Six Money Saving Tips for College Students

August 28, 2015 | Liz Schrock

Photo of a sign in a clothing store offering students a 10% discount.

While it may feel like endless summer in San Diego, colleges are starting back up, which means that students are paying for tuition, books, housing, food and transportation—and those are just the essentials! Smart money management is important for college students to have a successful school year. So, we compiled these important financial tips for college students to make it easy to stay on track!

  1. Make a budget and stick to it: First, you need to find out what your expenses are. Review your bank eStatements to find out what you spend on rent, utilities, food and gasoline per month. Then come up with a plan based on your expenses that you can follow. Remember to allot room in your budget for emergencies.
  2. Find out about financial aid opportunities: Don’t wait until tuition is due to explore financial aid opportunities. In addition to traditional scholarships, you may be eligible for grants or awards. You can find out which scholarships you may qualify for by scheduling an appointment at your financial aid office or, in some cases, by looking online. You can likely receive help writing application essays for financial aid, as many colleges offer free tutoring services or have a writing center to assist you.
  3. Research campus resources: Many college campuses feature a bevy of benefits for students, such as gyms, health centers and meal plans. Find out what resources are available to you and if you have to pay an extra fee for them. For example, you may discover that you don’t need a separate gym membership because you can visit your college’s gym, or that you can opt for a less expensive meal plan than the standard one included in your fee. If you do find that there are some resources you will not utilize, make sure that you aren’t paying for them. Many colleges and universities also offer concerts, film screenings and other social events to students. You can save money by taking part in those activities instead of paying to go out.
  4. Take advantage of student discounts: Many restaurants and retailers offer student discounts, especially those located close to colleges. Even big ticket items, like laptops or cameras, may have promotions available for students. Before making a purchase, ask if they offer discounts for students. If you’re traveling or studying abroad, make sure to get an International Student Identity Card before you set out, so you can take advantage of student discounts all over the world.
  5. Prepare your own food and coffee: Once school starts, it’s easy to get into the habit of going out to dinner or buying coffee on campus more often than usual. You can save time and money by preparing meals at home to bring with you to campus during the week. Investing in a coffee machine and brewing your coffee at home can save you quite a bit of money, plus you can experiment with many great tasting coffee blends. You can make delicious and healthy smoothies at home with a blender, too. This healthy recipe list is dorm-room-friendly, doesn’t require a stove or oven and is sure to impress your friends!
  6. Keep tabs on your bank account with email and text alerts: Some financial institutions allow you to set up email alerts to let you know when your account balance drops below a certain amount or if a scheduled payment, such as one for your credit card, rent or electric bill, is about to be made. With a Mission Fed Account, you can stay on top of your account 24/7 with Online Banking and manage your finances on the go with Mobile Banking, which allows you to check your account balances, manage your accounts, pay bills or deposit a check wherever you are.

By studying these financial tips and monitoring your spending, you are well on your way to an A+ budget this school year!


The content provided in this blog consists of the opinions and ideas of the author alone and should be used for informational purposes only. Mission Federal Credit Union disclaims any liability for decisions you make based on the information provided. References to any specific commercial products, processes, or services, or the use of any trade, firm, or corporation name in this article by Mission Federal Credit Union is for the information and convenience of its readers and does not constitute endorsement, control or warranty by Mission Federal Credit Union.

Liz Schrock

Liz Schrock

Liz Schrock is VP Consumer Lending Operations at Mission Federal Credit Union. She has been a member of credit unions since her childhood, which led to her career in the financial industry. Working in many aspects of lending, consumer lending is her passion, and nothing brightens her day like seeing a member have that dream car in the driveway. With over 20 years of experience, Liz knows how important it is to provide members with quality loan products and help them through their financial needs when they need it most.

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