With so many huge life events happening all at once at these rosy headquarters (ie: graduate UPenn, launch a business, buy a house, get hitched), it’s safe to say that I’ve gotten *really* pro at saving $$$. I’ve mentioned it before, but I didn’t grow up rollin’ in the dough. But, I firmly believe that it’s possible to live a full, happy life on a bargain budget.
Being a recent college grad, saving money for college (and saving while in college) is fresh on the mind. I was lucky enough to have a fabulous scholarship at Penn, but saving money wherever possible was still essential. So, going along with the recent slew of collegiate-centric goodies from my fab intern Sarah, here are eight unexpected ways to save money in college. (Bonus: Some work well outside of school years, too!)
- Re-evaluate subscriptions. Go back through allllllll of your current technology and subscription services, etc. Do you really need Hulu AND Netflix? Are you fully using the entirety of your data plan? That makeup subscription service…do you use + love your samples, or do most end up in the back of your drawer? Cut back where you can, and you’ll find yourself saving hundreds of bucks at a time.
- Download the apps. Money saving apps are clutch. Some apps are coupon-heavy, so they’ll notify you when their sense via location services that you’re entering a store with an available coupon. Others can email you once a week with upcoming deals. Then there’s the apps that track your money for you and help set money goals, so you can *really* see where your $$$ are going.
- Take on work study. Yes, this is a money-making tactic, but it’s a good option that helps you save down the road! If you qualify, check out your school’s options for work study (ie, when you’re allowed to work in some way to earn money fo’ yo’self, and it’s based on your determined financial need). The school doesn’t pay your full salary – the government chips in – so it’s advantageous for schools to offer ample work study options because they get labor without even paying fully for it themselves. Many work study jobs are around campus, so it’s an easy way to get a convenient job right where you’re working + studying anyways.
- Upromise. If you’re going to be restricted to online shopping in college, you should get paid to do it, amiright? #perks. Upromise lets you earn up to 5% cash back for college. Via Upromise.com you get up to 5% cash back through some 850+ online retailers and online travel partners. You can easily link up your current credit card to your Upromise account for easy shopping, or have a parent register their own card, too, for even more savings.
- Be an RA. I know, I know…it’s not the life for all. But hear me out. I was an RA for freshmen for my last two years of school. The pros vs. cons of that would make a whole blog post by itself (Wouldja want that? Comment below!), but y’all, your room + board is covered. As in, you don’t have to pay for it anymore. I don’t know about you, but I’d say not having to pay for rent or meals is a hella good way to save money in college, dontcha think?
- Save on room décor. Time to get to Pinterest and get creative! As much as you think you need your dorm room to go viral on Refinery29 for being the cutest space on campus…you need money more. Unless you’re a total homebody that doesn’t plan on going out with friends, studying in the library, hitting any local hot spots, or doing regular coffee dates…you likely won’t spend as much time in your bedroom space as you *think* you will. String cheap Christmas lights, grab cheap + smart storage, print photos to use as décor (I have both puttied photos to form an entire wall of photos, and strung them with string), and DIY whatever you can instead of splurging the big bucks on overpriced Pottery Barn or Bed, Bath & Beyond campus-themed “essentials.”
- Buy books smart! This one is the big kahuna for college kiddos across the country. Textbooks? HELLA EXPENSIVE. And ain’t nobody got time (or cash) for $300 books x 5 classes x 2 semesters per year…#math. First things first: do your due diligence. Ask your professor or teacher’s assistant if the book is essential to the class. If it is (because sometimes, it’s not…and your prof should be nice enough to tell you whether or not he/she uses the book at all!), try to find some campus Facebook groups that re-sell textbooks. Upperclassmen are *always* looking to sell their gently used books that they don’t need anymore (cos ain’t nobody got time to peruse Biological Basis of Behavior for funsies). Check out Amazon – you can Prime used books straight to your dorm room AND get a student discount for Prime! There are way too many smart, money-saving options when it comes to textbooks that you’d be stupid to not carpe diem on ‘em.
- Pre-plan with the roomie from the get go. Once you know who your lucky roommate is going to be, plan ahead of time who is bringing what. If there’s something you can share physically and financially, do it! Figure out your room layout as much as possible ahead of time. Need a microwave? A Swiffer broom? Toilet paper? Newsflash…you both do. Go halfsies and save those Benjamins.
And voila – hundreds (thousands, actually) of moola, saved just fo’ you. Saving money in college isn’t hard – it’s smart. And since you’ve gotten this far already…I just know you can handle it.
Which of these tips to save money is most relevant to you? Or if you’re a graduate already, how did you save money in college?
I’d lovelovelove to hear your own best tips + tricks, because this girl could always use a lil’ cash. 😉 Drop them in a comment below!
*This post is in partnership with Upromise. As always, all opinions and thoughts presented are entirely my own. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Coming Up Roses!