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It seems like being broke as a college student is inevitable these days. Between paying for tuition, room and board, books, fees, food and trying to have a life, it sure gets pricey. But if you’re smart with your money, you can save a few dollars here and there and get through college without breaking your budget. Read these 9 ways to save money in college to find out how and where to slash expenses.

9 Smart Ways to Save Money as a Broke College Student

Skip the Books

If you haven’t yet attended your first semester of college, I know that not buying the texts might sound crazy to you. It makes you nervous. But if you hear from plenty of students that you don’t need the book, take them at their word. Or at least try attending the first several weeks of class without a book.

Of course, for some classes, not using the text is not an option. But that doesn’t mean that you have to buy it. Instead, you could:

  • Put together a book swap with a large group of friends.
  • Rent your textbooks.
  • Use one of the library copies. (Tip: If you’re going this route, plan to do your work EARLY and know that you can’t leave the library with them or check them out for more than a few hours.)
  • Search online for PDF copies of the book.

And, if it turns out that you truly do have to buy the book, split the costs with a friend, preferably one who makes a great study buddy.

Pack Your Own Lunch

It’s tempting to purchase a big meal plan or to get a lot of flex dollars for the campus’s restaurants because, well, that’s a lot easier than dealing with food yourself. But the truth is, there will be days when the idea of cafeteria food makes you sick, and it’s easier than you think to blow through those flex dollars.

Since most schools require that on-campus students purchase a meal plan, purchase the smallest one you can. Pack your lunch instead. Yes, this requires some budgeting on your part, but you can actually eat for just a couple bucks per meal, which is less than you spend going out. And speaking of saving on food, make your own coffee, too. Keurigs make it super simple to get coffee that tastes just like your favorite brew at Starbucks, and they’re much more affordable than $5 a day for your caffeine fix!

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