Seven Ways College Students Waste Money

When it comes to spending money in college, expenses may seem never ending. Between textbooks, tuition, housing, utilities, and maintaining a social life, managing money is no easy task, but one you can accomplish by avoiding these common money drains.

1. Buying new textbooks
College textbook prices have increased faster than tuition, health-care costs, housing prices, and inflation. A few options for reducing textbook prices include buying used books online through sites like or, or renting through sites like,, CampusBookRentals, or

2. Carrying a credit card balance
Many credit card companies often lure borrowers with enticing introductory offers, and then hit them with hefty monthly interest charges on accrued balances. If you don’t already have one, consider getting a Hopewell Federal Credit Union credit card.

If you use a credit card, only charge what you can afford to pay off each month.

3. Going out to eat
If you spend on average $5 on a coffee and bagel for breakfast daily, and $8 on a sandwich or fast food for lunch and dinner, you will fork out more than $100 for five days of food. Instead, buy $100 worth of groceries and cook at home to stretch your dollar—and be healthier.

4. Drinking alcohol
Research shows that students who drink alcohol spend on average 10.2 hours a week drinking, and average about 8.4 hours a week studying. Drinking can be a very expensive habit, and even more so if you get hit with a ticket for drinking underage. There are many inexpensive alternatives for entertainment, such as attending sporting events, student union events, concerts, bowling, or cooking dinner with friends.

5. Owning a vehicle
As a college student, you might consider becoming familiar with public transportation or investing in pedal-powered two-wheeled vehicle—a bicycle. Students who bike, walk, or use local transportation can save about $20,000 during their four years of college. And if a car is a smart choice, consider a safe and cost-effective late-model used car, financed with a credit union car loan.

6. Stopping at the coffee shop
While each purchase is small, a latte at $4 a day adds an extra $28 to weekly spending. Instead, buy a $20 coffeemaker and a pound of coffee for less than $10, and you’ll be able to brew about 30 to 40 cups of Joe.

7. Living alone
By doubling or tripling up in an apartment, you can split housing and utility costs. Also be aware that landlords may keep a security deposit—and ask for additional money—to cover damages at the end of a lease. Document everything up front with photographs and note any damages.

If you need help with a college spending plan, we can help. Stop by or call us today at Hopewell Federal Credit Union.


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