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10 Tips to Save $ in College

Headshot of Nadia Pressley

About the Author

- Hi, future Bears! My name is Nadia Presley, and I’m a Journalism and Global Development Studies double major. I’ve learned a lot in college, and one of them is how to save money and spend wisely. Below are my top 10 tips.

1. Get An On-Campus Job — Get That Bread!

Mercer offers a variety of employment opportunities so students can earn money without even having to leave campus. Hours are usually flexible, so it’s easy to find a job to fit into any schedule!

2. Be Book Smart.

In my experience, buying textbooks has been one of the fastest ways to drain my bank account at the beginning of each semester. Try to avoid buying new books by borrowing from friends or checking them out from the library. If those aren’t options, try renting or shopping online. At the end of the semester, make sure to resell any books you did buy.

3. Use Your Meal Plan.

If you have a meal plan, take full advantage of it! This will cut down on extra food expenses and save you money in the long run. When you need to shake up your routine, you can eat at multiple restaurants on campus by using the meal exchange program. Chick-fil-A, anyone?

4. Limit Your Spending.

I know it’s hard, but try to avoid purchases that you don’t absolutely need. If you want to treat yourself, make sure to shop smart. You can shop second-hand. Buy a Yeti and make your coffee at home instead of spending $4 at Starbucks every day. Limit how often you eat out each week. You can even make a budget for all your expenses.

5. Look Out For FREE Events.

One good thing about college? There are always events happening on campus. What’s even better? Many of them offer free food and giveaways to students! Instead of spending money on entertainment, look to see if Quadworks is hosting a fun event. (You can even help them plan it!) And when you want to get off campus, there are plenty of free activities around town too.

6. Open A Savings Account.

Once you find that job, open a savings account! College is a great time to learn the importance of saving money. Set aside a portion of your earnings each paycheck and watch your savings account grow! This will give you peace of mind whenever money gets tight.

7. Build Credit.

College is also a great time to start building your credit, but make sure you do it wisely! Try to only use credit cards for emergencies or important purchases. Make sure to pay off your credit card balance each month to avoid interest fees.

8. Take Advantage Of #CollegePerks.

Mercer does a great job of providing free amenities to students. Instead of getting a gym membership in town, use the fitness center in the UC for free. Avoid wasting gas by using the free trolley service. If you do need your car, don’t worry, parking is free!

9. Sharing Is Caring.

Cleaning supplies, groceries, and other dorm essentials can add up quickly. Go shopping with your roommates and split the cost to save money.

10. Become A Bargain Hunter.

Before you go shopping, search for coupons. Online coupon codes are easily accessible and can make a big difference. There are also several stores and restaurants that offer student discounts, so always check. In general, it’s best to avoid buying anything at full price whenever you can!