What to Do When College is Too Expensive? 37 Ways to Reduce the Cost of College

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Managing expenses and keeping account books open at all times about where your money should go while you’re in college can be challenging especially for a new college student. You want to enjoy your time but you have to cut on costs just so you can afford your tuition fee and other expenses associated with it. 

Sometimes it can be a lot if you just moved out and you are striving to sustain a balanced lifestyle on your own. But there’s nothing to be afraid of. There are dozens of ways to save by learning how to manage a given amount of money. 

Being financially savvy will not only help you in the start of your college but also in the long run as the academic costs are expected to rise further in the coming decade.

Research by the College Board has estimated how costs of college are going to rise by 2037. 

The yearly expenditure of a four-year college in the United States is expected to be $240,825 despite increasing at a rate of 4.9 percent per year for the past 20 years. 


The annual cost of a four-year college in the United States is expected to be $240,825 after advancing at a rate of 4.9 percent per year for the past 20 years.

Budgeting is not that bad after all. It allows you to maintain the thrill of college while remaining financially conscious. By adopting simple economically healthy behaviors, you may save a lot of money. 

This ultimate guide offers a how-to for thriving college on a budget, covering everything from saving money with fun to prioritizing your academic needs.

What Should You Do to Check on College Expenses?

Starting earlier and spending quite enough time researching all or most of the scholarship alternatives that your office offers you and seeing what’s available to you. In your fully funded scholarship pursuit, pull out all your stops. 

Search for grants in a wide range of categories, music, academics, and just about everything else you can think of—and try to apply to most of these possibilities that also interest you. 

It’s worth contacting your school’s Academic Affairs Office to see if they have any plans to provide performance-based support. Some institutions set aside funds for students who shine in specific areas, whether it’s a particular subject, a sport, or anything else. 

If you match the qualifications for even one of these scholarships, you may be eligible for merit-based funding.

But, if you’ve already applied to the school you wanted to, there are a few other ways to spend your money wisely. 

Following are some suggestions to help you build sensible buying habits throughout your time in college. We have divided the aspects of college life where you can economize and have a stress-free time. 

Let’s go through the sections one by one. 

Use Your School’s Resources

Before you get to school, there’s one thing that you need to do immediately and it’s to visit your school’s online page for information about what the school has to provide because that’s what we are going to talk about now. 

There are numerous programs that a college offers regarding scholarships, but there are other options as well that can help you save bucks. 

1. School’s Library

Utilizing your campus libraries not only gives you an infinite stream of books to read, but it also features free or discounted printing or photocopying. Most offer computer and internet connection as well. 

2. Get a Gig in Faculty 

Going for an on-campus internship or job can be a smart option for a variety of reasons. It not only gives you exposure and cash, but it also means you won’t have to commute far for work. Attend your lessons and walk right to work—no need to drive miles.

3. Take Campus Therapy Sessions

When juggling between different roles, it’s critical to look after your mental wellbeing. Sadly, most counseling sessions work at an hourly rate that can be pretty expensive. 

Luckily, many institutions have free or discounted counseling sessions to make you feel better and do yours most for the least money. 

4. Use Campus Gym 

Gym subscription costs are high, so visiting the college gym might bring off thousands of dollars from your shoulders every year. The only drawback is that it can be crowded sometimes, that’s why we suggest you go there during off-peak hours to have a premium fitness time.

5. Live at a Distance From College

Colleges charge an extra amount if you take their accommodation. It does save you from commuting but the other side is not equally fruitful. You’ll save a lot of money if you live away plus you take the bus to college to save transportation costs so it’s a win-win. 

6. Avoid Campus Meals

If you live on-campus, you must understand that most schools do not offer free meals. The dining commons are renowned for raising the price of a lunch meal. 

So if you get your meals from campus mess, you will spend around 85 percent per day while learning to cook for yourself allows you to spare a ton of cash.

Try Student Loans

Colleges offer student loans to kids who need financial assistance and they have to return the money with INTEREST once they complete their education. 

It’s fair to take all the scholarship money handed to you under the ‘student loan’ tag and utilize it to register in top-notch schools or improve your college experience. But remember whatever college credits you take up, you will have to repay with interest once you graduate from college. 

Most colleges give you the freedom to choose the type of loan you need, and there’s no harm in taking that when you actually need it but the more funds you take now, the more you will have to pay back later, which dramatically drives up the cost of school. 

7. Aim at Returning the Loan Sooner

When trying to minimize your college costs, you must first exhaust all alternative cost-cutting options and take the least loan amount that you need. When it goes to repaying the loan, paying it off as soon as possible reduces the overall interest you pay out, ensuring the minimal cost of borrowing.

8. Prompt Credit Clearance

It is critical to make all of your credit card payments on time. The average late payment not only incurs 1.5 percent interest per month, but it also displays on your credit records. This makes it more challenging to apply for large purchases in the future. 

9. Go for Fee Waivers

Tuition exemptions are available at most institutions if you fall into a specific category. Based on the group you fall into and the policies of the particular institution, you may receive drastically lowered tuition rates, or, in rare situations, your fees may be waived entirely. 

Tuition waivers are most commonly given to veterans, educators, Peace Service volunteers, and the offspring of university education staff. Tuition waivers are also available for children of firefighters, police officers, and other civil servants.

10. Set a Budget Plan 

It is critical to have a plan for investing your money in different vital things. Creating a customized budget allows you to keep track of your costs and understand where your money is going. 

Save on Your Degree 

11. Preserve Your Security Deposit 

Your security deposit is among the most significant “invested money” you will have in college. Typically, you must spend $1,000 or more if you harm the place you live in if you are on-campus accommodation. 

That’s a great deal of money you may lose if you don’t take precautions to ensure your tangible belongings are safe. So, keep your damage deposit safe by preserving your flat in good shape. 

