How you can save money in college

Students+can+get+coupons+online+or+by+mail%2C+sometimes+for+free.+

Mary Mitchell

Students can get coupons online or by mail, sometimes for free.

Faith Brody, Life Editor

8As the second semester of my senior year of college draws to a close, I have reflected on the weird ways I have tried to save money. The reality of college is always being broke, running on caffeine and trying to “adult.” So when multiple jobs, scholarships and loans don’t cover it, I am here to impart what I’ve learned to put a little extra in your bank account.

Couponing:  This strategy seems to be the exclusive realm of, well, not college students. But it saves tons of money. I go to coupons.com to get name-brand-item coupons. If you can’t live without a particular brand, check out its website and see if they have printable coupons. And if your family still gets the paper, scour the ads for manufacturer coupons and sales. Check and see if stores you frequently shop at have coupon apps, like Target’s Cartwheel.

Sign up for rewards programs: Especially at your local grocery store, gas station, restaurant or whatever store you hit up often. You’ll often get a discount or freebie just for signing up, and the discounts begin to add up after a while. Just make sure you check your email often, so you don’t miss anything.

Cash Back: I use eBates when I shop online because it gives back a small percentage of how much you spend. Sure, only getting 80 cents or a dollar back at every shopping trip can seem disappointing, but it adds up, especially if you shop online often. I was very skeptical of this at first, but a couple of my friends used eBates and were very pleased with the results, so I decided to give it a try. There are similar programs to this, like Shopkick. Remember to always double check the legitimacy of cash-back programs, though! (Pssst…. eBates also works on Chegg, so you can earn a small victory when you drop $150 on a textbook you use once the whole semester.)

Buy generic: Of course, you’ll first have to decide what name-brand products you can’t live without. Fortunately, a lot of generic items work or taste the same as the pricier brand. It’ll take some experimenting at first, but the difference of only a few cents can add up during a routine trip to the grocery store.

Stock up and save: Take advantage of the sales that are “buy one get one,” especially on products that don’t expire, like paper towel, shampoo, laundry detergent or lotion. Not only will you be saving money in the long run, but it will be nice to have backups on hand, just in case you run out of something unexpectedly.

Hold on to those returnables!: It boggles my mind when I walk past recycling bins (or even the trash!) on campus and see them stuffed with Pepsi bottles or cans. Keep a bag in your car, dorm room or wherever and fill it up with returnable bottles. Set aside an half hour one Saturday every few months to return them and make money. I procrastinated on this all last year and ended up making almost $30 from my returnables run.

Shop around for the best deal: I did this when I bought or rented all of my textbooks. I’d check Amazon, the Oakland bookstore, Neebo and Chegg and would get the cheapest books after I compared all the prices. A little bit of work, but a lot of saving!