Everybody loves a life hack, and students are no different. If you’re in college or just about to set off for the Great Unknown, you have to know how to be frugal and save money on campus while still being able to have fun. It’s a delicate balance between sacrifice and indulgence, and can sometimes be difficult for college students to master. But with these six college money hacks any student can manage to get what they want while getting what they need.

1. No Car, No Problem

When you have a car on campus, it’s an easy way to get around and an easy way to spend too much money.

Gas is expensive, and you’re bound to get a ticket or two. Throw that on top of miscellaneous expenses you might not have planned for, and you have a recipe for financial disaster.

Unless you attend a commuter campus, it’s just not worth having a vehicle.

Most universities offer great alternatives to help students travel as freely as if they had a car.

  • Rideshare programs
  • Shuttles and trollies
  • Party buses
  • Hitching rides with friends and carpooling
  • Public transit

Most campuses have plenty of everyday stores within walking distance. Uber is also a good service to use and often has promo codes, so if you have to go somewhere that you can’t walk to, you won’t feel totally stranded.

2. Show Your I.D.

There’s no need to sacrifice entertainment or shopping just because you’re on a budget.

There are so many retailers and restaurants that have student discounts. But it’s rare they advertise unless you’re in a small college town.

Check out some of these popular restaurants and retailers next time you’re feeling frivolous and still save yourself a few bucks:

  • Chipotle
  • Subway
  • AMC Theatres
  • Charlotte Russe
  • Apple Store
  • Waffle House


3. Nightly Specials

Another great way to save money when it comes to food is by taking advantage of happy hours.

Restaurants want to get a variety of people in, so they offer a variety of specials like half-priced apps, dollar beers, or 25-cent wings. Try looking for places that offer trivia, darts, pool, or corn hole that doesn’t cost extra. You can kill two birds with one stone by getting entertainment and socialization on the cheap.

4. Get Cultured on Campus

I don’t understand the stigma around college-hosted events, but if you attend a big university, chances are there’s something going on almost every day or night.

From poetry readings to movies on the lawn to concerts, many colleges offer entertainment opportunities to encourage students to build a campus community.

Most times this costs nothing, or you can bring your own food and drinks. Best of all, no wasted gas money and you can stumble back to your dorm whenever you’re good and ready.

5. Save on Textbooks

Most students realize the value of saving money on textbooks, but what are the best ways?

  • Rent from online sources like Chegg (coupons here) or Amazon
  • Share books with trusted classmates
  • Get the ebook version
  • Just wait to see if you need those pricey textbooks

You can go one step further and stop at the campus or local library and see what they have in the stacks and just borrow what you need for free.

6. Money Saving Memberships

Amazon Student is probably one of the best investments a student can make.

With exclusive access to movies, music, and Kindle books, in addition to free shipping, you’re set for the semester. Use it to order textbooks on the cheap or other school supplies with FREE two-day shipping.

At just $49 (instead of the full $99/year), a year with a .edu email address students can get what they need, when they need it. This is probably the most versatile college money hack you can have in your arsenal.

Put your money hacks to the test from ditching the car to consolidating textbook needs and you’ll find that there’s more than one way to make ends meet with only a little sacrifice.

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