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Top 10 Money-Saving Tricks For Students You Wish You'd Known Sooner

VO: Emily Brayton
Script written by Michael Wynands Being a student is tough! Being on a student budget isn’t easy but thankfully there’s some great money saving tips out there to save you some big bucks. Don’t be shy to apply for scholarships even those you don’t think you’d get it. You have nothing to lose! Try and eat out less and pack your lunch instead. It might seem like it won’t make a difference but it all adds up!
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Top 10 Money Saving Tricks for Students


As a wise duo once said, you “don’t need dolla bills to have fun tonight”. Welcome to MsMojo, and today we’ll be counting down the Top 10 Money Saving Tricks for Students.

For this list, we’re looking at some of the best tips, tricks and strategies to manage your funds and minimize debt while you’re still in school.

#10: Apply for Scholarships

As the old adage goes, “you don’t know if you never try.” Unless you’re a straight-A student with a long list of extracurriculars and volunteering to your name, scholarships and bursaries often feel like a lost cause. With so many eligible candidates, you’ll surely get lost in the shuffle, right? Not necessarily. There are many scholarships out there with a wide variety of specific focuses. Whether you’re academically, artistically, or athletically-inclined, or have a strangely-specific talent, there’s likely a scholarship out there for you. Also make sure to look into local and regional scholarships, as they’re often less well-publicized and can therefore be less competitive.

#9: Take Advantage of Student Activities

Cultivating a social life can come with a hefty price tag in university. If you’re in a city with a vibrant nightlife or a popular bar scene then you might finding yourself blowing through your budget WAY faster than you’d like. Thankfully, the many student groups on campus will have you covered. The various student associations, unions, and clubs typically organize a wide assortment of activities throughout the school year, from live music and movie screenings to parties and sporting events. Typically the price of this on-campus entertainment will run anywhere from “free” to “extremely affordable.” So why not stay in and mingle with your fellow students?

#8: Do Clothing Swaps

No one wants to head out to campus events wearing the same old outfit. As much as we try to diminish the importance of appearances and emphasize personality over style, people enjoy looking good and sometimes that means changing up your style. You’re now a part of a massive community of similarly-aged and like-minded individuals, so why pay retail prices when you can shop among your peers? Clothing swaps have become an increasingly popular campus event where students can mingle and get rid of the clothes they’ve grown tired of in exchange for something new. Or at least new to them.

#7: Just Stay In

Granted, this can’t be your solution EVERY night, but by entertaining yourself at home a few evenings a week, you can save big. In theory it’s not hard to stay in, but many people struggle to break free of the mentality that having fun only happens when you go out. Your home, be it an apartment, a room at your parents, or even a dorm room can be plenty of fun if you change your relationship with the space. Binge-watching Netflix or YouTube is an obvious choice, but that can get a little stale. Why not have a few friends over to play board games? Or if you feel like getting your party on, try some drinking games!

#6: Borrow From the Library

Internet on campus might be restricted, capped, or just plain slow. Though streaming may be the modern method of media consumption, when you’re at University you may find yourself needing to consider some outdated technology… like DVDs or Blu-Rays. Scoff all you want, but there’s something fun and nostalgic about picking out a DVD with friends and committing to it. Rather than going to the movies, hit up the campus library and peruse what’s likely to be a sizeable DVD collection. It’s like living next to video store, only free. Some libraries even carry board games, comics, and more. So shut off your laptop and get ready to embrace free entertainment.

#5: Claim Free Furniture Left Behind

Even if you’re lucky enough to have a dorm stocked with furniture, it’s unlikely to be a comfortable setup. Considering you’ll be calling this place home, you want to make the space your own using fun furnishings with personality. Unfortunately you’ll probably be working with extremely limited room, some of which you might be sharing with strangers, so it doesn’t make sense to invest in expensive furnishings. Plus no one wants to lug old furniture home after graduation, so as tempting as it is don’t waste good money on new pieces. Outgoing students tend to leave a lot of furniture behind, so try to stake your claim on things before they hit the curb or take some time to browse free stuff on Craigslist!

#4. Use Your Student Discount

That student ID card you get comes with more perks than just getting through school security. As a student you’re part of a coveted demographic that businesses want to attract both locally and online by offering special offers and student pricing. And while a 10 to 15% discount doesn’t sound like a lot at first, spread out over the course of your undergrad and across the various businesses and services it applies to, that’s going to amount to some serious savings. Most places won’t go out of their way to give you the discount though, so it’s up to you to inquire about a possible price cut.

#3: Make a Budget

We know, you’re sick of hearing it from your parents and older siblings, but it bears repeating. If you’re going to get through university without acquiring crippling debt, you’ve got to set yourself a budget and stick to it. Even if you consider yourself to be a generally frugal person, spending without a plan can result in financial problems that you won’t see coming until it’s too late. Thankfully, there are countless free resources online designed specifically to help students create realistic, functional budgets to keep their financial lives in order. Ask around, your university may even offer free tools or workshops.

#2: Pack a Lunch and Snacks

A big portion of that aforementioned budget is going to need to be allocated to food. If you lived at home until university, chances are you’ve never had to buy groceries for yourself and the cost may come as a bit of a shock. But failing to get a handle on it early can ruin you. If, on the other hand, you make a meal plan and stick to it, then you can eat well without breaking the bank. There’s one caveat though: you have to avoid eating out. Buying food between classes can add up fast, so packing your meals and afternoon snacks is paramount to your success.

Before we unveil our top pick, here are a few honorable mentions:
Become an RA (Resident Assistant):
Sell your Textbooks:
Use Coupons

#1: Borrow Textbooks Instead of Buying Them

The textbook system in university may not be a scam, but it's not always money well-spent either. Dropping hundreds of dollars a semester on books you might use for a few months doesn’t seem right, especially when the bookstore buy-back rates are typically low. Thankfully, your campus library is there for you. As long as you’re willing to plan your study sessions early, it can be as simple as going to the library, pulling out the reserve copy of the textbook, and photocopying the pages you need for that week. Sure it takes a little more time and organization, but it’ll save you a fortune in the long run!

Do you agree with our list? Can you think of any other techniques for saving money while in school? For more educational top 10s published every day, be sure to subscribe to MsMojo.

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