4 tricks to help you save money in college

Feeling the stress of trying to save money as a college student? Looking for some clever tips to boost your bank account? Here are four tricks to help you get the most bang for your buck so you can focus on surviving school:

1) Rally on campus

Your university most likely offers countless activities and amenities to take advantage of. For example, campuses typically have a gym, so be sure to hit that up instead of paying to exercise anywhere else. Also, most colleges include libraries, counseling facilities, health centers and lounges, which mean free books, advice, medical help and endless naps.

Checking your school's master calendar is a great way to find out when various events and festivals are taking place on campus. These activities not only cost you nothing, they also usually include free giveaways, like tee shirts, banners and gift cards. So rally your hallmates, classmates or coworkers and enjoy games, music and prizes--all for free!

2) Outsmart the system

When a new semester rolls around and the scramble for textbooks begins, play it smart--there are many cheap alternatives to buying new books. Here are a few of the best options:

- Sign up for "Primestudent" on Amazon, order used copies of the books you need and they'll be shipped straight to your dorm, apartment or house within a few days.

- Post on school social media pages asking other students if they're selling the books you're looking for. Visit pages like "Class of 2017" and just post a simple question: "Anyone selling Health Promotion Programs?" More than likely, there are people anxious to sell their books so they'll offer them at lower prices.

- Share books with friends. If you've signed up for a class with a friend or happen to make a new friend right off the bat, one clever way to save some money is split the cost of textbooks and share them throughout the semester. Especially if you're already planning on studying together, this cuts book expenses in half and doesn't require much coordination either.

3) Food for thought

While campus food can be convenient, it's almost always excessively overpriced. Even a quick coffee or hummus and pretzel cup typically will cost more than at the local grocery store. Cooking and preparing your own meals instead of buying an expensive meal plan will save you loads of money in the long run.

Sometimes it's hard to be on campus all day without a quick snack, so if you do plan to grocery shop for the semester, be sure to purchase portable snacks to take with you to school. Those morning classes will be a little more bearable with a Tervis cup of tea and a few granola bars.

4) Step it up

Unless you're commuting each day to campus, another trick to save some cha-ching involves getting your steps in. Rather than buy a costly parking permit and join the masses of students cramming into the parking garages, simply walk to your classes from wherever you live. If that distance is a little too far, find a cheap bike from the local thrift or discount store.

Walking or biking to campus not only saves you money, it also helps preserve the environment and will improve your health. So strap on your Fitbit and get ready to reach your step goals each day.

By applying these tricks while you're in college, you'll set yourself up for a more financially stable and successful future. Good luck!


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