Instructables
Picture of How to Save Money in College
With tuition prices skyrocketing I'm sure all of us are trying to find ways to save some money while away at school. Not that I'm an expert or anything, but I've found a few ways to save money while at school that I'll share.

Not that all of these things apply specifically to college life - most can be applied to "normal" life so may be worth reading.

If you've something to contribute, please post a reply and I'll add it to the list. This is more of a work in progress as I find new ways to save money at odd intervals.
 
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Step 1: Transportation

Picture of Transportation
TradBikeRack.gif
Walk
Not like you won't being doing enough of this between classes, but walking to other places is a great way to save money. Gas is hovering around $3.80 a gallon as I write this whereas walking only costs as much as the food you run on. If you live in a city where everything is fairly close together, you can most likely get away with walking for 95% of your travel.

Public Transportation
Most (if not all) forms of mass transit within cities (buses, subways, etc.) give student discounts. If you use mass transit frequently enough, buy a monthly pass. There might even be a bus or train that runs between your school and your hometown. I can take the Coach bus home from college for $1.25 one way (about a 40 mile drive).

Bike
You can also buy a bicycle (or salvage one, if you're savvy enough). Costs for that are only maintenance-related and I don't know a university that doesn't have a bike rack outside every campus building.

Motor Vehicle
If you have to use a motorized vehicle, try to limit it to something small like a moped or a motorcycle. Not only do they get great mileage but most colleges offer discounted (or free!) parking for such vehicles. If you have to use a car, try to carpool. And, if possible, drive a car that gets good mileage (I know, if you're as broke as me you probably can't afford one!)
lclaiborne1 year ago
Laundry- wash in cold, but you needless soap than you think and it's pricey. Then put all you can into a dryer. Commercial dryers run super hot and you want clothes damp. Put it all on hangers to finish, or a line. Stuff lasts longer. And never dry jeans! They shrink a lot. Part drying is fine, but they fit better and last longer air dried. Only wash jeans when they're dirty too.
Some colleges offer ludicriously cheap hair cuts done by student/trainee hairdressers. It takes longer but is fully supervised the whole time. Note: you don't have to be a student at the college to take advantage of this. Also note: some of these departments also need 'models' for manicures, massages, facials, etc... cheap bliss!
If you buy food in buk, it's often very much cheaper per portion. At the same time, buy small freezer-boxes or keep foil takeaway trays and lids. Cook up a huuuge amount of food and freeze the portions (date and label the boxes). Instant ready-meals, at a fraction of the cost, and to a taste that's all yours. Yum!
mudthomas4 years ago
To save on alcohol you can make your own beer, wine or whatever other kind of alcohol is legal to make yourself where you live.
That is, aake enough for just yourself, maybe a little more, but you can't "sell" it
Neither this instructable or my comment is about making money. I do in no way suggest you should sell anything or commit any kind of felony, if that's what you think my comment is about, read it again. Also, learn the difference between saving money and making money.
Theres always room for both. Except that room is occasionally end up you up into 3x4 rooms. ;)
As far as notebooks go, I haven't had to buy a single one for two and a half years simply by keeping an eye out for some just lying around campus or in the cafeteria's lost-n-found box longer than three days. I've seen backpacks abandoned in corners for over a week to find lots of lovely jewels inside such as new notebooks in the middle of the semester, one textbook, an mp3 player/voice recorder, on-the-ear headphones, and a few flash drives. Course...not too many people are okay with this technical form of stealing.
It's not stealing if it has been abandoned for a few days. I would say atleast a week to wait before you take it.
I can't believe these comments have stayed here for so long without response, perhaps it's because it's so incredibly hard to stay within the "be nice" policy while responding....

Technically, and ethically, and morally, it is stealing, because you would've taken something that doesn't belong to you, regardless of where it is, or how long it's been left there. If someone had left their car unlocked, taking it, or taking the stereo out of it would still be stealing.

The right thing to do, instead of stealing it, would be to take the unattended backpack to the university's Lost Property or to the nearest police station. IIRC, in the UK at least, property unclaimed for a period of time becomes the property of the person who found it.

There are any number of reasons why a bag could be left unattended. How do you know how the bag got there? Maybe the owner left it there, or maybe some other thief stole it first, took the wallet/other valuables out of it and dumped what they didn't want.

There's a very very obvious difference between recycling discarded print-outs into a notebook and stealing notebooks/electronics from unattended backpacks. One which I would hope that most people would be able to see. A good rule-of-thumb is to stop and think for two seconds about how you'd feel if it was your property and let empathy be your guide.
>A good rule-of-thumb is to stop and think for two seconds about how you'd feel if it was your property and let empathy be your guide.

