16 ways for college and university students to save money

Feb 16 2017, 10:35 pm

No one understands what it means to be broke more than a college student does – that’s a given. From bills to social events and everything in between, it can be so hard to make and stick to a budget – especially after midterm season when you’re just looking to blow off a little steam.

Fortunately, we have 16 ideas on ways that any and every college student can actually save some money, while still having a life.

Extreme Couponing Isn’t Just For TLC

From Groupon to weekly store flyers, clipping coupons is a seriously underrated way to save some money. You can find a deal for pretty much ANYTHING, if you actually put in some time to look.

Before you decide to buy some tickets on Ticketmaster, order a pizza from Pizza Hut, or purchase something online – search for coupons! Trust me, it’s worth it.

Amazon Student Is Your New Best Friend

Unfortunately, not enough students even know the true wonders of an Amazon Student account. For starters, you can sign up for a six month free trial. If that doesn’t already have you opening up a new tab for Amazon, I don’t know what will.

Amazon Student is basically Amazon Prime, except it’s cheaper. With two-day free shipping and student-only deals, you really can’t go wrong. (Make sure to check for your textbooks here before buying them elsewhere!)

Limit Going Out Clubbing (Or Go In Groups)

We get it, going out is a part of college life. The only downfall is all of the money you spend getting there, actually being there, and getting home. So, if you want to save money, consider cutting back on hitting the town every night or every weekend. And when you do go out- pre-drink, take an Uber, make a guest list, and go with your friends – it’s a lot cheaper this way.

Is Cable Really Necessary?

Sure, it’s unbelievably handy to PVR the shows you can’t watch live. But is it really a necessity? With Netflix, Crave TV, and many others, it’s kind of moot. Of course everything isn’t on Netflix here in Canada (looking at you America), so try some other sites like Putlocker or Project Free TV to catch your shows. The sacrifice of HD quality is worth it when you have a little extra green in your pockets.

Give Up On Brand Clothing

It’s beyond easy to get caught up in the materialistic aspect of clothes shopping, there’s no doubt about it. However, when you’re a student, brand clothing shouldn’t be a top priority.

What you can find at Artizia, you can find at Urban Behaviour for half the price. Sure, you won’t have that expensive tag on the back of your shirt but who can really tell the difference anyways? Spend big when you make big college students.

Buy Everything In Bulk

Bulk Barn and Costco are genuine gifts to the universe. This one is simple. Thinking of treating yourself to a cookie? Don’t buy one from Starbucks for $2 or more, buy a whole pack of them for the same price from a grocery store.

Try to resist the urge to splurge once in a while and it will (literally) pay off.

Look Out For Drink Specials and Wing Nights

Part of the whole college experience is going out with some friends to have a great time. When you’re in the mood for some casual drinks or some cheap food – check online for drink specials and wing night deals!

There are deals every night of the week around town, you just have to do the research!

Get A Job

Sometimes working part time on top of all of your other responsibilities and your school work can be a bit too much. However, if you do find that you have a little extra time, why not try to make a little extra money?

Whether you work once or twice a week, anything helps. Think babysitting, freelancing, or dog walking. Get creative!


All college students NEED to get their stuff together when it comes to meeting those pesky deadlines in order to apply for scholarships and student awards.

Many people don’t realize just how many awards, scholarships and bursaries there are to go around, and all of them aren’t just for the very academically gifted. Apply, apply, apply! Someone has to win.

Open A Savings Account

With mobile banking, opening a savings account has literally never been easier. For most banks, you can actually open it online with no bank approval needed. Plus, since you’re a student, there most likely won’t be a monthly or an annual fee. Putting away even 10% of your earnings each paycheck is honestly all you will need in case of a rainy day.

Take Advantage of Your Student Discount

Usually it’s kind of a hassle to get carded everywhere, but not when it’s to your benefit. So many places provide student discounts, they just don’t like to advertise it too much.

Make sure you’ve got that ID on you at all times because places like Topshop, Apple, Best Buy, Bulk Barn, and many more, have student discounts available.

Check Out Free Events

Who says you have to stop having fun in order to save money? I don’t know if you knew this, but Calgary is not a dull city. There are always cool events going on that are either free or cost next to nothing, every month. Fire up Facebook and simply type in ‘free events Calgary’ or something along the lines of that, you might be surprised at what pops up. To read an article of some free events happening in Calgary this month, click here. 

Stay Away From Bottled Water

There is no greater scam than buying bottled water. Living in Calgary, we are beyond lucky to have clean and safe tap water. For many other countries, this simply isn’t the case. So many people spend their money on bottled water from the store or at a restaurant/fast food establishment. Why? Not only can you just fill up your own water bottle from home, but every single place offers tap water, you just have to ask for it! Save your money for things that you actually need.

Use Public Transit/Carpool

Not only is this option good for the environment, but it’s good for your wallet. Sure, it’s not perfect, but Calgary transit is not too shabby. Drive to the train station if you need to, but taking the train or carpooling with a friend on your way to wherever is the absolute best way to save money on gas. Especially if you go to a school where transit fees are included in tuition.

Try A Money Savings Challenge

Almost every day there seems to be a new challenge or idea trending online for how people can save some money. Of course, not all of them work and some of them are probably scams… but if you do your research, you could potentially find a really great idea!

Here is a link to a challenge that honestly works and is incredibly easy to stick to.

Use Your School’s Amenities

The majority of universities or colleges in Calgary have some pretty amazing on-campus life hacks. Whether it’s the school gym or another provided luxury, becoming more educated on all that your school has to offer is more than smart. Look up online schedules or make an appointment with a counsellor, make sure you’re aware of all of your options.