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Written by Kathy Sweedler, University of Illinois Extension Consumer Economics Educator

Typically, people think of spending — not saving — while in college. It's true that tuition and fees costs are fixed. However, at many schools tuition and fees may be less than half of the overall costs.

According to the National Center for Education Statistics, in-state costs for public four-year universitites in 2015-16 totaled $19,189, with tuition and fees making up 46 percent and room and board the rest. Add in other costs, such as fun, clothing and toiletries, and tuition and fees is an even smaller percent.

You can save money on these "other" costs while in college. Let's look at three strategies used by college students that may work for you.

1. Pay attention to small amounts. Small purchases that we make regularly do add up, and it can make a big difference over time.

2. Comparison shop for other big expenses such as internet fees, rental insurance, and cell phone plans.

3. Plan for your fun! Think about what might help you keep track of your spending.

Check this link to find out more on what you could do to save as a college student. There's a bonus saving strategy in the full article!

A few more tips from your Peer Educators

"Limit the number of times you eat out! I know it’s tempting to go out once the dorm food gets boring, but try looking for free events on campus with FREE food."- Ji Yoon Jung, Senior in Economics with minors in Business and Leadership Studies. 


"Try your best to work your schedule around dining hall hours to minimize eating out. Even just a $10 meal at a restaurant twice a week is a whopping $320 a year! You have already paid for your meal plan with the dorms and there is a multitude of choices for every picky eater!" - Thomas Dynek, Senior majoring in Agricultural Consumer Economics with a concentration in Finance in Agribusiness. 

Peer Educators have office hours from Monday to Thursday. If you have questions on budgeting on food or looking for ways to save money, visit them during their office hours at the Financial Wellness office at Student Fitness and Wellness Suite at ARC, Concourse Level (next to Basketball Court #4). Please click HERE to view office hour calendar. 

201 East Peabody Drive
Champaign, IL 61820

The Financial Wellness office is open only when University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign classes are in session during Fall and Spring semesters.

Illini, we need your help!

The Financial Wellness for College Students Program wants to know how you like to learn about personal finances and where you get information about financial education events on campus. Please take our short (5-10 minutes) survey and help us improve our program! 

when you complete the survey you can choose to enter into a drawing for a chance to win one of 4 $25 Amazon gift cards! You can take the survey on your computer, tablet, or smartphone. 


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