Id personally feel pretty stupid for letting something sit somewhere so long it became public property...
adamazing, very well put!
improbable15 years ago
Another thing you might add: Don't buy bottled water!! Invest in a nalgene (or similar refillable bottle) and live on tap water - it's just as good, if not better
If you really cant bear drinking your tap water (it does vary from place to place, and in some places its absolutely terrible) go to the grocery store and buy the HUGE bottles of water. i get a 1 gallon jug of Safeway Brand water for 99 cents. i use tap water for cooking, boiling for tea, etc. and drink from the purified bottle when we drink just water. my girlfriend and i aren't home that much, so the $1 lasts us about a week. water purifiers are also cheap. we got a $15 tap-type filter that works very well, and a set of 3 replacement filters was about $6. anyway as a college student i love this instructable. one way to save on rent: get somebody to split it with! i think its worth it, but if you are somebody who is not very easy to get along with, whether you realize it or not, you may not enjoy it much.
Siren4 HAL 90004 years ago
And for on-the-go you could get a water bobble. Changing the filters regularly cost less than buying bottles of water every day. Plus they're cute.
frazeeg (author)  improbable15 years ago
Yeah, I do the same thing. Having to drink 2+ liters of water a day to keep hydrated for sports would kill my wallet if I did bottled water.
bluskychild4 years ago
When I was living off-campus, one of the biggest one-time expenses to me seemed to be furnishing the place you're living in. Mattresses, sofas, and kitchen tables can cost a lot! However, it's really easy to get all of these items for free - you can just ask family and friends if they have something they were going to throw away soon, or you could get on the free section of Craigslist.com to see what people are giving away for free! A lot of people post sofas, chairs and tables that are either in fairly good condition (or good enough for a college student) or are easy fixer-uppers.
The stuff about using old Paper from the Printer is actually pretty cool. I used to take "trash"paper from my parents work for home-use (quick notes etc.). Now in digital times, this becomes rarer and rarer, but it still comes in handy pretty often
Beauty schools charge less than licenced hair dressers, and the students are supervised by teachers that are really good at their trade
Generally, if you wash new clothes at least once in warm/hot water any chance of color bleed will end there after as the bleed will normally only occur once.
Babyshoes6 years ago
You could always hand wash socks and undies, if necessary, and stretch out the time between machine washes! Shirts can also be hand washed in a basin, just concentrate on the underarms. I wouldn't try it with trousers though, unless I was desperate. Another way round the haircut issue is to grow your hair - usually a better option for girls than using clippers. Just keep split ends at bay once it is long by asking a friend to trim the ends for you with a cheap pair of hairdressing scissors or even embroidery scissors. If you have healthy hair and take care of it (ie don't bleach/dye it, don't blow dry too often, condition regularly etc) you will only need a proper hair cut once or twice a year to re-style it!
This sounds nuts, but get merino wool shirts (not itchy unless you're uber sensitive)..if odor is the only real issue, you can hang them up and the odor-carrying molecules quite literally fall off overnight. No Joke. I wore the same shirt (without offense) for well over a week when working in an outdoor shop...and they're becoming real favorites with backpackers and other usually stinky folk. Check out icebreaker and smartwool but keep your eyes open for bargains. (Yes, higher up-front cost, but you rarely wash and should never dry...those quarters add up!)
The problem with mechanical pencils is that the lead is softer and prone to break more often. It may be cheaper to buy a big pack of regular pencils for about a dollar, then buying lead for a long time.
zstarski6 years ago
You've been mooching off your parents for the first 18 years of your life so you probably should support them in old age
I believe this is a very culturally charged issue. I'm Filipino and in my experience, it is quite common that the grandparents don't actually have a home of their own anymore, but instead just bounce around their children every 6 months (Visas expire) anyway, my gf is not filipino and I've essentially grown up american... so methinks my parents better start their retirement savings soon. that, or my siblings are going to take care of them. Of course, there's also 20 years of misplaced/bottled anger and resentment for our traditionalist views, so I think that skews my point of view a little...
hcold zstarski5 years ago
You seem to be unaware that your parents have been mooching off your young blood for years, and will do so. Clothes/other crap is all they can do to keep your youth around, keepin' 'em alive.
Derin5 years ago
also,a lot of universities provide free buses to some places in the city,and a "ring" that just tours around the university
I live with maybe 6 other guys. I only pay $250 a month when some of my friends are paying 2 or 3 times that. We just found a much larger house with separate rooms. If you can handle the smells and a messy living room, I'd recommend it.

Also, check out my article on How to Eat for Free at a University.I've gone weeks without having to pay for food
Calorie6 years ago
I have the WAHL clippers as well. I got mine at a significant discount from a hair supply store. They paid for themselves years ago.
lawizeg6 years ago
I hate. Mechanicals. Actually, using a Slightly dull wooden #2 pencil saves you time while taking a test.
=SMART=6 years ago
LOL @ 1st pic
I'll be sure to pass this on to my brother who will be entering collage in the Fall. Wonderful
LinuxH4x0r6 years ago
Good job! About the jeans, I can go for almost a whole week without any problems. As long as you don't spill on them they can go for a long time. Shirts on the other hand are only good for one (2 if you have to) day.
backcountry6 years ago
I do not recommend the "mooch off your parents" strategy. While it might save you money during college, it is very short sighted because, as a result, you'll be supporting them in their old age. Better to encourage them to save for their retirement.
frazeeg (author)  backcountry6 years ago
Obviously it's only a good idea to do this if your parents are financially secure. Besides, you'll be supporting them in old age regardless :-P
Patrik6 years ago
Well, I guess you could start by eating on $3 a day...