How to Save Money at College | Sponsored by Regions Bank

College is stressful enough.  Leaving home for the first time, surrounded by smart peers, missing your family and friends.  Just typing this is practically causing me to hyperventilate from the memories.  On top of all of that is the worry about money.  Money before, during and after.  So when Regions Bank approached me to write this article, I was thrilled to discuss the money matters I wish I’d known back when I was a broke college student.

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The syllabus and course outline are passed out at every student orientation or first class, but there’s almost no discussion about budgets and hidden costs.  Everything I knew I picked up in the hallways like some sort of illicit conversation. Regions Bank has you covered with advice so that you don’t find yourself relying on the equally clueless in your classes.  Here’s an outline for students out there:

1. Make a budget.  Seems basic, but how many of us actually wrote out a budget before college?  Sure we learned Excel spreadsheets, but I thought of those as a way to keep track of my outfit options and as a way to keep track of who was coming to parties and what everyone was bringing.

  • As simple as it sounds, add up all the money that will be coming in and subtract the money that will be going out. Regions Bank helps you consider all the bits and bobs you have going in and out so that you can see if you’ll be able to afford it all, or if you’ll need to textbook-share with someone. There are so many hidden or lesser-known costs (because how often do you first go off to college? It’s like when you’re expected to budget for a wedding and you think “how should I know?”) but Regions has your back. And don’t forget if you want to join a fraternity or sorority. It’s an amazing experience, but it’s comes at an additional cost.

2. Get creative when it comes to vacations. Welcome to college and the real world where getting creative is more than learning Adobe and Instagram filters. For example, Regions Bank is always looking for great ways to help with finances and even has some really interesting thoughts on low budget vacation ideas. Hostels are traditional, but there’s also Couchsurfing.com and staying with your new college friends. Facebook is a great way to look for friends of friends who might let you stay with them for a short while. I have a friend who recently travelled across the United States, just by reaching out via Facebook to see who had a friend in the next town that she could crash with. It doesn’t cost anything (except a small thank-you gift to your host(s)) and you meet new people.

3. Look for scholarships. You’d be surprised by how many random, narrow-focused scholarships there are out there that few people know or qualify for. I’ll bet there’s even one for left-handed, red-headed, ferret-loving women under 5’. My cousin applied for and got so many scholarships that he ended up making money during college. And don’t just look for scholarships your first year, keep looking. Sometimes a student drops out and their scholarship opens up, and some are just for sophomores or juniors. No need to stop looking for free money.

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4. Get into habits you’ll maintain the rest of your life. And no, I don’t mean “beer on Fridays.” I mean learn to:

  • Save. Even if you only have $50 at the end of each month, put it away in a savings account. In 20 years you could have $14,000 there with interest earned. And all you did was pass up Starbucks a few times a week. Regions has an interactive calculator to help you estimate how much your savings will be worth.

  • Get a credit card but use it judiciously. It’s great to start building credit, but don’t spend more than you literally have, cash-wise, or else you risk running up a debt that goes above your possible tuition debt.

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I’d love to hear anyone else’s tips - I’m sure I could still use some, and I know college kids who should be all ears. Regions Bank has more ideas than the above and you can find them all on their site here.

Now I’ve gotten to thinking about all the other things I wish I’d known before college. Such as how to get coffee stains out of denim, the best alarm clock, how to deal with obnoxious housemates, when fabric softener goes in the laundry, and am I ever going to use what I learned in “Introduction To Gothic Literature.”


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RESPONSES

  • Linda says:

    This post takes me back to memory lane. I remember I was also struggling to find scholarships so I could continue with my studies. I wish I knew most of these tips before.

  • Denise says:

    Thank you for this informative post. My daughter will surely learn a lot about saving money now that she’s in college.

  • Bianca G. says:

    Sharing this to my son! Thanks so much for all these money-saving tips!

  • Claire says:

    Thanks for all the tips. I am sharing this now to my fellow moms who are thinking ahead for the future of our kids.

  • Carmencita says:

    Thanks for these tips. I have to think ahead for my son’s future now. Thank you!

  • Angelique says:

    Love the tips, thank you!

  • Taylor says:

    It’s never easy finding funds or gaining scholarship in College. You really have to work for it. Thank you for sharing this very informative post.

  • Ryan H. says:

    One tip I can share for college students on how to save – Buy or rent used textbooks and sell last semester’s books back. And also, avoid making impulse purchases. Think twice or thrice before buying anything.

  • Raizza Mae says:

    Here’s something to think about when saving money in college… Keep track of when your bills are due, as well as the account balance for your debit card. Make sure you don’t concur any late payment fees and overdraft fees.

  • Gracie Iverson says:

    Making a budget… now that’s something I need to do before venturing out to groceries or to the mall or to any shopping places. I am ashamed to admit that I didn’t care much about my expenses, as long as I get what I want. Now that I’m in college, I learn my mistake. I really need to budget everything from food to laundry to school supplies to rent. Everything!

  • Lily James says:

    I am still trying to find some other ways to save money now that I am in college. Thank you for all the tips here. Very useful and beneficial.

  • Haydee V. says:

    Love these helpful money-saving tips!

  • Jenny Clarence says:

    Love the tips you suggested here. I’m sure a lot of college students will be grateful for these tips on how to cut back and save.

  • Emily Sarah says:

    It’s nice to know that we students have a lot of options to choose from in order to save more and be ready for college. Thankful for this awesome post!

  • Lorelei Chung says:

    Thank you Regions Bank and The Ambitionista for this very important and helpful tips and advice!

  • Ramona Thames says:

    I don’t have anymore tips to share because I thought yours and Regions Bank’s money saving tips will suffice. I am going to tell my college son about this 🙂 Thank you.

  • Nissa says:

    Budgeting has never been my strongest point. Any help I could get, I would surely grab, so I thank you for this so valuable post and links to Regions. Thank you!

  • Jackie Loius says:

    Thank you for this, for always helping out not just women and bloggers but also students with your money saving tips. This is a big help!

  • Chrissy Rico says:

    Glad to know there’s Regions Bank we can count on to have our backs 🙂 Thanks!

  • Vanessa B. says:

    College is a real struggle for me but I really want to graduate and make it to the top so I will do whatever it takes to finish it. So thank you for all these helpful tips!

  • Grace Dean says:

    I remember being in college ten years ago. It was brutal, having to work my way off while studying and saving every scrap I could save just to be able to get on and pay the bills. I wish I had something like this to read before.

  • Leila Rhonda says:

    I love that you not only give tips about fashion and corporate stuffs, but you also share info about financial concerns. This post will definitely help my college daughter.

  • M. Carmichael says:

    I have just forwarded this post to my daughter who’s currently in college and trying to make ends meet. Hopefully she’ll take note of these and learn more about your money saving tips.

  • Mathilda says:

    Thanks for recommending Regions Bank and for all these helpful money saving tips. I don’t want to live in student loans forever in college, but having another alternative is better than nothing.

  • Agnes says:

    Love all these tips. Very informative and helpful to us students. Thank you!