- Save Money On Gas by Using Carpool Websites
Are you driving home for the holidays but don’t like to pay large amounts for gas? Many friends of mine have been sticklers about getting across the country, usually hammering out the excuse that they are a poor college student.There are plenty of carpooling websites out there that help split the cost of long trips back home or road trips during Spring Break.carpool.ridester.com is a great website to search for trips around the country. If you’re a driver going across the country, you set the price of how much you need to pick someone up and drop them off on your way. If you’re a rider with no car, you simply input the cities you’re departing from and arriving in and it pulls up a list of drivers that plan to be in the area along that route.Craigslist also has an entire area devoted to this, though you usually have to negotiate prices.
- Vacation Time? Earn Free Miles
Millennials are the shyest generation when it comes to signing up for credit cards. Some forums and websites (1*) on the internet discourage people from getting a credit card just for the reward benefits they offer but if you’re an avid traveler, it’s a must.Plus, if you travel out of the country often you probably want a way to pay for everything without having to pay budget-busting international fees every time you need a few bottles of water.In fact, I used this entire system to pay for most of my plane tickets for a seven week trip through 8 countries in South America. I payed next to nothing. Many credit cards have signing bonuses that are upwards of 100,000 points (miles) (1) that you can use towards any flight.The downside to this system is to get that initial jump in points, you usually have to spend a specific amount of money on that card within a limited time period (most are $2,000-4,000 within the first two-three months).
If you know you’re going to spend that much money in your day-to-day spending within that time period or you’re gearing up to buy some big ticket items (hello, school books and laptop!!!) sign up for the credit card before hand and charge those things onto that card. Voilà! Free plane ticket!
- Stop Eating Out!
I know you took a Home Education class in high school! Go and buy a cheap cooking book in the discount aisle at your local Barnes and Nobles.This is by far one of the easiest ways to cut back on expenses as a college student. I grew up in a family that never ate out so it was easy for me to steer away from expensive restaurants and greasy fast food.I love berating my friends when they complain about the fact that they just spent $100 in one week eating out. My usual food budget in cities is $250 to $300 a month but I rarely ever reached either of those numbers with some tricky tips that are further down the list.
- Clip Those Coupons!
If you have never heard of coupons, you should probably ask your mommy for more money to help stave you over until the next pay day. Coupons are an essential part of my families life and whenever possible (without getting too out of hand), I clip coupons to decrease the shopping expenses. This is why I’m usually well below my budget of $250 for food and miscellaneous items a month. I would usually spend two or three hours over the span of 30 days clipping coupons and saving codes on my computer.This option does take some time to get a handle on, though. The first few weeks of searching newspapers and sites for valid coupons might take you a couple hours but as soon as you have websites bookmarked and what newspapers to get, it’s a breeze. Don’t go to the extreme of buying a two year supply of toothpaste because it costed you .20 cents like my mother does but take some time and find ones you’re going to use.That kind of extreme coupon savings takes several hours a week of searching, though I did just go to the store when I was home with my mom and she got $185 of food and toiletries for $3. The funny part about that little trip was that my mom was upset that she didn’t hit her goal of $2. So just sit down, watch some Netflix, and cut a few coupons out! Your bank account will love you.
- Ditch The Car, Buy a Public Transportation Pass.
Many people attribute public transportation with being poor but guess what? You’re a college student.A large portion of the population that don’t own cars are college students (3) and in major city areas, it might be cost effective to rent an apartment that’s near public transportation stops instead of owning a car.Besides, who wants to pay insurance, gas, maintenance fees, and monthly car payments on top of everything else? $100 sticker price for a train or bus pass isn’t so steep after all.
- Try Uber or Lyft Out.
I know, I know. Being taxi’d around town in someone else’s vehicle isn’t ideal. If you live in major cities and you were smart about where your apartment’s location was, you can likely get anywhere you need by walking or taking the bus.
What if you only have a half hour to get across town for your next class? Download the Uber app and hail a ride. A person driving around will usually be there within minutes and the price of the Uber or Lyft ride is significantly cheaper than taking traditional taxis around. (4)
Oh, and be nice to the drivers. If you are in a college town, they are usually another college student trying to make a living, too.
- Shop At Your Local Goodwill Store
This is something that I always think is a no-brainer but many college students get grossed out by wearing other people’s used clothes. If you’re on a budget, don’t go out and buy a $50 shirt!If you really think you need to be the hippest person at your college with exorbitantly expensive clothing, you should consider re-evaluating your life. You don’t want to be “That Guy” that was cool in college but never really got his life together in the end.Besides, that $50 shirt you just bought will likely be at the Goodwill within the next year for a steep discount. In fact, I found my favorite pair of Adidas at a Goodwill for 1/4 price that I originally bought them for!
- Sign Up For Swag Bucks
Swagbucks (5) is an online rewards website that earns you points when you take surveys, watch small video advertisements, surfing the web, or shop online. Once you earn enough “SwagBucks”, you can redeem them for a multitude of different gift cards or cash back through PayPal.This is a great way to help get all the money you need for Christmas, for that new phone you’ve been dying to get, or another free plane ticket. There are many popular companies that you can get the gift cards for, including Amazon, Expedia, and Walmart.This is a very easy thing to do when you have a night in your apartment binge watching the latest series on Netflix or watching a movie. Just login to their website or app and mindlessly click on their videos or advertisements while you’re enjoying a nice night off from school.
- Rent Apartments That Have Amenities
Do you HAVE TO have a gym membership when it’s winter time? Do you prefer to own a printer that you’re able to print your class assignments out on?Consider saving that $60 for the printer or the $45 gym membership and look for an apartment with these amenities included. There are many apartments out there that may already have everything you need.
You do need to make sure that the price of the apartment isn’t more than what you’d pay for any gym/pool membership, printer, or anything else you need.
- Get A Library Card And USE IT!
This may be a simple thing to put on here but so many people overlook this treasure of our public service system. It’s one of the best free resources any college student could hope for. Though you do usually have to buy the curriculum books for your classes, your local library is a great way to study for anything. Most libraries have business centers, educational reading, and private study rooms that help focus your attention.I have saved so much money getting many of my favorite books from the library, reading them, and returning them instead of letting that book pile up dust. There is no need to buy that $20 book that you’re dying to read, especially if you know you’re going to be moving within the next 6-12 months. Books are heavy, library cards are not.If you have any other way someone skating by while going to college can earn some money, leave a comment below!