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5 life hacks to save money as a college student

by Jeniffer Jaquet

Apr 19, 2022, 2:00 PM.

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Learn some valuable tips and tricks to help relieve some of the financial stress of pursuing a degree.

College may be the first time where many people start to handle and save money alone. While taking classes and/or working a job, financial health often falls to the bottom of the list, but with some planning and awareness of what is available, students can financially succeed in an increasingly costly world. The following are some simple tips and tricks for saving money as a college student, and relieving some of the stress of modern life.

1. Tools to budget your spending

It’s a good idea to form financial habits early, and there are many benefits to saving money in college. Whether it’s a spreadsheet or using a cash envelope wallet, creating and sticking to a budget that includes all of your expenses, wages and savings can help you plan for current living costs and future financial goals. FIU has partnered with iGrad to offer financial wellness tools to students (as well as faculty and staff) across the university. With iGrad, individuals can create budgets and complete assessments to determine their financial goals and money personality, as well as complete courses on banking and credit.

2. Use your student ID for discounts

Being a student brings many financial benefits and perks, as long as you know where to look. There are a variety of businesses and companies that offer discounts to students, as long as you show your FIU One Card. From restaurants like Buffalo Wild Wings and retailers like Under Armour, using your student ID can help save a few dollars here and there. Using websites like UNiDAYS can also aid individuals in finding discounts or free gifts at their favorite stores such as Apple, or everyday shopping such as grocery stores.

3. Save on books and materials

Textbooks and class materials are known to be infamously expensive. Especially if there are no renting options or if materials must be purchased brand new. FIU has implemented two programs to help alleviate the cost for textbooks and materials: Affordability Counts and Panther Book Pack. Students can use the Affordability Counts program to find courses that offer digital textbooks and materials for $60 or less, total. The Affordability Counts website is also a useful tool for students who need low- or no-cost research materials in their discipline.

The Panther Book Pack program, launched in fall 2021, helps lighten the financial burden of textbooks and materials, as well. Panther Book Pack offers rented materials for $20 per credit hour and you can pick up your books at the FIU bookstore or they can be delivered to your address on the first day of each semester.

4. Free food

Whether it’s a career fair or homecoming, campus events are bound to give out goodies and free food. When students visit Panther Connect, they can keep up with all of the upcoming events happening at all campuses, and can filter by whether a certain event offers free food or swag. FIU students also have access to the food pantry, where they can take home up to 10 pounds of canned and dry goods, produce and toiletries – all judgment free.

5. Take advantage of student perks

As a student, individuals have the opportunity to access free- or low-cost resources, whether on campus or off. The FIU Wellness and Recreation Center is available to all students, and even offers classes and appointments to students at a low or no cost. These include HIIT (high intensity interval training), yoga and even archery. The library also allows students to peruse and rent all of their books for free, and with student credentials, individuals can access free newspaper subscriptions to publications such as the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal. FIU students also have access to Microsoft Office Suite and McAfee Livesafe antivirus at no cost. 

Success has a price tag, but saving a few pennies and dimes has never been easier as an FIU student, whether face-to-face or online.

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