Saving Money for College: 10 Ways to Live Frugally

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Living frugally while in college is almost a rite of passage in these tough economic times. The student usually has little money to live on while taking classes. Most of the money is spent on college tuition, room and board and books. Some students find it easy to get through, as their parents supply them with a weekly or monthly stipend. Others must live frugally and hope for the best. Here are 10 ways college students can live frugally while saving money for college.

1. Walk or ride a bike everywhere instead of driving a car. This saves on vehicle expenses, like insurance, fuel and repairs.

2. Forgo owning a car. Use public transportation, feet, free campus transportation or bicycles. When the destination is too far for any of these options, bum a ride instead of calling a taxi.

3. Students may be able to find a restaurant or co-op where they can work for a meal instead of paying for one. Chores often involve making sandwiches, washing dishes or stocking shelves.

4. Online coupons help students save money for college expenses like clothes and travel. They can also be used for restaurants, retail stores and drugstores.

5. Shop at thrift stores when possible. Basic items like a desk or bed frame can be picked up relatively inexpensively if the student doesn’t mind the dents and scrapes on it.

6. Invest in a coffee maker. Rather than going for a $5 latte, pay $5 for an entire canister of coffee. Make a ˝ pot instead of a whole one when there are not enough people in the apartment to drink it.

7. When living on campus in a dormitory or making daily trips to campus, consider investing in the school cafeteria’s meal plan program. It will save money. The food is not always spectacular, but modern cafes are often on campus as well and will accept a meal card as opposed to money.

8. If a student lives off campus and must commute by car, it is important to scout the parking situation. At some schools, it is much cheaper to buy in to the campus parking plan. Some schools are in areas where a 15-minute walk will net free parking for the physically fit or industrious.

9. Rather than eating out, college students can eat in. Restaurant food is often more expensive than buying groceries. Grocery store coupons make eating at home even more affordable.

10. Frugal students can find discounts at many local stores by using their college IDs. Look for the sign in the window at local retailers and restaurants that offers a student discount with ID. It may be only 10%, but it is a discount nonetheless.

Author is a freelance journalist who is passionate about saving money when shopping online and writes about finding online coupons, including grocery store coupons.

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