College Planning

Five Ways to Save Money During College

This article describes several ways students can save money in college, such as taking advantage of on-campus amenities and using a meal plan, in order to graduate with less debt.

5 Ways to Save Money During College

How to Save Money While in College

From tuition to textbooks, to food costs and transportation, college students today have to balance their checkbooks along with their class schedules in order to make their money stretch further. This means being smarter about finances and resisting the temptation to rack up credit card debt and find other easy ways to save.¹

Here are some ways to save money during college so you can really celebrate on graduation day.

1. Consider your transportation options

At the beginning of each semester, ask classmates with the similar class schedules if they’d be interested in carpooling. Also, consider your local bus system. Many universities have regularly scheduled bus services that run at various intervals to and from campuses. Finally, if you feel safe and live close enough, consider walking or riding your bike. All of these options can save you a lot of money on gas and parking passes.

2. Use your meal plan

Most college cafeterias have come a long way from trays of overcooked food and menus that cycle through the same meals each week. Today there are a variety of healthy options in every price range that should be enough to keep you from eating out seven days a week. Instead, reserve eating out for special occasions and get the most out of your on-campus prepaid meal plan. And, if you want to be adventurous, try cooking your own food. Just make sure the menu is economical. Enlist your roommates, cook for a crowd, and share the ingredient costs.

3. Don’t pay a fortune for textbooks

Ask any college student about the cost of textbooks and they’ll tell you how ridiculously expensive new books can be. Instead, troll the Internet for bargains. Websites that include eBay and Amazon.com offer a variety of new, used, rental, and even eTextbooks that can save you hundreds of dollars every year.

4. Take advantage of amenities

Like a good hotel, your campus comes equipped with a variety of free or low-cost amenities. For example, on campus fitness facilities that are typically open to all students contain cardio machines, weights, and group exercise classes with no contract fees or monthly dues. And when it comes to leisure time, be sure to take advantage of on-campus lectures, seminars, and concerts. College libraries are full of movie rentals and host film events that can offer you fun, free entertainment.

5. Seek out student-friendly work

Your college may offer work-study programs. In addition, many seasonal businesses hire students for the summer or peak holiday periods. Some companies even offer paid internships to students. And don’t forget to check your school’s reader board for picking up odd jobs on the weekends, which can help offset expenses and add valuable paid experience to your resume.

College is a time for education, but also a time for growth. Learning how to save while in college gives you the financial tools and confidence to graduate with less debt and be better prepared to manage your finances.

1."Student Debt," Debt.org

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How to Save Money in College

College students today are paying more for tuition than ever before. Extra money is hard to come by. This article explores how to save money in college by considering your transportation options, using your meal plan, saving on textbooks, taking advantage of on-campus amenities and seeking out student-friendly work. By saving money while in college, you can truly celebrate on graduation day. For more information, visit our learning center.


All Learning Center articles are general summaries that can be used when considering your financial future at various life stages. The information presented is for educational purposes and is meant to supplement other information specific to your situation. It is not intended as investment advice and does not necessarily represent the opinion of Protective Life or its subsidiaries.

Learning Center articles may describe services and financial products not offered by Protective Life or its subsidiaries. Descriptions of financial products contained in Learning Center articles are not intended to represent those offered by Protective Life or its subsidiaries.

Neither Protective Life nor its representatives offer legal or tax advice. We encourage you to consult with your financial adviser and legal or tax adviser regarding your individual situations before making investment, social security, retirement planning, and tax-related decisions. For information about Protective Life and its products and services, visit www.protective.com.

Companies and organizations linked from Learning Center articles have no affiliation with Protective Life or its subsidiaries.

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