How to Save Money as a College Student

“I don’t have enough money!”

College is difficult. The stress from classes, expectations, failing grades, and the limited budget all piles up in a semester. It’s easy to lose focus and to be tempted to quit.

Sometimes, we blame that we don’t have enough money. “If only I have enough allowance, right?”. With this article, you’ll never have this mindset again! At the end of this article, I promise you’ll never have to beg your parents for more money. You’ll also have an easier time finding a job when you graduate because of these tips.

Even if you’re not yet in college, you can use these tips for this can apply to anyone. The key thing here is to follow these tips, that’s all I ask 🙂

Why Save Money as a College Student?

Why do we need to save in college? Isn’t it useless when we’re going to be working in a few years?

I was once a college student and I’ll tell you that following some of these tips helped me survive. It didn’t made me rich, but I learned a lot of things. I had a P100 baon but it wasn’t consistent. Sometimes I’ll have 3 consecutive days that I don’t have an allowance, but that didn’t stop me from graduating.

So, today I’ll share with you the tips that I used personally that allowed me to graduate and find a decent-paying online job. By following these tips, you’ll be more conscious of your spending habits in the future as you build your career.

Ways to Save Money as a College Student

Here are the most effective ways I personally used to save money in college. Take note that these only work if YOU allow them to work. Here are ways to save money as a college student!

Don’t be late to pay

One of the tricks I used when I was studying in college at a private school is to ask for my tuition in advance. No, I didn’t do this so I could spend it elsewhere, it’s to pay early.

I learned my lesson during my first year in college when I always asked my parents for the tuition days before the exam. Because of this mistake, I would be stuck in a long line at the accounting office while cramming to review for the exam. This all changed when I shifted my mindset to always pay early or on time.

This should be applied to all fees not just in tuition. By doing so, you’ll have fewer worries and no additional fees for late payment.

Eat in Carinderias/Cook at home

Other things that can quickly eat up your budget are milk teas, fast-food restaurants, and food cart splurges. I was guilty of these too when I was in the first few years of my college life. I’ll admit that it’s tempting to spend money on food because they are a necessity. I quickly realized that I was wasting lots of money on these things.

So, I tried looking for the cheapest but the most delicious carinderias around our school. Or, I would just go home and cook lunch myself. I would also limit my splurges on luxury foods to once a month. By doing these things, I had more money at the end of each month and I was healthier.

Bring snacks at school

When I was in kindergarten, my mother would always have me bring baon (snacks) to school. I urged my parents to stop doing this when I was in elementary to high school since it looked uncool. Little did I know that it would save me in college.

Whatever stage you are in school, don’t be embarrassed to bring snacks, they’ll help you save your allowance.

Bring your own water bottle

Another budget-saving and environment-friendly tip that I can give you is to bring your water bottles to school. Most schools have purified water stations that you can use to refill your bottles instead of buying plastic ones.

Stay in the library or parks

When we are studying at coffee shops or fast foods, we’re much more likely to spend things we can’t afford. So, whenever possible, stay in the library or at the parks in your school instead of cafés or milk tea shops. You can even munch on some snacks that you brought from home thanks to our tip above!

This can help you have more time for your studies while saving money. 🙂

Buy your grocery in bulk

When you’re a student renting a dorm or an apartment, you should buy your groceries in bulk. As much as possible, avoid buying your essentials in sachets at the sari-sari store. Doing this will also let you save the hassle of buying a shampoo while you’re half-naked running at the store 😀

When in the grocery, look for items that have discounts or promos. This will help you save even more!

Wake up early and walk to school

I once had a friend in college that rents an apartment around 100 meters away from our school. Because our classes start early in the morning (7:00 am), he would always take a tricycle to school to avoid being late. This became a habit and he would eventually always borrow money from his classmates since he always runs out of cash.

Although I love my friend, don’t be like him. If your home or dorm is a walking distance from your school, try to walk as much as possible. Get up early, this will do you wonders for your health and overall mood, not to mention your budget.

Borrow textbooks

Textbooks are essential in college, but they’re expensive (compared to our allowance). Fortunately, we can always borrow them from the library. If this isn’t possible, borrow the old textbooks of your higher year school mates that they no longer use. If you can’t borrow them, try to buy it. This still saves you money than buying brand new books.

Open a savings account

As early as now, you need to save money. The best place to put your money is in a savings account. Deposit a few hundred that you save every month and you’ll have money at the end of the year or for emergencies. But this will only work if you don’t spend your savings on anything out of your budget. Try to give your ATM card to your parents for safekeeping or just have self-control.

Recycle your old notes

This next simple tip to save money as a college student goes way back in the olden times. Back when I was in elementary, my mother would collect all the unused pieces of paper from all my notes. She would then compile these pieces of paper into 1 or 2 covers with springs and I’ll have new notebooks.

Writing in notes is not a common practice in college unlike in high school. What I’ve done in college is I purchased a binder and when they run out, I would just buy new fillers.

Never borrow money

I’ve never borrowed large amounts of money during my college life. I only borrowed when it was an emergency. Try to do the same thing no matter how much life gets hard.

Borrowing money will never do anything good especially when you’re broke. The cycle goes like this: borrow money – use the money to buy things you don’t need – pay back the money – your budget becomes limited so you need to borrow again. Do you see the endless cycle that borrowing money does?

Buy your load using GCash/Coins.ph/Paymaya

This next tip is not only a savings tip but also a money maker advice. If you’re like any normal teen, chances are you spend some of your allowances on load. But did you know that the few pesos that are added to your load purchase can accumulate in a year?

For instance, let’s say you load your phone P20 ten times a month. In a year this will be P22 x 120 = P2,640

Sari-sari stores typically add P2 per load transaction. But if you use GCash/Coins.ph/Paymaya to load, you won’t have to pay the extra P2 plus you’ll get 10% cashback! This means that you’ll save P4 pesos per P20 load transaction.

By just doing this for your load needs, you’ll save P480 in a year! The best part is that you don’t even have to go to the hassle of always going to the sari-sari store to buy load. You can take this a step further, you can offer to sell load to your classmates, schoolmates or your dormmates! You’ll save money and make tons of money 😉

Look for summer jobs

If you have free time during the summer, why not make it into something productive? If you can’t afford to work part-time while studying, getting summer jobs is your best bet.

There’s no shortage to the number of summer jobs you can get as long as you’re creative and determined to save money as a college student. Here are some of the most common ones:

  • Internet café operator/assistant
  • Fastfood employee
  • Pet/baby sitter
  • Buy and sell shirts online

Make money online

This last tip is a big one – make money online. I wish I started online freelancing when I was still a college student instead of watching animé or playing games. So, if you’re still a high school or a college student, this is your golden chance to make tons of money and save for your future.

There are a lot of ways to make money online. You can be a virtual assistant, graphic designer, or content writer. You can also try selling in Lazada or become a blogger. The best thing about this is that you can easily make this your full-time job when you graduate!

Final Thoughts

Those are the tips I recommend you do to save money as a college student. As I’ve said before, these tips only work if you use them 🙂 But most importantly, these tips will help instill the right mindset of saving as early as now. When you start saving right now, you’ll have much more money in the future compared to saving in your 30s.

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