How To Avoid Being A Broke College Student

If you are getting into college or are already there, I am sure you have heard the stereotype of the “broke college student.”

Well, it is a stereotype for a reason. Between tuition, books, school supplies and groceries most students don’t have more than a few dollars in their bank accounts at the end of each semester. Luckily there are a few ways to manage your wallet woes!

Cut Expenses

Cutting back on the amount of money that you spend on unnecessary items can be done a number of ways:

  • Get to the Library: Try to find out which textbooks you are going to need a few weeks before your semester starts. Doing this will give you enough time to locate some of your books at local libraries so that you can borrow them for free, rather than paying hundreds of dollars!  If your own library doesn’t have the books that you need, see if you can locate them through an inter-library loan. There are some  books, however, that won’t be in the library system at all. If that is the case try to buy the books from a site that will let you sell them back once your semester is over. 
  • Take the shuttle: If your campus offers free use of a shuttle or bus system use it! Even if you have a car on campus, taking the bus can help you save money on gas. If the shuttle system has a specified route, it may also keep you from making extra stops to spend $6 at Starbucks on your way home.
  • Stay in: Make sure you explore and consider all of your entertainment options before you opt for a night on the town. While these are fun, they can be very costly. If you and your friends are considering going to the movies, see if there is a movie at Redbox that you wouldn’t mind seeing instead. Rather than everyone spending $12 on a weekend movie you can each manage spending 12 cents and be able to hang around in your pajamas. Win, win!

Student Deals

Living in a college town typically makes it easy to find student deals in the surrounding restaurants or entertainment venues. Many restaurants will offer a modest discount to students or have student days at some point during the year. If you want to be an expert deal-seeker, follow the social media sites of the restaurants that you enjoy in your area. They probably will not have a neon sign out front advertising their best student deals, and if that is the case, connecting with the business online can be a great asset.

It never hurts to ask if there are students discounts when you are going out. If the venue offers it, you may as well use that I.D. and take advantage of the savings.

Get a Job

If  you are having a hard time cutting back on your expenses and you don’t want to become a broke college student, one way to balance things out is to get a part-time job.

While it may be hard to find the time to work, finding a few hours here and there can really help. Even if you only work 10 hours a week, that is more than $50 that you can designate as your weekly spending money.

Most of the time if you find a job on campus they will be willing to work around your schedule. This makes it so that even if you only have two hours of a break each day, you can still make some quick cash.

If jobs on campus aren’t available, a lot of businesses in a college town will be understanding of the student schedule and will be willing to work with you.


During your time in high school or your first semesters of college, you probably discovered that you are particularly skilled in one area of academia. You might as well use that skill to your advantage! You can offer your friends, classmates or floor mates if they need tutoring in your area of expertise. If they do you can charge them a modest price.

You can also put up flyers around your campus offering your services to fellow students for as little as $10 an hour.

Hopefully these tips help you avoid the broke college student label!

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Amber Bray

Amber Bray

Amber Bray is a senior at North Central College studying journalism and graphic design. Apart from her classes Amber writes a relationship advice column, along with other pieces, for the North Central Chronicle. She also writes and designs for North Central’s online magazine, The Viewfinder. Amber is a trivia fanatic and in her free time she enjoys board games, reading and writing fiction, and spending time with friends and family.