How to Be Frugal as a College Student


College is underway for millions of students across the country. For students, going back to campus is a very exciting time as you start planning out all the amazing things you’ll be doing over the course of the next year.

It’s also a good time to take stock of your financial situation, not on the student loan side of things, but rather how you’ll pay for everyday items and anything you need for school.  While you may not be a finance major, you can still graduate from college a more financially savvy person.

Here are some tips to help you act frugally this year, as well as generate a little bit of income. Believe us, you’ll thank yourself one, two or three years down the road by putting these frugal thoughts into action.

  • Save money on textbooks- You may think you are getting the best deal on a used textbook at the bookstore, but there may be a cheaper online option in many cases. Before heading to the bookstore, visit Amazon, Chegg, and Facebook pages to see if you can find your textbook for cheaper. By doing a little extra research, you can save on the books you would have spent hundreds of dollars on at the bookstore.
  • Make the most of your food plan– Food and meals will forever be a cost in your life, so utilize the prepaid plan you purchased through the dining hall. If you bought 14 meals per week and they do not roll over, by all means use the 14 meals each week. You already paid for them, so be sure to make the most of it. Not doing so is akin to throwing money in the trash can.
  • Be an academic all-star– You may be wondering how going to class will save you money. We’re sure we don’t need to tell you the expenses of one year of college. Failing in your academics could put you on pace for additional years in college, which means more student loan debt.
  • Get a part-time job– Many college campuses offer work study opportunities that are flexible with your class schedule. A part-time job will allow you to have a bit of extra money in your pocket when it comes time to spend it on a meaningful experience or on specific needs.

College is the time to create your own independence not only in physical space from your family, but also financially. Starting with small things with the above will help you a more rounded, financially prepared adult after you graduate from college.

If you have questions about how Putnam Bank can help you become more financially independent, visit the Personal Banking section of our website or contact us directly.


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