Money tips for incoming college students

If you’re headed to college this fall, congratulations! You are about to embark on one of the most exciting times of your life. No matter if you fly across country to a private school, drive a few hours to a large public school or ride your bike to a community college, you’re on your own. While you enjoy the academic, social and professional freedom ahead, you’ll also have to think about your finances, which could be an adventure all in itself.

Here are a few tips and tricks to save money and stay on budget while in college:


Don’t buy new textbooks

You can rent your books through Amazon, Barnes & Noble or from your campus bookstore. If you need to, buy used, borrow from friends or look for PDFs to use.


Limit dining out

Most colleges offer a meal plan so if you are purchasing a meal plan (make sure it is the right one for you and your habits) you might as well use it. See if you can take out snacks/fruit from the dining commons.


Get an on-campus job

Having a part-time, on-campus job is great way to meet people, make friends and earn some spending money. And it’s a bonus if you’re able to do homework on the job when you have down time.


Attend free campus events

Take advantage of the events and activities already occurring on campus for entertainment, socializing and the occasional free meal. You’ll find activities that range from sporting events, campus clubs, various fairs, campus organization events and more!


Keep snacks handy

Your backpack or bag isn’t just for books. Load up on snacks at the start of your day to avoid paying for pricey food on campus.


Find deals

Regularly read the local newspaper, ask your friends and walk through town to find out about the local deals and specials at various businesses, especially if they offer student discounts. Just remember to limit your spending to what your budget can afford.


Apply for scholarships

Scholarships are free money, so if you qualify, apply in January! Online searches can provide you with information on hundreds of scholarships based on your major, location, income, interests and more!

By being frugal, you can use your money wisely and focus more time and energy on other aspects of college life. Travis Credit Union’s Access Account is a great way to manage your spending with your on-the-go lifestyle. Visit for more information.

Access Account