Woman in a cap and gown for graduation.

Three ways to save money as a struggling college student.

College can be a great time to explore new experiences, meet new people and learn new things. However, let’s face it, it can also be a big financial challenge. Between tuition, textbooks and living expenses, it’s no surprise that many college students struggle to make ends meet. 

Don’t worry, though, saving money in college is totally within reach. Here are three ways you can save.

Shopping on a Budget

Being a financially strapped college student and having a shopping problem don’t mix well together. That’s where thrifting comes in as the perfect alternative. Sure, it’s a little more time-consuming since you sort through big racks of clothes, but you can make a whole day out of it. Grab a friend, set aside one Saturday a month and make it your “thrifting day.” Map out a route to all the thrift stores in your area and start shopping. This is a great way to save some money and have some low-cost fun. 

Discounts Make a Difference

As a college student, getting takeout or dining at a restaurant isn’t always possible. Fortunately, many restaurants, including fast food establishments, offer fantastic rewards programs that you can access by simply downloading their app on your smartphone. Most of these restaurants will treat you to a freebie just for signing up. Utilize these rewards programs to enjoy free food and other perks. If there’s a spot you frequent often, it’s worth checking out their rewards program. You may be surprised how quickly the rewards add up.

If you prefer to shop at retail stores, there are discounts for that too! Look into apps like UNiDAYS and Student Beans, which help students save money by offering discounts to major retailers. These websites can help you save a few bucks on everything from clothing to electronics. And if you’re someone who loves to shop online, be sure to sign up for the email lists of your favorite retailers. Many stores offer exclusive discounts to their email subscribers.

Prepping a Healthy Life

Ordering takeout can become tempting, especially when you have a mountain of homework and zero motivation to cook. This is a challenge most college students are all too familiar with. Meal prepping is a great way to save time and have nutritious meal options readily available. Not only do you get more bang for your buck, but you get to choose what ingredients go into your food. So, you’re saving money, but you’re also eating healthier, which in turn will boost your energy and improve your mood. 

Implementing these practical tips and adopting a mindful approach to your finances will help you successfully navigate the financial challenges of college life. They’ll also help you start a strong foundation for your financial well-being beyond graduation.