12. Make a Degree Game Plan

A few of the best approaches to save cash in college is simply arranging your coursework and degree program ahead of time. Not setting aside the hefty tuition fees, college is not the time to “discover yourself.” You must go to college with a definite goal in mind, and make sure you take the necessary classes and finish your degree on schedule.

13. Graduate in 3 Years

You may not know but certain colleges provide shorter degree programs. If you prefer this option, you’ll have to finish all selected courses for graduation in six semesters rather than the standard four years to eight semesters. You will have to devote all of your leisure time and study even more, but it will be well worth it if you can do it. 

Side Hustle

14. Use Free Listings 

Websites such as Handshake and Facebook Marketplace allow users to advertise free products they want to get rid of as quickly as possible. When on the hunt for better prices, a fantastic way to save money on necessities is to go for a high quality and low quantity. You might also buy other people’s products and sell the free item they posted.

15. Begin blogging

Keeping a journal of your educational journey may be both a stress reliever and a source of personal enjoyment. It also lets you reflect on your struggles and accomplishments over the years.  On the other hand, blogging can make you good money with frequent posts that can help you with fees.

16. Become a Volunteer 

Working with non-profit organizations is a rewarding way to spend your spare time. Some even pay you a few bucks for starters. Now you need to find a local organization you believe in and make a date to go!

17. Walk the Dog 

Signing up to be a dog walker is made simple by companies like Wag. It’s a simple means of creating some income and a wonderful excuse to take a little break and socialize with puppies. 

18. Take Paid Internships 

Paid internships have become more prevalent these days. In addition to adding funds to your wallet, try to discover a company that coincides with your career ambitions.

19. Become an Independent contractor 

Freelance work allows you to customize your schedule and working hours, and it’s ideal for college students. You can choose anything from proofreading to technical tasks or digital marketing. Anything can make a good return if you gain enough expertise. 

20. Become an Online Brand Manager 

Becoming a brand manager on social networks is a compensated role that allows you to promote yourself creatively. If you have a broader online following and are passionate about a specific organization, you might earn money while advertising it. 

21. Begin a Podcast 

Starting your podcasts is entirely free, and it has the potential to earn you money through sponsorships down the road. It may be uncomfortable for you initially but lucrative if you plan to make it a career out of it. 

22. Edit Documents for Your Friends

If you can write fiction, revise résumé and proofread essays for your friends, know that it is a practical approach to supplement your income. 

23. Work as a Food Delivery 

Going for delivery services like UberEats is an excellent solution to increase your earnings. You can also work any schedule you like during your spare time. 

24. Launch an Online Business 

Websites such as Etsy keep it simple to market and sell your goods. You can start an online business by creating a website using WordPress or Squarespace to commercialize the item or brand you want. 

25. Outdoor Jobs in Summer Break 

Summer’s three-month vacation is ideal for getting back into the swing of things. Look for work and try to save for the following school term. 

Other Tips

26. Enjoy Student Card Benefits

When you show your student ID, many retailers, music festivals, streaming services, and other types of entertainment offer a considerable discount code. Think about making the best of the situation! 

27. Follow a Grocery List 

Apart from not rushing to the supermarket when you’re starving, planning out your weekly groceries is an excellent method to save money on food. Understanding which items you require and abiding by that checklist will assist you in avoiding making frivolous purchases.

28. Purchase Preloved Items

Thrift shopping is the way to go for furniture, décor, and clothing. This significantly reduces the cost of more significant, more expensive things you may require. 

29. Throw a Potluck 

A potluck is a wonderful and inexpensive way for both you and your pals to spend time together. So instead of booking a restaurant table, you can organize a potluck where all your friends can contribute with a new dish! 

30. Sale out Previous Books

When you’re through with your educational materials, make them available to the corporation or other learners through the school bookshop for a few dollars and buy yourself a yummy sandwich. 

31. Use Uber or Lyft. 

Considering you want to become a Lyft or Uber driver if you’re over the age of 21, you can have it good. If you’re not somebody for public transport, it will provide you with an excellent opportunity to earn both bonuses and earnings. 

32. Keep an Eye Out For Restaurant Promotions

If you’re going out again to eat, make it a point to save $! An exciting objective can be to list all the great happy hours with restaurant promotions near your college campus and organize them throughout the day. 

If you look in the right places, you’d be astonished at how much free and inexpensive food and drink you can find in the town. 

33. Use Mass Transportation for Public 

Train or bus travel can save you about $10,000 per year in major cities. Whereas if you buy a car, you are paying for gas, maintenance, and other charges, which mount up over the years, making public transportation a more cost-effective alternative. 

34. Begin a Free Interest to Enjoy Yourself

Many folks believe that hobbies have to be expensive; the case is otherwise. There are plenty of fun activities available to keep you amused for a bit of break. Cycling and trekking, as well as drawing and other activities, are all things you can do in your free time for entertainment.

35. Share your room 

Sharing your house/room is unquestionably a worthwhile financial bargain. Find a tenant who is ready to split the room’s rent with you and split the accommodation costs as much as possible. 

36. Use WiFi Calling Apps 

If your parents drop you out of their phone contract, you have a few less-expensive alternatives for your service fee. One of them is utilizing WiFi. It can help you avoid going over all of your data limits. Also, look for providers that offer the greatest plans. Some providers permit you to bargain for a lower monthly rate.

37. Share Streaming App’s Payment

Like buying a TV, Cable can be pricey, so a  combined Netflix account or a streaming video service like Hulu with friends or family members is a low-cost option to enjoy good entertainment. 


Being economically prudent benefits your psychological well-being both in college and in the future. When you’re getting your education, you should think about inventive strategies for financial stability.