Many college students struggle with managing their finances as they begin to explore the freedom of living away from home. While being financially independent is a great achievement, it takes time to figure out how to balance a budget.

To help you figure out the best ways to save money, we’ve put together a short list of the top money saving tips for college student.

  1. Choose e-books over paper textbooks. When you have to buy a paper copy, buy or rent used textbooks instead of purchasing them new. And don’t hang on to that Biology textbook from freshman year, sell it back as soon as the semester is over to get the biggest return.
  2. Instead of going out, look at your school’s event calendar for free entertainment. Many schools have events all year round including outdoor music, improv comedy groups, movie nights – and a lot of these events include free food! This will save you from spending money on food and drinks at the local off-campus hangouts.
  3. Take advantage of student discounts. Did you know that you can save 50% on Amazon Prime when you sign up with your school email address? Use your school ID to save on everything from clothes to travel to your cell phone plan.
  4. Trade your car in for a bike or the bus.  Owning a car comes with a lot of extra expenses like insurance, unexpected repairs and costly parking passes. But trading that car in for a bike or a student bus pass can help you save. Universities often offer free or reduced bike repair services as well so you can get your brakes or tires checked at little or no cost to you.
  5. Use your meal plan or make food at home.  Going to the coffee shop between classes adds up. If you have an unlimited meal plan, try to go to the dining hall for your meals and coffee breaks. If you can’t make it to the dining hall every time, invest in a small coffee maker and mini-fridge to store easy to make snacks and meals.

Bonus Tip! Open a student checking account with low or no fees. Credit Unions, like Common Trust Federal Credit Union, have lower fees and offer great packages for college (and high school) students. Visit our Student Package page to see the benefits of banking with your local credit union. Take your savings one step further by opening an interest bearing savings account and putting $10 or $20 into it at the beginning of every month.