By Noah Henry • August 19, 2014
Those pangs you feel when you enter the college campus for the first time as a bright-eyed young freshman isn’t culture shock; though, that certainly plays a part. For me, it was growing pains. It was facing a new environment of responsibilities and challenges and obstacles I wasn’t entirely prepared for, but it was the pain of passing through which taught me many valuable lessons I hold close today.
One of the most brutal lessons I learned—one which repeatedly smacked me in the face until I could actually grasp it on a practical basis—was the importance of budgeting well. It was those long, hungry nights and miserable moments of spending a month’s paycheck on required reading that brought me to that realization. The contents of this post are websites which I wish I knew about while attending college. These are sites that will get you through the tough times, at least, less unscathed, than you otherwise would have been without them.
Manage money better, always get the best price, and grab the occasional freebie with these awesome sites.
Websites for College Students
The gist: It shows students where to resell their textbooks for the highest price.
When I was a poor, lowly college kid with hopes of one day making it out of a wretched Ramen-and-Noodle existence, I rued the days I’d receive a tiny payment on the books I resold to the campus store. There’s nothing quite as damning as spending $200 for an economics tome and reselling it for $30. I wish I would’ve known about BookScouter.com, which compares 45 websites and the amount each is willing to pay for your textbook. All you have to enter is your ISB number.
The gist: Compare the prices on groceries and everyday essentials from major retailers.
I feel wistful about those long Saturdays at Costco filling up our cart to the brim with my roommates by my side. But I do wish I knew about mySupermarket.com when I was in college. It finds the absolute best value for individual products or whole shopping carts, meaning, if you enter in your entire shopping list it’ll show you the best retailer to visit. It also factors in shipping cost, if online delivery is your muse. Compare prices between Walmart, Amazon, Target, Drugstore.com and other leading stores.
The gist: Give away things you don’t need and get things for free from people in your area.
Haven’t you learned about gift economics yet? FreeCycle.org is a money-saving haven for the frugal college student. As the life of a poor student is one of resourcefulness and grit, one can discover items local people are giving away for free. Posts are separated by descriptors offer or wanted, so you can also declutter via offering up items you no longer use. Plus, as a good progressive twist, it diverts reusable goods from reaching landfills.
The gist: Save up to 90 percent renting, buying and selling textbooks.
Unanimously declared the best website for budget-conscious students wary about campus textbook prices, Chegg makes renting and reselling your books as simple as possible. And it’s almost always best to rent your textbooks. Fact. But saving hundreds on your books is only one facet of Chegg as a whole—the website also offers resources such as homework help, course reviews and internship opportunities. It’s the whole package for the budding young apprentice.
The gist: It helps you budget better by clarifying where you allocate expenses.
College is where one first begins to understand the importance of budgeting properly. Finally on your own, you’re free to spend as crazily as you wish. Quickly, you begin to realize the scarcity of beer funds and the seriousness of spending wisely. Mint.com can make those growing pains easier. It was created seemingly for the college student—painting one’s financial picture as clearly as possible. You can view every transaction in one place, separated by categories so you can understand where your spending is primarily allocated. Mint can act as your personal finance tutor as you navigate the time in your life when you need it most. And it only takes ten minutes to set up.
The gist: You get free Amazon Prime for six months, and half price after that.
Not much to say other than that. A free Amazon Prime account automatically makes any newly minted college kid cool. Plus, members get exclusive deals and promotions tailored specifically to student needs. It’s free to join, and all you need is a university email address.
Noah Henry Noah Henry is an amateur movie critic, foodie, bowler, and beer reviewer. But he's no amateur when it comes to saving money, so listen up!