9 tips for saving money in college

Friday, August 6, 2021 9 tips for saving money in college

College can seem expensive, yet it doesn’t have to break the bank. There are many ways to save money while you're a student. Try these tips to set yourself up for financial success throughout your college career.

  1. Buy Used and Repurposed

    When available, opt for used textbooks instead of buying brand new. Search for used versions of your required textbooks by NUID number or by course at the University Bookstore.

    Browse thrift stores around Lincoln for gently used décor, furniture and clothing. And visit campus resources to update or expand your wardrobe throughout the year, like the Lavender Closet at the LGBTQA+ Center or the Career Closet, if you’re in the College of Business.

  2. Use Public Transportation

    Bus and van services connect the university’s campuses with full weekday routes, and students can ride for free. Feeding a meter every day can add up quickly, so if you do choose to drive, look for a parking pass that meets your needs.

    Save money and reduce your carbon footprint by biking. Rent a bike from UNL Outdoor Adventures or get an annual student pass to use the Bike LNK stations around town.

    Need to make a quick trip downtown? Hop on one of the city’s new electric scooters.

  3. Limit Eating Out and Choose Your Meal Plan Wisely

    While it may seem appealing to go out for lunch or dinner with friends, you'll save money by eating most meals at home and setting a reasonable budget for dining out each month. Consider purchasing one of Dining Services’ flexible meal plans. Students can choose from a variety of meal plans which include Dining Dollars that can be used at Herbie’s Markets and at vendors in the Nebraska Unions.

    If you like to cook and make mealtime social, consider ordering Meal Kit Mondays from Campus Rec. You'll get everything you need to make a delicious entrée for 4 people for only $15.

  4. Take Advantage of Campus Amenities

    There are several resources on campus that can help you save on everything from academics to well-being and many are covered by student fees.

    • Campus Rec Centers – Cardio and weightlifting equipment, sport courts, a lap pool, fitness classes, injury and prevention and more
    • University Health Center – Primary care, dental, pharmacy, physical therapy and more.
    • Husker Pantry – Grab essential food and hygiene items to help you stretch your budget.
    • Counseling & Psychological Services (CAPS) – Individual counseling, support groups, therapy groups and more.
    • Husker Tech – Discounts on electronics and cellular services, computer help and repair, free laptop checkout and more.
    • Libraries – Check out course reading materials, cameras, video games and DVDs instead of buying. You also can get access to Adobe software, scanners, video recording equipment and more.
    • Computer Labs – Convenient computer, printer and scanner access in multiple buildings on campus, including at the Nebraska Union where the lab is open 24 hours.
  5. Split costs with roommate(s)

    Talk with your roommate(s) about sharing the cost for things like appliances, room décor, groceries, and utilities. If you’re commuting to campus, see if you can carpool with others who live in your area and have similar class schedules.

  6. Use Your Student Discount

    There are many places where you can take advantage of being a student.

    Get free or half-priced tickets to shows at the Lied Center.

    Catch a movie on Thursdays at the Lincoln Grand Cinema for only $6 with your NCard, plus a 46oz popcorn for free.

    Other local and national businesses offer discounts with a valid student ID as well. If you’re not sure, ask! Student discounts aren’t always advertised.

  7. Find Free and Cheap Entertainment

    Several campus groups provide free and fun activities throughout the year.

    Campus Nightlife hosts events like Back-to-School Bash, street dances, mini golf outings and more.

    Enjoy free bowling at Nebraska East Union every Tuesday through Sunday starting August 17, 2021.

    Join Campus Rec for Free Skate Nights select Fridays and Saturdays throughout the semester.

    Find a variety of fun, free(ish) events happening every Friday night during the fall semester.

  8. Don't Fail Classes

    Aside from being the primary reason you’re at college, your classes cost money and having to take one twice is an unexpected cost you’ll want to avoid.

    Stay on top of your studying, understand your syllabi and know important drop/withdrawal dates to ensure you stay on schedule and graduate on time.

  9. Take advantage of FREE Financial Well-being Tools

    Schedule a free money coaching appointment or use Big Red Resilience & Well-being's online resources for managing a budget, credit, insurance, student loans and more.

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