This post was written by the former Estonian Credit Union, now Northern Birch Credit Union.
1 . Borrow, rent, or buy used textbooks! Always check if your professor put their textbooks on reserve in the school library, that way you can still do the required readings without breaking the bank. Another option is to look for your books online, either to rent them or buy them used. There’s huuuge cost savings here; even if you only find one of your 5 textbooks online, you’ll still help your wallet out.
2. Need some coffee to keep you awake during those late-night cram sessions? Some big chain coffee places (Starbucks) will give you free refills when you sit in the restaurant. Buy the cheapest size and go up as many times as you need.
3. Living with roommates? Work with them to make your food cheaper. Maybe you can each cook one night of the week, that way you only spend money on food a few nights a week plus there’s food ready for you when you get home! Or, have weekly dinners 2-3 times a week, where one person cooks and everyone else pitches in ingredients you already have.
4. Pay attention to events on campus!! Free food, free movie nights, happy hour deals, all of these are perks to being a university student that you shouldn’t take for granted.
5. Dollar store makeover – you would be surprised what you can find at the dollar store, be it laundry hampers, picture frames, notebooks, you can dress up your room without breaking the bank.
6. Look for on-campus opportunities to make some extra money! Science is awesome, even better, it involves experiments. Look for opportunities to take part in these and earn some extra money! A lot of the time these experiments are as simple as questionnaires or computer tests.
7. Opt out of programs you don’t need. Lots of colleges/universities provide dental & health insurance for students, but if you’re already a part of your parents plan you can opt out of these and get back over $100!
8. Look for free bank accounts! Not to toot our own horn, but at ECU we provide free accounts to EVERYONE. Even though plenty of institutions have ‘student’ accounts, they still limit you to a certain number of transactions a month. At ECU we don’t put limits on your transactions, so go ahead and use your debit card as often as you want.