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6 Ways to Save

April 17, 2020
piggy bank

Savvy UW students share their cost-saving strategies and college budgeting tips. 

By Micaela Myers 

  1. Build your savings account.

“I work an on-campus job, so every time that my paycheck comes in, I transfer half into my savings account so that I can’t spend it. That way I’m not spending my whole paycheck but rather saving up so that I always have some money in reserve as a just-in-case fund.” –Jordan

“The best way to save money as a college student is to have your bank account zero not be 0. Choose a number you feel comfortable, such as $100 and have that be your zero, meaning once you have spent money to where you only have $100 left, you have no spending money until your next round of income. Then slowly start moving your zero amount up to start saving. This allows you to have some cushion if you find yourself in an emergency.” –Katie


  1. Eat cheap or eat free.

“Never pass up free food. There are so many events all over campus, and most of the time—if they want students to attend—they will offer food. So my advice is to not take it for granted!” –Danielle

“Don’t go out to eat every night. Make the most of your food plan. Also, if you go shopping for snacks, don’t go crazy and spend hundreds of dollars.” –Sadie

bowl of ramen

“[If you live off campus or in an apartment], cook at home as much as you possibly can. Going out to eat is extremely expensive, and making meals at home is relatively inexpensive. Be conscious of your spending, and monitor your finances the best you can. Do not purchase items impulsively simply because the group you are with is doing such things. Know your limits and stick to a budget.” –Trent


  1. Get a campus job.

“Get an on-campus job. It is flexible and gives you a little extra spending cash.” –Kyra

Go to, and navigate to the Student and Work Study category for more on-campus jobs.


  1. Make a budget and stick to it.

“The best way to save money in college is to create a budget and stick to it. I create a budget every month to ensure that I don’t spend too much money, and this in turn helps me save in the long run.” –Joe

“In addition to setting a monthly budget, keeping a record of every cent I spend and listing my expenses into distinct categories help me to see which areas I can do better in and where I tend to spend the most unnecessary money. Being able to identify leaky spots or categories that are frequent ‘cash hogs’ makes it possible to reprioritize my financial outflow and set better habits.” –Hailey T.

Need help getting started? Click here for our Cowboy Costs budget sheet.



  1. Go to free events.

“Don’t be afraid to go out and enjoy yourself, but remember there’s tons of free campus events as well!” –Paige

“Take advantage of all the free activities in Laramie and through the university.” –Kyra

To find events, visit and

smart phone


  1. Don’t ignore the little things.

“Don’t buy name-brand products. There are so many good products sold for half the price. Also, check for student discounts. There are a lot of apps and programs that take student discounts such as Apple Music, Amazon Prime and Spotify.” –Hailey M. 

“Utilize the campus commuter buses to save money on gas, and buy used textbooks.”  –Taylor 

“Try moving more to cash and less to the card. I finally started doing this within the last year, and it has revolutionized how I am treating and continue to treat money.” –Alma


Ways to Pay for College

There are many options to help you pay for college. The first step is to fill out the FAFSA,

short for Free Application for Federal Student Aid. Part of the U.S. Department of Education, Federal Student Aid is the largest provider of student financial aid in the nation.

Certain private scholarships also rely on information from the FAFSA, so it’s important

to fill it out even if you don’t plan to use Federal Student Aid. High school seniors should

fill out the FAFSA in the fall of their senior year. In general, fill out the FAFSA as soon as you can after Oct. 1.

Federal Student Aid includes grants that don’t have to be paid back, loans that are borrowed

and have to be paid back, and work-study programs that help students earn money for school.

There are also other forms of government aid, such as aid for military veterans and their families. In addition to government programs, aid for college can also come from your state, the college you choose or a nonprofit or private organization.

UW is one of the most affordable universities in the nation, and more than 55 percent of UW students graduate with no debt. To learn more about scholarships and opportunities at UW, visit

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