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How to Save Money at College with Simple

We all know that college is expensive. Even with financial help such as scholarships and grants, it’s still a huge expense for young adults. Here are a few places to cut costs and save money at college.
College students studying

Textbooks, transportation, food, rent: All of these things will cost you money in college, and there’s no way around it. Or is there? We all know the classic ways to save money at college: Don’t eat out, and share a home instead of renting alone. However, there are also lots of unexpected ways that you can save money during college. Here are some ways you can use your Simple account to help you save money, as well as a few day-to-day life hacks that will help you keep financially afloat while studying.

Set small Goals

Simple is different from other online checking accounts, thanks to Safe-to-Spend—our way of showing you what money you have left to spend; not your bank balance. Because your Safe-to-Spend balance does not include any money tied up in Goals, you’re able to squirrel away small amounts of cash each day that will add up over time. Whether you’re saving to eat out once a month, or for an unforgettable spring break trip, Simple can help you “set it and forget it”.

Get accountable about spending

If you can learn to hashtag your social media posts, you can learn to categorize your spending on Simple. With Simple, there are two ways you can track how you’re spending your money:

  1. Every transaction is automatically added to a category, and
  2. You have the ability to manually enter tags (exactly like a hashtag on social media) that will help you categorize your spending in any way you want, be that serious (#rent, #food) or not-so-serious (#pizzaparty).

Each month, using Reports, you can look back at your spending and learn more about your spending habits. Not sure what happened between Friday night and Monday morning? Let your report act like a trail of breadcrumbs, and learn how to stop overspending from happening in the future.

Make a budget

Another way to make sure you’re maximizing your money is to set a budget. Before your eyes glaze over, let us tell you that making a budget could be the difference between being able to travel next summer, and having to stay home. If you’re accountable to your spending, check your transaction history regularly, and don’t overspend, you’ll have more money left over to do the things you want to do. For more on budgeting with Simple, head on over to this post.

Now that your Simple account is ready to help you save money each month, here are a few more tips that should help you cut a few financial corners while at college.

1. Rent books instead of buying them

Textbooks in college are often very expensive, and very few students use them after they have finished their course. This can be frustrating, as it’s a huge expense that seems unavoidable. However, there’s an alternative; you can rent your college textbooks instead of buying them. Have a look in your college library to see if you can rent the books you need from there. If not, don’t worry; you can look online at e-stores. This means that you don’t have to spend hundreds of dollars—but you still get all of the information that you need.

2. Move to a cheaper cellphone plan

Cellphones cost a lot of money over time, but it’s nearly impossible to get by without a cellphone in today’s society. However, you can save money by looking for a more affordable plan that still fits your needs. Even if you’re not living under the same roof, you can save money at college by joining your family’s cellphone plan, as it’s much cheaper than getting separate plans.

If this isn’t an option for you, check out mobile plan price comparison websites that give you the chance to look at different plans side by side. It won’t take long for you to find the cheapest plan that still suits your needs. It can also be useful to cut texting out completely; most messaging apps and social media websites are completely free, and they will send the other person a notification—just like a text, so they can get back to you quickly. Of course, this doesn’t matter if you get a plan that includes unlimited texting.

3. Find a job that pays extra if you work off hours

Getting a job during college will help you with expenses, but lots of students struggle to find well-paid part-time jobs. However, you can easily earn more money by finding a job that pays you extra to work during off hours, such as night shifts or early-morning shifts. Some jobs don’t pay extra for working off hours, but lots do; ask in the student library, as well as campus cafes and labs. You could also consider nighttime factory work. This is a very easy way to earn extra money without working more hours.

4. Get money-saving apps on your phone

If you’re already paying for a phone and a phone contract, you may as well use it to save money. You can download free apps that help you save money on certain items that you buy all of the time. There are apps that offer vouchers to help you save money, and price comparison apps that help you to make sure you are getting the best possible deal.

5. Ask where you can use your student ID card

If you’re already studying, you probably already have a way to save money at college: your student ID card. However, lots of students don’t use their student ID to its full potential. Many stores offer student discounts, especially if they’re close to a college, but most don’t advertise this. Don’t be shy; ask all the shops you go into to see if they can offer you a discount. Over time these discounts will add up; after a year you might have saved hundreds of dollars.

Disclaimer: Hey! Welcome to our disclaimer. Here’s what you need to know to safely consume this blog post: Any outbound links in this post will take you away from Simple.com, to external sites in the wilds of the internet; neither Simple nor our partner banks, The Bancorp Bank and BBVA Compass, endorse any linked-to websites; and we didn’t pay/barter with/bribe anyone to appear in this post. And as much as we wish we could control the cost of things, any prices in this article are just estimates. Actual prices are up to retailers, manufacturers, and other people who’ve been granted magical powers over digits and dollar signs.