College education often comes with a hefty price, and it is important for students to evaluate spending habits and consider inexpensive alternatives. Use this list to stretch your dollar in college.

  1. Rent and buy used textbooks.
  2. Consider renting used textbooks instead of purchasing them.
  3. Cut out expensive cable packages.
  4. Freeze food so it lasts longer.
  5. Make your own coffee.
  6. Don’t buy music; use free versions of music streaming services like Pandora and Spotify.
  7. If you can pass a course exam early and expedite your college journey, you may be able to save on tuition.
  8. Keep your loose change. It all adds up, and you can exchange it for larger bills or deposit them to your account later.
  9. Create a budget and track what you are spending. Notice where most of your money is going and areas to cut back on.
  10. Take advantage of programs and companies that offer discounts. Consult a list by The Simple Dollar, which provides deals on clothes, tech, travel and more.
  11. Look into discounts colleges offer on technology, computers and laptops. Many colleges also provide a free version of Microsoft Office.
  12. Part-time jobs or freelancing can offer extra cash.
  13. Make your monthly credit card payments on time.
  14. Perform routine maintenance checks on your car, if you have one.
  15. Use Craigslist or Facebook (many schools have “Free” and “For Sale” pages) to buy / sell furniture, clothes, etc.
  16. Take advantage of free activities on campus rather than spending money elsewhere.
  17. Consider using the on-campus wellness or fitness center instead of paying for a gym membership.
  18. Consider living with roommates and splitting your rent cost.
  19. Pursue scholarships even beyond freshman year. Consult this list of STEM scholarships for eligible students to help guide you in your search.
  20. Get a free checking and savings account. Credit unions usually have many features geared toward students, or an on-campus bank may offer deals for students.
  21. Look for affordable, gently used furniture.
  22. Save money on A/C and electricity by turning off lights, use the oven sparingly and take shorter showers.
  23. Do your own laundry rather than taking it to a service.
  24. Volunteer for a study, many departments need volunteers and most of them compensate participants.
  25. Purchase generic products such as trash bags and dish soap from discount or dollar stores, which tend to be cheaper. Those $1 to $2 differences add up.
  26. Consider participating in intramural sports or activities hosted on campus instead of paying for a gym membership.
  27. Don’t go to the grocery store when you are hungry. Instead, make a list and stick to it.
  28. Take advantage of free events at your university.
  29. Think about becoming a Resident Assistant (RA) if your campus offers on-campus housing. Most universities offer a free room and meal plan and some even provide a stipend.
  30. Use the University’s Career Services Office to your advantage. It is free and you can receive resume assistance and help finding an internship or employment opportunities.

If you are interested in other ways to save money during your college career, visit our database of STEM scholarships. In addition, reference our cost of college article to find out how to estimate the price tag of a college education and potential hidden costs.


Stem Study Blog