My Story: 15 College Money-Saving Tools

contributed by AnnaLaura

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Are you a student working to make ends meet? Do you need help identifying different resources available to help you stretch your dollar further. I am a graduate student with several thousands of debt and I would like to offer you some advice on how to take advantage of the many discounts and resources available only to students.

  1. Take advantage of student discounts on computers and software. Many of these are significant and often available only while you are a student. Sometimes it may seem like these kinds of purchases are very expensive and they are, but in many cases, you will pay as much as double or even triple if you wait until you are no longer a student.
  2. Use your school library's interlibrary loan. You will be able to get almost any book there is and you can read nearly all of the books you need or want to read without having to buy them with the exception of your textbooks.
  3. Are you studying to become either a teacher or a librarian? Twice a year Borders offers students of these subjects as well as those already in the profession a 20% of discount.
  4. Use your school's printers to print off all of your flyers and papers. You often have a quota and you pay for the pages anyway so make sure you use them.
  5. Take advantage of student newspaper subscription discounts. Often you can subscribe to the local paper for less than half of what non-students pay. Scan the paper and look for events offering free food, discount coupons and much more.
  6. Ask every business possible for a student discount. There are many places that will offer you one, if you just ask.
  7. Try networking with other students in order to get ideas on how to save or get discounts from them. Either in person or online.
  8. Consider starting your own business in order to make extra money. There are many alternatives available to begin with only a small investment.
  9. Make sure you are a member of your grocery store's rewards program. The savings are tremendous.
  10. If the public transportation system in your town is free to students, then use it whenever possible.
  11. Comparison shop for your textbooks on the Internet. Don't just buy them all at the bookstore and assume it's cheaper because usually it isn't.
  12. Do your research before you buy anything that costs more than $50. You may be surprised at the kind of discounts available.
  13. Go dumpster diving. People often throw away all kinds of useful items.
  14. Try your local Goodwill store before you buy anything new.

AnnaLaura Brown is a graduate student at Indiana University. She is also a team leader in a growing marketing company.

"My Story" is a regular feature of The Dollar Stretcher. If you have a story that could help save time or money, please send it by

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