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College is no doubt the most money-consuming time of your life. Throughout the whole process, there is so much "free money" that students overlook, as well as opportunities to not pay anything at all. Many websites, apps, and even your school have opportunities to save money that you may not even know exist.
Alongside the 5 ways to save I have outlined below, you should also make a budget. Freshman year living in the dorms doesn't produce many bills like rent or electricity, but getting into the habit of sticking to a budget will help you when you do have bills to pay. Trying to utilize your meal plans on campus instead of eating out all the time (yes, I know everyone needs a break from food court meals) will help you to save money. Keeping track of your purchases, and staying within the amount of money you decided at the beginning of the month that you could spend, will help you to be more conscious of the money you have. Factor in little things like getting a birthday present for your sister, going to a concert, and holidays like Christmas where you know you will spend more money by cutting back the month before so you have some extra cash for the fun stuff.
1: Check to see if your University offers FREE tutoring for that beginner level math class that's kicking your butt before hiring an expensive tutor.
For some higher level courses that may not be covered by student and faculty volunteers at your University's tutoring center, I would look outside the University's doors and find a good tutor. For general education courses, I wouldn't bother paying a cent for a tutor. Many universities have included tutoring in your tuition and many students don't know about it because they don't check. Plenty of upperclassmen, as well as some students that tested out of the beginning level courses, are willing to tutor through a work-study program with the university. This could be one of the smartest time investments that you make WITHOUT opening your wallet.
2: Don't even think about buying brand new textbooks directly from your University.
I feel like this one is self-explanatory for the average student; buying used books is MUCH cheaper, but even those aren't within the price range that most students would like for them to be. Although checking places like your local bookstore seems like an easy place to start, you may do more running around than you need to. Once you know what textbooks you need, search for the titles on Amazon, Chegg, or at a local bookstore. If you know upperclassmen who just took the course you are enrolled in, see if you can buy their textbook from them. Literally, anything is cheaper than buying a brand new textbook from your University.
3: Sign up for UNiDAYS to find student discounts instantly.
UNiDAYS is a Website and an App available online using my personal referral code, and on iPhone and Android. Through verifying your student status, UNiDAYS lets you search for all kinds of discounts in 7 different areas: Fashion, Health & Fitness, Beauty, Lifestyle, Food, Tech, and Miscellaneous. Using UNiDAYS can save you a ton of money by putting all of the discounts that you are eligible for in one place, especially at the convenience of being already loaded onto your phone when you are out and about.
4: Amazon Prime Student...because who doesn't love free shipping?
Don't want to try and figure out how to pay for shipping on whatever that "Amazon necessity" is? Want to find discounted textbooks and other things you may need for class? Signing up for Amazon's Student Prime plan makes perfect sense for college students, as it has discounted items throughout the entire website, you gain access to all of the same services as a regular Amazon Prime account, and you get it for free for a limited time. For the first 6 months of using Amazon Prime Student, the account is free. After the first 6 months, Amazon Prime Student is only $59/year, which is 50% off of the regular Amazon Prime plan. To sign up, you will need to be verified as a college student, and Amazon will email you every 12 months to verify your student status. Each student may have access to Amazon Prime Student for 4 years. Free 2 day shipping AND 50% reduced membership fees? Yes, please.
5: Spend a crazy low amount of money on Music and TV.
Everyone needs some personal time in college, whether it's watching tv, movies or listening to music, but don't you just hate having to pay what seems like a ridiculous amount for multiple services? Well, as a college student, you don't have to break the bank anymore. For the low price of $4.99 a month, you can sign up for Spotify's Student discount bundle with Hulu and Showtime! Through verifying your student status, you can sign up for this bundle whether or not you already have existing Spotify and/or Hulu accounts. Spotify handles all the billing, and you get Spotify Premium, access to Showtime through Hulu and your Limited Commercial Hulu account all in one. Spotify premium is normally $9.99/month and Hulu is normally $7.99/month for the Limited Commercial Hulu Base Plan. By signing up for this, you save $12.99/month! Nothing is better than quality entertainment for a very low price.