on your favorite magazine or book. Maximize your laundry savings in the following ways:
    • Bring your own detergent versus buying the single use from the machines.
    • Buy discounted detergent or on sale only.
    • Bring your own drink and/or snack versus buying from the vending machine.
    • Fill the machines to capacity.
  7. If you are totally outraged with the cost to wash and dry at the nearest laundry joint or your residence laundry machines, then shop for cheaper at another nearby residential building. Most have laundry rooms. Keep your ear to the ground for the best cost per load deal in the area and only wash when it’s necessary.8 You can always hand wash a few items to get you through to wash day.


If you are already involved with an athletic program, you will have plenty of opportunity to travel off campus and socialize with other students. Meals will typically be covered during team travel, too. If you are on an athletic scholarship you will already have plenty of time scheduled for practice and games or competition to worry about money.

Mario Dance Dance Revolution.
  1. Join a club or intramural sport. It will gain you instant friends and offer no-cost exercise and socialization.
  2. Buy an exercise video game. A console and exercise game together cost under $200 and offer weeks or months of fun. Who knew you could lose weight playing video games? Playstation 2 offers a video game called Kinetic - The Personal Fitness Trainer. And as if that wasn't good enough, why not give Dance Dance Revolution Mario Mix a try!
  3. If you need music to help you have the motivation to exercise, iPods and similar devices can be bought for around $100. Many music fans also take advantage of low download costs or free downloadable music offers.
  4. Ask someone to sponsor you for a marathon or other run. People do it all the time for charities. Turn paying for your education into a noble cause.
  5. Enroll in an on-campus exercise class such as yoga, tai chi, kick-boxing or spinning. Exercise will keep you healthier and happier and will fill up time you might otherwise have spent spending money.
  6. Feeling down and getting the urge to splurge? Instead go for a run, a bike ride, or a brisk walk. You’ll get some exercise-induced serotonin coursing through your brain and the feeling will cost you nothing.
  7. Get a dog. While feeding them may seem expensive, they offer low cost company ready for a walk if you get lonely or might not exercise as much as you should. Dogs love exercise.

Amazing Dog.

Make a Few Bucks

No one says you have to hold down a traditional part-time job, but there are tons of ways to make an extra buck or two while you’re in college.

  1. We're not endorsing prostitution, but if you can give some of yourself by donating blood plasma, you can net an extra couple hundred dollars a month. But, be careful if you try combining this with alchohol. ;)
  2. Volunteer for a medical study. Most do not require much time and you get paid!
  3. Sell your expertise in a subject as a tutor, computer skills, music lessons.
  4. Get a job in the food service industry. Chances are high that you can eat for free!
  5. If you are a true subject matter expert why not create a website about your favorite topics? Many people make a few hundred to few thousand dollars a month from Google AdSense, by publishing relevant contextual ads on their websites.
  6. Be your campus computer tech. Troubleshoot computer issues in exchange for a few bucks or a beer. Make yourself available in a pinch.
  7. Solicit grad students for help with their dissertation research, proofreading, editing or document typing and formatting.
  8. Don't forget to work extra and save up during the summer to make the school year more comfortable.
  9. Offer a resume writing service. This can make you quite a bit of extra pocket money. But put it in savings.

Good luck! If you think “thrifty” we think you could possibly leave college with a little in your savings account to show for your hard work and efforts.

Happy Cartwheel.


  1. “Counting Coin Machine Accuracy,” WKRC 12 Cincinnati.
  2. “Frequently Asked Questions About College Binge Drinking,” AlchoholPolicyMD.com.
  3. “When Not to Tip,” Pizza Driver Homepage.
  4. “HP Plans Discounts for Student PCs,” Tom Krazit.
  5. “Should You Insure College-Bound Computers?” Robin Raskin
  6. “Computer and Printer Prices Go Down,” Clark Howard.com
  7. “New Phoning Options Can Save Money on Calls” Ohio.com
  8. “Clean Clothes More Costly on Campus,” Angela Kuharski

Works Cited

Akron Beacon Journal: Ohio.com. New Phoning Options Can Save Money On Calls. [updated 8 September 2006; cited 20 September 2006]. Available from http://www.ohio.com/mld/ohio/business/15468451.htm.

AlchoholPolicyMD.com. Frequently Asked Questions About College Binge Drinking. [updated Sun, 11 Jun 2006; cited 20 September 2006]. Available from

Clark Howard. Protecting Your Computer. [updated 2006; cited 20 September 2006]. Available from http://clarkhoward.com/shownotes/category/8/37/.

Krazit, Tom. “HP Plans Discounts for Student PCs.” CNET News. [updated 12 July 2006; cited 20 September 2006]. Available from http://news.com.com/HP+plans+discounts+for+student+PCs/2100-1044_3-6093354.html.

Kuharski, Angela. “Clean Clothes More Costly on Campus.” The Aquin. [updated 12 October 2001; cited 20 September 2006]. Available from http://www.stthomas.edu/aquin/archive/101201/laundry.html.

Pizza Driver Homepage. When Not to Tip. [updated 13 January 2006; cited 20 September 2006]. Available from http://tipthepizzaguy.com/nottotip/.

Raskin, Robin. “Should You Insure College-Bound Computers?” Yahoo! Tech. [updated 9 August 2006; cited 20 September 2006]. Available from http://tech.yahoo.com/blogs/raskin/935;_ylt=Ap6qSN0mdkfib.Qz59kFakghLpA5.

WKRC 12 Cincinnati: Trouble Shooter. Counting Coin Machine Accuracy. [updated 2 December 2004; cited 20 September 2006]. Available from http://www.wkrc.com/heyhoward/story.aspx?content_id=75FE4E41-EFCE-408D-A6A7-F51D167F93E1.

Further Reading

MacRumors: Apple Education Store

The Dollar Stretcher: Living Better for Less

The Clark Howard Show

ThriftyFun.com, Save money doing just about everything.

How To Get Free Food in College, Ron Ben-Meir, CCC Publishing, February 2001.

Broke! A College Student’s Guide to Getting By on Less, Kaplan, December 1,2003.