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College is expensive – that’s no surprise. Every penny counts, especially as a college student. We often find ourselves asking, “where did my money go?” We’ve all been there before, and we want to help you save every possible penny. 

Here are some great ways to save money without even realizing it.

Use student discounts everywhere you go

Try to go to places that offer some sort of student discount. It could be anything from a movie theater to your favorite restaurant. Sometimes these businesses don’t make it well known that they offer these discounts, so don’t be afraid to ask. 

Take advantage of being a college student and find ways to save. UNiDAYS is an online platform that helps college students save money by keeping students informed of the many businesses that give student discounts. Creating a UNiDAYS account is completely free and takes less than 5 minutes. 

Using student discounts will reflect positively on your bank account. All it takes is your college ID, and you’ll be on your way to some time good discounts. 

Eat out less

You’ve probably heard this one before from your parents or friends. Most of us know that eating out frequently can quickly become detrimental to our bank accounts. We suggest you pick one or two days a week to eat out and soon your pockets will thank you. Go grab a couple of meals at your school’s dining halls and perhaps challenge yourself to try something new from each menu every chance you get.

Track your finances

Apps such as Mint, Digit, and Acorns will help you save every possible penny. These apps also help you budget your income. They do so by offering tools that breakdown how you utilize your money. The best thing about these apps is that they are all FREE. 

Their mission is to make you more self-aware about where your money goes. Doing so will force you to think twice before spending your money on unnecessary things. You’ll be surprised to see the extra money you’ll be saving.

Use cash

I had to do a lot of soul searching for this particular tip. I personally only use cash on rare occasions. However, I’ve noticed that using cash is a great way to prevent impulse spending. This observation is supported by the belief that the act of reaching for your wallet and actually taking the money out often leads us to think twice about what we’re about to pay for. 

Think about it, when buying things on Amazon, we probably go straight to check out and use the payment method already linked to our accounts without thinking about it twice. Therefore, the next time you buy something, whether it’s online or in-store, pretend you need to take money out. There’s a chance you won’t buy half the stuff in your shopping cart. 

Saved payment options brought me to my next tip…

Never save your card information online

Don’t do it, just don’t. I know, it’s easier to just click a button every time you want to purchase something electronically, but doing so often makes you more oblivious to your actual financial situation. 

Similar to the previous tip, the act of manually entering your card information each time you buy something can cause you to reconsider spending – let’s say – $25 for a cool lamp (that you probably don’t need).

Cancel unused subscriptions

Be mindful of all the things you automatic pay for. Most subscriptions require automatic payments, which in turn prompt us to forget about said payments. One of the best ways to know if you’re paying for unnecessary things is by going through your bank statements and getting rid of any subscriptions you haven’t used in the last few months. 

Unsubscribe from streaming services and just keep the ones you genuinely use frequently. Don’t forget to also keep only one gym membership. After canceling unused subscriptions, your bank statement will reflect the additional funds coming in. 

Transfer funds automatic to your savings account

Whether you’re using your financial aid funds, your parent’s allowance, or work salary, you should consider setting up automatic transfers to your savings account. It could be as little as $25 per week (depending on your bank). Try transferring the lowest amount of money, and before you know it, your savings account will look healthy (LOL). For this to work, you’ll need to forget about the account. 

Yes – It’s possible to forget how much you have in your savings account. To help you forget it easily, consider using the funds for emergencies only or if your financial situation changes.

Avoid taking Ubers unless it’s necessary

A $10.00 Uber ride might not feel like much at the moment, but once you pay that amount multiple times in just one week, your bank account will unfortunately suffer. To save money without realizing it, take turns driving with your friends instead of Ubering everywhere. 

If you don’t have a car and Uber is your only option, consider splitting the cost.  Here’s a little secret: The more friends join you in an Uber ride, the more you’ll save. Therefore, don’t hesitate to ask your friends to ride with you everywhere. 

There are a variety of different ways you can save money while on a college student budget. Even changing the smallest aspect of your finances can help you go a long way. Try different tips until you find which one works best for you.

We hope that by following these tips, you’ll no longer be afraid to open your mobile bank account app to check your current balance.

We are not affiliated with the U.S. Department of Education. Federal Student Aid (FSA), an office of the U.S. Department of Education, makes the Free
Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA®) form and assistance available to the public for free at fafsa.gov.