5 Tips for Cheap Campus Living (Use Your Savings to Avoid Student Loans)
January 22, 2014

For those just gearing up for school in Fall 2014 or already in school, getting savvy about your spending is a must-do – particularly if you’re borrowing to finance your education. Even if your parents are footing the bill for college, saving them some Benjamins will build some serious goodwill. Consider these 5 tips for cheap campus living – and if you are borrowing, consider devoting some of the scratch you save to borrowing less or getting started now on your loan repayment. 

#1 Cut the Cable

If you’re paying for cable in your dorm or campus apartment, ditch it now. Between an $8 Netflix subscription and online streaming options through the networks themselves, you can catch all of your favorite shows on the cheap rather than paying out a hefty monthly fee for overpriced TV service. Besides, you’re not supposed to be sitting in front of the tube when you’ve got studying to do.

#2 Wear More, Wash Less

Doing the fluff and fold routine is no fun, can cost $2-$4 per load and take up time better spent hitting the books. Back in the day, when kids came home from school, they had to put up their good stuff and change into play clothes for the afternoon. Hang up your nicer duds and throw on sweats and a tee to hang out around the dorm. Clothes will air out and you can skip a wash or two – saving time and money.

#3 Student ID + Coupons = Cheap Fun

Your student ID is worth a boatload of savings at a ton of places around campus so stick to establishments that appreciate students and offer major discounts. Pile coupons on top of that and you can enjoy socializing for less. Check campus newspapers, websites and saver books at local businesses to look for deals. And if anyone isn’t cool with you pulling out a coupon, rethink who you hang with.

Used books can mean huge savings

Never buy new textbooks!
Image source: CollegeLifestyles.org

#4 Never Buy New Books

Textbooks are ridiculously expensive, so anytime you can save, it’s smart. If your roommate has the same class at a different time, buy one book and time share it. Check online and in-store for used. Often, you can pick up the last prior edition for cheaper and there’s no difference. Check Amazon used and Craigslist too. Buy books off friends after they finish a class you’ll take next semester.

#5 Ditch the Ride

Tooling around campus in your car can be cool, but fighting for rare parking spaces is a hassle and a parking permit is costly. Leave your ride at home with the ‘rents and bring a bike to campus instead. You’ll get to class faster, work off some of your freshman 15 and save money. For social outings, grab a ride with a buddy or take public transportation. And it’s one less thing to take care of.

To always know where you stand on your educational debt, sign up for Tuition.io’s free student loan tool to track, manage and optimize your debt. Be sure to keep reading our blog for more money-saving tips and repayment strategies and check out our Student Loan Help Center for tons of helpful info on understanding your student loans.