When you’re in college, saving an extra $500 is a huge deal! Five hundred dollars is a lot of money and there are a lot of things you could do with that amount. I remember some months in college where I would eat dinner on the Dollar Menu at McDonalds because money was tight.
Fortunately for you, there are some super easy things you can incorporate into your life that will save you at least $500, if not much more.
Here are four simple tricks that can add up to $500 in savings each year. These are geared towards college students, but several apply to anyone!
Always Use a Cashback Website
You should never, ever shop online without first going through a cashback website.
One website we’re really liking right now is DollarDig. DollarDig is easy to use, has partnerships with more than 3,500 retailers, and allows you to cash out once your account reaches the $25 mark.
If you spend an average of $1,000 per month online, and can average a 2% cash back savings, that’s $20 per month in savings. Doesn’t seem like a lot, but that adds up to $240 per year. And trust me, most stores offer more than 1% cash back, and some even offer upwards of 20%. A 2% average is pretty easy to get.
Make sure to bookmark your favorite cashback website so that you can easily access it every time you buy online. Depending on how much you spend online this one thing could easily net you $100 or more in a years’ time.
Save on Textbooks with These Ideas
Textbooks are ridiculously expensive. It almost seems unethical for the cost of books to be so high. If you normally buy your textbooks brand new from the campus bookstore, you’re passing up on some massive savings.
Here are some ideas you can do instead.
Buy Used – Used textbooks, whether purchased online at a place like Amazon or even at your campus bookstore, are much less expensive than brand new. And since you’re only using a textbook for a short period of time buying new is pointless. (Sell your book when you’re finished to put some cash back in your pocket.)
Rent a Textbook – You can rent textbooks, either new or used, from placed like BookRenter. Shipping is free both ways and the return process is simple. You can save up to 90% by doing this. We recently put together our list of the top places to rent a college textbook from.
Get a Digital Copy – If you prefer your books to be on a tablet then buy a digital copy. While you won’t get as much bang for your buck as you would renting or buying used, you’ll still save yourself money.
Given that the average student spends about $1,200 in books, saving 70%-90% is a huge savings!
Get the Right Cell Phone Plan
One little switch in your cell phone plan could save you over $500 in a year itself.
Contract phones have notoriously been the favorite of cell phone shoppers. But now there are tons of non-contract options that are just as great, if not better, than contract options.
One of our favorite options for college students is Republic Wireless. Republic Wireless offers plans start at $5 a month. They also have great smart phones to choose from. And remember, if you do this online through sites like DollarDig, you can even get a few bucks back. Republic Wireless currently has a $25 cash back offer through DollarDig.
Apply for Scholarships
Another thing you can do to save loads of money in college is to apply for scholarships. While this idea does take more effort than the rest it can pay off in huge dividends. It is free money for your education!
One of the best places to begin your scholarship is at your parent’s place of employment – especially if it’s a large company. But you can also check out local non-profits, online resources, and even your college’s financial aid office.
You can read more about finding college scholarships here.
Save That $500
Once you have the money saved, you need to park it somewhere. We recommend using a high yield savings account to make sure your money works for you, while still being accessible if you need it. Check out the best savings accounts for students, or check out this list below:
You could potentially save $500 by pursuing just one of these ideas. If you go all in and try them all the amount you save could be massive!
Do you have any other simple tips for saving money in college?