Let me start with the bad news: college is a money-sucking machine. After spending your entire savings on textbooks you’ll never read, a calculator you’ll never really learn how to use, and those GE classes that are literally just a waste of money…. what’s left for you? How do you manage to enjoy anything outside of school when you’re living on a “I can see through those leggings” tight budget?

These money-saving college tips and tricks are the secret you need to survive the thing we like to call “The College Experience”.

1. Get Paid to Grocery Shop

Here’s the truth: grocery stores want your money. Everything is designed to catch your eye and get you to spend money. (We’re talking about the doorless fridge section, the way the food is organized, everything.)

What’s the best way to save money at the grocery store? Write a grocery list, and stick to it. This will prevent you from falling for grocery marketing gimmicks. If you stick to a list, you won’t be persuaded to buy more food than you need.

The fun way to save money at the grocery store is to get the free app that PAYS YOU to grocery shop. Simply snap a picture of your grocery receipt and watch free money instantly flood into your account.

And don’t worry; you don’t have to buy a bunch of weird food items you’ll never eat. Just go about your regular shopping, buying things like:

  • Bananas
  • Bread (any brand)
  • Tortillas
  • Cheese
  • Pasta
  • Ice Cream

And if you’re trying to eat healthy on a budget, this app is the perfect sidekick!

Grab your free $20 bonus when you download the Ibotta app with this link!

Want to hear even more ways Ibotta can save you money? Check out our Ibotta explainer video, here!

Related Post: Ibotta App Review

2. Rent or Borrow Text Books!

Truth: Textbooks are a savings destroyer. Don’t drop $300 on a new textbook when you can borrow one!

Go to your school’s library. You might be able to checkout your textbook for a few hours every day.

At the end of semester, ask around. You’re bound to know someone who’s taken that class before. Buy it from them for really cheap.

Check out textbook rental options like Amazon’s Rent-A-Textbook marketplace, to find the savvy deals!

Whatever you do, try not to buy new.

3. Meal Prep (with a cheat sheet) 

Ever tried out meal prepping so you could crush that healthy lifestyle while saving money? It starts out sounding like a great idea.

…. Until its 2 hours later, you aren’t even halfway done, and the “Pinterest-worthy” recipe you just made tastes like crap. So I get it, meal prepping was that thing you tried once and never tried again.

Luckily there is a brilliant, money-saving (and time-saving) solution. $5 Meal Plan!!

For just $5 a month, $5 Meal plan sends you mouth-watering meal plans plus a shopping list straight to your inbox!

And every meal can be made for $2 or less!!

Start your 14-Day Free Trial Here to get your meal prep cheat sheet (that’s actually allowed) sent straight to your inbox!

4. Have Your Essentials Delivered to Your Door at 15% Off

Don’t you love asking your friend for a ride to Wal-Mart…for toilet paper? Yeah, I didn’t think so.

Instead, have your toiletries delivered to your front door FOR 15% OFF!! Amazon Subscribe and Save is the ultimate college hack.

Simply pick out the items you’re always buying like:

  • Paper towels
  • Toilet paper
  • Tooth paste
  • You get the point..

And have them shipped to you at any interval you like!

>> At 15% off the full price!

Load up your cart and start subscribing and saving (hundreds) here! 

5. Earn Free Gift Cards In Your Spare Time

Free gift cards are better than cash. While dollar bills can be spent on *anything*…. That anything includes responsibility.

If you’ve got a free gift card to Starbucks, well… you’ve got to buy a Venti Iced Vanilla Late right?

Next time you’re taking a Hulu study break, pull out your computer and start racking up them free gift cards!

How?

  • Dosh Appget a $1welcome bonus for signing up and linking your credit or debit card.
  • Ebates– get a $10 gift card after spending your first $25 online shopping.
  • Ibotta– redeem your free $20 after scanning your first grocery receipt

6. Sell Your Old Stuff And Buy Used

You know those old Ugg boots sitting in your closet collecting dust? SELL THEM! (and use the money to buy new fashion pieces guilt-free!!)

Sell your clothes at a consignment store. Facebook marketplace is another great place to sell your gently worn clothes and accessories for a hefty profit!

Go through you closet, pick out the things you’ll never wear again and sell them!

7. Get Paid to Shop Online

Now that you’ve saved all this money, you should keep it in savings. Build your emergency fund!

However, I know there are occasions when we do need to buy something online. When these circumstances arise, you should know how to earn some cash back.

Rakuten hands over free cash when you make online purchases. Select an Rakuten offer, checkout, and cash will go into your Rakuten account. Then you will get a check in the mail with your free money.

(and it gets better)

Ebates also keeps an updated list of every retailer’s coupon codes, sales, free gift offers, and more!!

Get your $10 Free Gift Card when you sign up (for free) here and make your first $25 purchase!

Related Post: Is Ebates Legit? 

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Do you have any college tips and tricks to save money as a student? Let me know in the comments below!

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