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Creative ways to save money in college

ProWriterProWriter Posts: 1Registered User New Member
edited November 2007 in College Life
I am writing an article on this topic and would love to hear how you have managed to save money here and there while in college. From clipping to coupons to eating nothing but Kraft's boxed mac and cheese, what have you done to cut your cost of living in college? I'm especially interested in any unusual ways you have saved money. Thanks!
Post edited by ProWriter on
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Replies to: Creative ways to save money in college

  • willmingtonwavewillmingtonwave Posts: 3,344Registered User Senior Member
    buy coffee at the grocery store. that can save A LOT of money. You figure 1.50 for a cup of coffee at a Starbucks or whatever. Everyday for a month that is $45 dollars roughly. You can buy a bag of ground coffee for like 5 dollars and that could last you the month.

    Also take food from the cafeteria or whatever and put it in your backpack for later.
  • 1989DC1989DC Posts: 263Registered User Junior Member
    what? 1.50 for a cup of coffee? its almost 5$ here in nyc. pple drink it daily
  • ChamilitaryMayneChamilitaryMayne Posts: 781Registered User Member
    they are talking about a regular small cup of coffee not some mochalattecrappucinotivo
  • kwtortoisekwtortoise Posts: 654Registered User Member
    I heard of a guy who lived in a closet...really. He rented the walk-in closet of his friend's off campus house because it was a really big closet.

    Mostly it comes down to finding cheap housing, buying books online or not at all, buying things with coupons and on sale at the grocery store, getting things you need like clothes for holidays, etc.

    I've done a lot of those things. Also, having your money work for you. I charge everything on my American Express card (and pay it off every month). I have one of those that gives you cash back. It all adds up.

    Also, have an online savings account with over 5% interest. Don't just let your money sit in your checking account.

    I've also worked a lot. I found a job where I can do homework some of the time, and I work about the most my school lets me.
  • phobosphobos Posts: 616Registered User Member
    rice and beans man, rice and beans...


    seriously. if you season it right, the combo tastes amazing...complex carbs, protein, filling...a 5 lbs bag of rice is maybe $3 (i just bought some today...forgot exactly how much i paid haha), and a large can of black beans can cost $1. you can literally feed yourself for at least two days on less than $4-5, whereas a single meal at your campus commons may cost anywhere from $6-8.
  • 43212344321234 Posts: 926Registered User Member
    live with your parents. ha.

    i tried not to buy books as much as possible. i just read it at the library, or borrow friends' books. and i sign up for cards that give points.

    kwtortoise - which online savings account?
  • ianqianq Posts: 5Registered User New Member
    Speaking of online accounts, I'm using CapitalOne right now which gives me miles and 4.66%. Try using Tuition Management Systems (afford.com) - this way you can pay for school in monthly rates and you can have most of your money sit in the bank at ~5% and make a few bucks this way. I'm estimating to make/save around $300-400 this year (earned in interest) this way.

    Also, our bookstore here on campus has the tendency to overprice books (surprise!). I find the books online for cheap and order a few copies and sell them to friends for cheap. Example from 2 semesters ago: Used book at the bookstore: $60 | Online: $10 | Sold to 3 friends: $40 each | Bottom line: I made around $90. Every buck counts :-)

    Lastly, I sent a letter to financial aid/trustees for this and last year "begging" for more assistance. In the letter I told them how much I thank them for their help and what I've been able to accomplish so far in my school career (2x Dean's list in 4 semesters, etc etc). Then I told them how eternally grateful I will be if they could help me out one "last" time. I've gotten $2,000 extra in financial aid this way over two years :-)
  • Nickel XenonNickel Xenon Posts: 3,067Registered User Senior Member
    A dollar fifty for coffee at Starbucks?! No way! It's around three fifty anywhere.
  • Student615Student615 Posts: 1,885Registered User Senior Member
    Our newspaper once ran a story to see whether it was possible to eat on-campus for free. Without ever going to the dining hall, asking unreasonable favors, eating off campus, stealing, or cooking for herself, she managed. She spent the week going to catered lunchtime lectures, catered dinners, club meetings with snacks, and random other stuff (like hanging out at the campus coffee shop five minutes to closing, when the day-old bagels got put up for grabs).

    She didn't recommend the idea, but it did work :)
  • ChamilitaryMayneChamilitaryMayne Posts: 781Registered User Member
    yeah it's definitely possible to eat for free on campus if you attend a few functions a day
  • phobosphobos Posts: 616Registered User Member
    A dollar fifty for coffee at Starbucks?! No way! It's around three fifty anywhere.
    again, it was mentioned above, but for a straight cup of black coffee, i'd be hard pressed to believe it would cost more than $2.50. even the two Starbucks on my campus (USC, where anything on campus costs twice as much as it should) charge $1.65 for a tall cup, and not considerably more for a venti. and at the student run cafe which serves amazing fair-trade coffee it's $1.00 for a "grande-sized" cup of coffee, $.75 if you bring your own mug. so i guess that's another tip/trick...look for those discounts for small things like bringing your own mug.
  • kwtortoisekwtortoise Posts: 654Registered User Member
    I've used ING and FNBO for online banking in the past, and right now I have HSBC. FNBO was horrible with customer service, and I didn't even feel my money was safe there. ING is the best for customer service, but HSBC had the highest rate last I knew. They seem to switch around having one of the banks have a good introductory rate, and then it goes down to average after awhile.

    On my campus, there is tons of free food. Our student government office always has coffee, lemonade/Gatorade, filtered water, candy, and snacks. I go in there a lot! A lot of club meetings use food to attract people too.
  • SockRolidSockRolid Posts: 1Registered User New Member
    Smoke bowls instead of blunts!
  • PearlinthemistPearlinthemist Posts: 697Registered User Member
    In addition to what others have mentioned, I find I can pull in some extra cash every now & then by selling stuff on craigslist. Sales are especially good around mid-late august when everyone is moving & putting perfectly good furniture in the dumpster area of apartment complexes. If I see something perfectly good the in the dumpster area of my complex, I'll take it back to my apartment, clean it off & then put up a craigslist ad. If it doesn't sell, no biggy.. I'll give it to goodwill.
  • aalder4x4aalder4x4 Posts: 46Registered User Junior Member
    I also have an HSBC online savings account, and I just opened an E-trade brokerage account. If you know anything about it you can put money in ETF's or stocks or mutual funds from the same account, and have the option for the money that just sits in the account to recieve municipal money market dividends.

    If you haven't seen this before it will save you so much money. Go to the bookstore and get the ISBN off the books you need (I put it in my phone so nobody says anything) and go to Find the cheapest textbooks and used college books by comparing prices at multiple college bookstores and type in the ISBN. It searches the cheapest books through tons of places such as amazon, barnes and noble, and tons more.

    Also creating an account with amazon.com and selling your used textbooks there instead of the bookstore. Should get back most of what you paid for them if you bought them used.
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