Save money at college using these tips


Cameron Krasucki

Freshman in Engineering Maia DeGuzman works behind the counter at Tenko Tea on March 9. University students can save money in multiple ways by following these helpful tips.

By Aliza Majid, Assistant News Editor

Saving money in college is a huge struggle with all the expenses that seem to pile up all of a sudden. It’s important to have various ways to manage your funds while navigating college life in order to prevent yourself from emptying your wallet. Here are a few ways you can try saving some cash here and there as you try to figure out your financial balance.

College textbooks

College textbooks are one of the biggest expenses that people end up worrying about when they sign up for classes since the prices are ridiculously high. In order to avoid spending hundreds of dollars on textbooks, be sure to do your research beforehand to find cheaper textbooks. Using sites like Amazon, eBay or Facebook Marketplace are some standard secondhand textbook websites that have cheaper alternatives. Joining social media groups such as the University Reddit and Facebook pages are a great way to check if any students are selling their old textbooks as well for a cheaper price. Overall, it’s best to look up your textbooks online and ask your peers if they have any suggestions before buying the University provided textbooks.

Student discounts

As a college student there are so many student discounts that are applicable for many of your shopping needs and desires. Student discounts can apply to a range of items from technology devices to food or clothing and it’s a great resource to take advantage of in order to get a cheaper product. Unidays is an application that gives access to exclusive discounts and deals for college students and all you need to do is verify your student status to start browsing. Asking shops if they have a discount or looking online for any student deals is a great way to get cheaper products for your everyday needs. 


Food and dining is obviously a necessity, but there are ways to ensure that you save your money and budget correctly in order to stop yourself from overspending. There are many restaurants and takeout places on campus that are worth the visit, but it’s important to remember that those things still cost money. Try limiting the number of times you go out to eat and create a budget for yourself in order to manage your money because it can have a large effect on your spending and you won’t even realize it. New students who are dorming should remember to take advantage of all their meal credits and dining swipes because they don’t accumulate overtime as they reset every week. Even if you’re not fond of using your meal credits, it’s best to go to the convenience store and stock up on some food options at the end of the week. You are actively losing money when you don’t spend these credits, and it doesn’t hurt to stock up on supplies when you already have a weekly limit set out for you.

Free Merchandise

College students always talk about the numerous free items that you can get when you attend university events or any sponsored fair because of how often they happen, especially at the beginning of the year. These housing fairs and Quad Day events that are advertised are great places to get free t-shirts, water bottles, tote bags and a variety of office supplies. Keep an eye out for the Illini Union Board and the events they advertise because many of them will most likely have a lot of free merchandise available.


There are many on-campus jobs available for students who would like to make any additional money in order to get cash. These jobs range from dining hall workers, librarians, front desk assistants and many more depending on where you are looking to apply. These on-campus jobs are usually listed on the Virtual Job Board for people to browse and apply if interested. There are many stores in the area that also may be looking for potential employees so it’s always good to keep an eye out for all your options and keeping tabs on what’s open.

Creating a budget and limit for yourself in college is an important task to complete because when you become independent and have access to your own money there are times when you may act in the moment and splurge too much. Finding ways to understand your financial situation and figure out ways to save money will help you in the long run. Overall, just make sure you’re being responsible with your money and finding any potential option to save whenever you can because there are usually cheaper options available.

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