Laker Cents: Sneaky Ways to Save Money in College

This morning, the air felt a little different. The humidity was gone and the air had a touch of crispness to it. Albeit refreshing, it meant one thing: summer is on its way out, back-to-school is on its way in. College students all over have been opening up envelopes containing their tuition bills for next semester and considering their budget for year. With lots of expenses to think about, I asked REAL college students and graduates to tell me some sneaky ways they’ve saved money….here’s what they said!

“You don’t always have to purchase your textbooks from the bookstore – shop around! There are plenty of online sites that offer books and materials for WAY cheaper. Also, use your college/university gym to workout. Even if it’s crowded and has less equipment, it’ll still be less expensive than a gym membership. Plus, there are lots of YouTube or home-workouts you can do for free.”
 – Lauren K., St. Norbert College Class of 2015

“Find fun things to do that don’t cost money, like hiking, biking, and outdoor activities. Also, not purchasing cable helped me save money. Consider a streaming service instead.”
-Annie T., Grand Valley State University Graduate Class of 2017

“Don’t spend a ton of cash on useless dorm décor. It’s fun to decorate, but less is more when you’re on a  budget. Between classes, work, the library, and on-campus study spots, I wasn’t in my dorm nearly as much as I thought I’d be. Also, invest in a good water bottle so you aren’t tempted to buy out of the pop machine every day. Oh yeah! Don’t sign up for a credit card just for a free sweatshirt…”
-Lilly C., University of Michigan Class of 2020

“Take advantage of fun campus events! At my school they would offer day trips for reduced prices to fun destinations in the city. They hosted craft nights on campus, also free food events, so I always hit those up when I wanted something fun to do but didn’t have a ton of money to spend.”
-Erin V., Carroll University Class of 2017

“Read reviews on apartment complexes before you sign a lease and ask about utilities. Me and my best friend got into this beautiful, popular complex – little did we know it was so poorly built that we paid triple in heating costs throughout the winter.”
Anna B., Michigan State University Class of 2017

“Find an on-campus job, yes even the cafeteria. It was one of the best decisions I made. On-campus jobs support your school/volunteer schedule over your work schedule and have so many opportunities for leadership. A double plus is that you’re already on campus and can walk to and from work.”
Hunter G., Michigan State University Class of 2017

“Grocery shop and prep food on Sunday for the week.  It’s fun to treat yourself, but knowing you have food & snacks at home will take away the temptation from spending your money on fast food or takeout.”
-Danielle M., Western Michigan University Graduate Class of 2018

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