10 tips to save money in college

Chloe Williams, Web and Social Editor

The average UTSA student pays $10,966 in tuition each academic year; this cost does not include housing and meals, which can cost a student living on campus an additional $12,934. While implementing small changes will not bring these large numbers to zero, it can provide you with greater awareness and money to spend on items besides textbooks. Follow along as we provide 10 easy tips to implement in your everyday life to lower expenses. 

1. Track your spending

You would be surprised by how much you spend on unnecessary items. Maintaining a close eye on your bank account and being aware of your spending can help you realize what is and is not necessary. 

2. Avoid buying new textbooks

While some classes require online subscriptions like Pearson and Cengage, if your class requires just the book, always search for alternatives instead of buying from the UTSA bookstore. Popular websites to check are Chegg and Cheapest Textbooks. UTSA is also starting to implement Open Educational Resources which will work to provide textbooks and resources free of cost.  

3. Ask for a student discount

More places offer student discounts than you might think. Read our past Spare Change article about online student discounts or check out the popular website UNiDAYS.

4. Take advantage of campus events 

UTSA provides tons of on-campus events and opportunities, most of which are low-cost or free, and provides items and food for no cost. For weekly events, check out our Get Involved page or look on RowdyLink.

5. Buy store brand

An easy way to knock off money from trips to the store is to purchase store-brand products. Especially for medicine and food, these products are the exact same for a fraction of the cost.

6. Utilize free shuttle and bus services

As UTSA students, we have access to free VIA bus rides and on-demand VIA Link rides. Avoid paying for parking and gas by utilizing this free service. Find out more information on UTSA’s U-Pass webpage

7. Shop secondhand

Shopping secondhand is a great way to save money. Thrift stores have everything you could ever need for a fraction of the cost. They are inexpensive places to purchase everything you need, including clothes, decor, furniture and dishes. 

8. Start a side hustle

Starting a side hustle can help you make money with little effort. For a complete list of side hustles, check out our previous Spare Change article. Top options include food delivery, selling stickers or photos and freelance work. 

9. Plan meals 

College students spend an average of $410 a month eating out off campus. This excessive spending can easily be combated by planning out meals each week and going to the grocery store. Even purchasing small items for breakfast or pre-made coffee can significantly reduce unnecessary expenses. 

10. Find free events

San Antonio is a beautiful city filled with culture and nature. With this comes a lot of free events in and around the city. Discover free events through Visit San Antonio and Eventbrite.