College is a hard time for students when it comes to money. Mostly everyone is drowning in loans, working part-time jobs to earn money for rent and food, and stretching every penny. Everyone has a different situation, but no matter what, everyone is living the broke lifestyle while in college.
I’m a major saver so I’m always on the hunt for coupons, shopping sales, and spend a lot of time budgeting. Today, I’m going to be sharing with you the 5 easiest ways to save money.
1. Use apps to budget
I was so against using money apps just a few months ago. My friend Alex showed me a few that have really helped him, and now I can’t live without them! I use Mint to track my spending. This app makes it really easy to see where you are spending your money and set a monthly budget.
You can see all of your accounts in one place, see your credit score, and set monthly budgets for yourself, and so much more. It’s a free app on the iOS and Android App Store. I highly suggest downloading this to set a monthly budget for yourself.
The other app I like to use is Acorns. Say you go to Starbucks and spend $3.60 on a coffee. Acorns will automatically take $0.40 cents (it rounds up to the nearest dollar) and save it for you.
The purpose of Acorns is to take your petty change that you don’t even think twice about and save it for you.
2. Use Rakuten (formerly ebates)
Rakuten is a great program where you earn cash back on purchases you make. I recently ordered Adidas sneakers and got $3.54 back. It’s a no brainer to save some extra money. Why pay the full price when you don’t have to?
You can sign up for Ebates here and get $10 just by signing up.
I used to not use Rakuten because it seemed confusing, but it’s actually extremely easy. Now I’m mad at myself when I think about how much money I could have gotten back from purchases.
They have a new button for Safari that you can install to easily get cash back.
3. Ask for student discounts
I ask every time I check out anywhere if they have a student discount. Sometimes companies don’t advertise that they have discounts for students, so always ask. Most of the time when I ask the cashier will say yes, and I instantly save money.
When I first went to college I would be too nervous to ask (thanks, anxiety!), but now it’s my first question before I insert my card. Make a habit of asking when you first get your student ID card to take full advantage of student savings!
4. Have a “no spending” day every week
I don’t know why, but I go through periods of time where I spend literally no money. This usually happens when I have a super busy week at school; I don’t drive my car, I don’t go grocery shopping, I don’t go out with friends. I’m sucked into a stress time warp and then realize I’ve spent no money. It’s great actually- haha!
This isn’t really the case anymore now that I have business expenses, but for the first 2 years of college this happened a lot. Anyway, enough about my weird spending habits.
I challenge you to not spend money one day a week. Instead of going out to eat with your friends or getting coffee before class, skip it for one day a week. I guarantee you this will save you so much money throughout being in college.
Honey is a is a free browser extension that automatically finds and applies coupon codes at checkout with a single click. So when you are doing all of your online shopping it will scan the web for any coupons that apply to your purchase.
When it finds coupons there will be a pop-up on the right side of the screen. All you have to do is press “Apply Coupons”. Honey does all the work for you. It’s a super easy way to save money!
You can sign up for Honey here. It’s completely free.
- use apps to help you budget and easily view your accounts
- Ebates is a great because you get a % of what you spend back
- don’t be scared to ask for student discounts wherever you go
- challenge yourself to not spend any money one day a week
- use Honey when you are making purchases online so you get automatic coupons
I hope these tips help you save money in college. It’s really important to make sure you have savings, especially when you are just starting out in the “real world”. I want to end this post with something I heard recently about saving money.
On one of the episodes of the “What We Said” podcast by Jaci Smith and Chelsea, they discussed how people validate purchases because of the whole “treat yourself” trend. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with that at all because you deserve to treat yourself sometimes. But, they said the best way to treat yourself is to put money into your savings account.