Easy Money Hacks for College Students

It’s fall already, the school year is well underway and we are already thinking about how quickly the holidays are coming up! It’s around this time of year that many of us (not just college students), are looking for ways to save a little more money. To help save for those finals week coffee shop marathons and gifts for your loved ones, read on for these easy hacks to save money in college.

Shop Around for Used Items

While it takes a bit more resourcefulness and creativity, you can find stylish clothing and home decor for cheap or even free by going to used stores. If you’re looking for cheaper furniture to refurbish your dorm or apartment, check out the Habitat for Humanity ReStore. For free clothing and household goods, the People’s City Mission Help Center (68th & O) offers shopping nights on Wednesdays, 6-8pm specifically for college students, or find cheap clothing at a local thrift store.

Oftentimes, with a little bit of digging, you can find fantastic gently used or even new items at all of these stores. Especially if you’re a DIY-er or just want to try making homemade gifts for the first time, it’s easy to find items to reuse or upcycle; everything from baskets, to cloth, picture frames, books, or whatever you need for your next project.

Not only will you have the satisfaction of saving money, but you’ll also feel good about keeping valuable items out of landfills! It’s great for Mother Nature, your style and your wallet.

Brew Your Own Coffee

We know how convenient it is to swing by your favorite coffee shop for a quick caffeine fix, but ordering coffee regularly adds up quickly. In fact, you could save hundreds of dollars each year by brewing your coffee at home, instead of shelling out $3.50 for your favorite brew.

Do you want to achieve that same coffee shop taste but at home? Try tweaking your coffee recipe or process until you find the way you enjoy your coffee best!

  • A french press is a fast, easy way to brew darker coffee
  • Grind your coffee beans fresh before each brew
  • Try adding cinnamon to the grounds for extra flavor
  • Put in 1-2 tbsp. of butter to your finished coffee for a creamy taste

Free Amazon Prime for 6 Months

Save on all those shipping fees by signing up for a free 6-Month trial for Amazon Prime! You’ll get free, two-day shipping on most Amazon purchases, access to thousands of movies and tv shows through Prime Video and receive student specific discounts. This is perfect for when you’re purchasing textbooks, holiday gifts and even your household basics!

Fun Ways to Save Money: Money Saving Game

Are you notorious for being more of a spender than a saver? Are you looking to change your saving habits but are unsure where to begin? Has saving money always seemed more like a chore? Follow along with us and within a few months, you’ll have better saving habits and won’t want to pull your hair out!

First things first, you don’t need to wait for the new year to begin a resolution and start being intentional about saving money. If you notice a problem with your spending and saving habits, address it as soon as you can. 69% of Americans have less than $1,000 in their savings account and with that little in savings, most families would not be able to cover a medical emergency or a layoff. It is recommended to have three to six months of your earnings saved in case of these unforeseen circumstances.

With that in mind though, saving money can seem like pulling teeth sometimes. But, if you start with a set goal in mind, are motivated and can have a little fun with it too, you’ll see that saving money doesn’t have to be a nightmare. And when something feels like a game, we’re more likely to do it! “Let’s play a game!” sounds way better to us than “Stop spending money now!”

Come on, let’s play the Week-by-Week Money Saving Game!

The premise is simple. For the next year, you’ll set aside a certain amount of money into a separate savings account. The amount you put in will correlate to the week you’re in (Week 1 of the game, you’ll put $1 in savings, Week 2 of the game, you’ll put $2 in savings and repeat).

By the end of the year, you’ll have saved over $1,300, or more if you really get into it! If going week-by-week in sequential order won’t work for you, there are numerous variations to try. For example, if you’re starting in September and know you won’t have many expenses in the next couple of months, try starting at the end of the game. (Week 1 of the game, place $52 in savings, Week 2 of the game, place $51 and repeat).

Another way to make it feel more like a game is to create a money-envelope game board! If your income fluctuates week to week or month to month, this is another fun option to try. On a big piece of cardboard or cardstock, tape 52 envelopes to the front, all numbered 1-52. Then, at the beginning of each week, depending on your mood or your cash flow that week, pick an envelope and place that designated amount in savings. This allows you to place $32 in Week 1 but then $2 in Week 45, or whatever works for you. Just remember that by the end of the year, all the envelopes will need to be gone so plan ahead for what envelopes you choose when! This is also a fun way to show off your money saving game to your friends or family that visit.

If you already have about three to six months worth of your salary in savings, take the game to the next level. Instead of placing in $1 in savings at the start, place $2 and continue to put in double what week it is. (Week 1 of the game, place $2 in savings, Week 30, place $60 in savings).