Your baby is no longer – he/she is in college or university! When did this happen? Where did the time go?

While this milestone is one to celebrate and be proud of, you might be worried about the costs involved in your child’s post-secondary education. Tuition, housing, transportation, books… all of these things cost money. What are some ways university students save money?

I worked part-time while attending university, took transit and lived at home. I had a beat-up old car I drove on the weekends. My parents paid for half of my tuition and I paid for the other half with the money I earned. Fair deal? I am forever grateful to my parents for their assistance.

I remember first year of university and being handed applications for credit cards. It can be tempting to sign up with all of the major credit card companies, but it’s probably best to choose one. Credit cards can help build your credit score, and some offer points or cash back incentives. Do your research first before applying for one that suits your lifestyle.

I managed to save some money also by buying used books – just make sure they are not a very old edition, as text books are updated often.

What are some other ways university students can save money?

5 Ways University Students Can Save Money

5 Ways University Students Can Save Money

Get financial help

Did you know your children can lighten the financial burden with a scholarship or bursary. There’s a huge amount of financial aid out there if you know where to look. There are thousands of scholarships and bursaries provided by businesses, charities and foundations across Canada. has some helpful resources in their Back to School Money Saving Guide.

Coffee in a travel mug

Spending $5 a day on coffee quickly adds up to $100 a month.  Students can easily cut down this cost completely by making coffee at home and bringing it along in a stylish travel mug. I’m not saying you shouldn’t treat yo’self once a week to your double-shot-non-fat-lactaid-latte-with-a shot-of-hazelnut-whip-cream-and-a-drizzle-of-caramel!

Brown bag it

Same goes for lunch and snacks. With lunches costing about $10, students can potentially save $200 a month! offers some great money saving tips and helpful apps in their Back to School Money Saving Guide.

Take the transit

Yes it’d be fantastic to drive to school every day but parking, traffic, insurance and gas costs can quickly add up. Taking public transit will decrease costs, helping to save more money.

Live at home

Before you bite my head off, living at home with parents can help students save a ton of money. What a generous way to help your kids start their lives than allowing them to build their bank account. Now some of you will disagree with me. But I lived at home while attending university, and I was able to save a lot of money this way. If kids are away at college or university, sharing an apartment with roommates is also a good option, rather than living in residence.

How did you manage to save while in college or university?


Maria Lianos-Carbone is the author of “Oh Baby! A Mom’s Self-Care Survival Guide for the First Year”, and publisher of, a leading lifestyle blog for women.


  1. Robin (Masshole Mommy) Reply

    Those are awesome tips. My stepson went off to college earlier this month and he got himself a job so he can save up while he takes classes.

  2. These are great tips! I wish I had taken my lunch more. I could have saved money early on. I would also add only have one credit card to build a credit. Make small purchase and then pay if off this helps your credit score.

  3. Great tips that will share with daughter and friends who are new to college life. Who are so eager to get a job …Especially like brow bag it awesome concept to saving .

  4. I spent a fortune on coffee while in college. They had a Starbucks on campus and I had to get me one twice a day. I could have saved by taking my coffee and staying away from there lol.

  5. When I went to University I thought I had to move out, move away and never look back, but circumstances out of my control had me living back at home in just a few weeks, it was tough to live at home but I did it and I think I did better because I wasn’t living with friends etc

  6. I love these ideas. Buying your own ingredients and packing your own meals is a big one. I spent way too much on eating out.

  7. Elizabeth O. Reply

    Loving the tips! It’s a challenge for our students to live alone and save, depending on the distance of their schools, it would be really better if they lived at home and just brought lunch or snacks to school.

  8. These are great tips. I love the last one. I stayed at home during college and it was really a good decision. I had everything I needed.

  9. Great tips indeed! These are truly money savers and how I wish I know them during my college years.

  10. Debbie Denny Reply

    These are very good tips. Great ways to save. I would want to splurge on the latte-with-a shot-of-hazelnut-whip-cream-and-a-drizzle-of-caramel.

  11. Great ideas! School can be so expensive. And not just while you’re actually IN school either. It’s effects last a long while.

  12. These are great for saving money. My niece would be going in college and it was a great idea.

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