16 Helpful tips on how to get through college as a broke student
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16 Helpful tips on how to get through college as a broke student

Helpful tips on how to get through college as a broke student. College can be an expensive venture. With that in mind, you might be wondering how to get through college as a broke student. In this post, we look at 16 helpful tips on how to get through college as a broke student.

In college, there are a variety of students. Those who are broke and are open and honest about it, those who are well off, and those who are broke but are trying to keep up with the rich kids.

If you’re trying to get through college as a broke student, the first and best advice that I can give you is that you have to admit that to yourself. That is the biggest hurdle. If you can simply square with your circumstances, then all the other pieces of advice will definitely stick.

How to get through college as a broke student

Now without further ado, let’s look at 16 helpful tips for how to get through college as a broke student.

1. Create a budget 

Step one, create a budget. How much money do you have to spend in the month? That could be pocket money you get from your family, the money you make from your part-time job, or both. What does the total come to?

From that total, you know what your spending limit is. You then need to break down the essential expenses for the month. Things like Transport, Wi-Fi, Food, Rent, Utilities, etc. 

From experience, I noticed that I stuck to my budget better when I allocated myself some money for entertainment, so I advise you to do the same. Keep it modest, though.

Here are free budget templates to help you get started:



2. Stick to your budget

Step number 2, stick to your budget. It doesn’t matter how well-structured your budget is or how much effort went into writing down your budget if you’re just going to ignore it in the end.

The secret to your budget working well is your ability to stick to it as closely as possible.

3. Get a part-time job

If cash is really, really tight, then consider getting a part-time job, but you need to be careful with this. You need to make sure that it is close to your school.

This way you don’t miss any of your classes, and you don’t rack up your transportation costs.

4. Look for a scholarship

Step four, look for a scholarship. There are thousands of scholarships just waiting for you. Here is a secret, most people look for these huge scholarships to cover the entire tuition, but most of them are super competitive.

Does that mean you should abandon hope? Nope. The secret is to go for smaller ones. Chances are that the competition might be lower for some of them.

Not sure where to start looking for scholarships? 

Here are my favorite sites:



5. Join competitions with prize money 

Here is one that I haven’t seen people talking about. If there is a competition within an area that is of interest to you, then you could compete and use the prize money to get through college.

6. Keep your GPA high

Keeping your GPA high is another way to navigate college as a broke college student. How could this possibly be a tip?

Keeping your GPA high will ensure you stay on the dean’s list. Some schools have a dean’s scholarship that can be awarded to a student who needs it. 

What if you don’t get the dean’s scholarship? Being on the dean’s list also makes you eligible for work-study, which could ease up some funds from your tuition and give you some spending money.

Here are some of the ways that I kept my GPA high and graduated with honors :):

5 Ways to Quickly Boost Your GPA

10 Steps to help you become a 4.0 College Student

5 Important reasons why you need to graduate college with a high GPA

7. Take advantage of student discounts

Be sure to take advantage of student discounts. You have four or five years to max out on the student discounts. Places like movie theaters and other places have great student discounts. 

As a broke college student, every dollar matters, so if you can save a dollar here and a dollar there then why not right?

There are also cash-back apps that you could use. I’ll be sure to link my favorite for you.

8. Always pack snacks

This was a great tip that I learned towards the end of my undergrad. Travel with water, juice, and a reliable snack that keeps well.

Why? If you have a hearty breakfast in the morning and pack a nutritious snack, then the chances of you spending spontaneously on food are significantly reduced.

9. Find free activities to fill your time 

Earlier on in this post, I mentioned that it is essential to allocate some spending money for entertainment, however, if you can’t assign some then find fun activities that are free.

Some free activities include having a picnic with your friends in the park and joining a club that has ts of events. Here is a helpful tip, as a committee member you attend the events for free.

You could also join a sport. They have a ton of travel, all of which is sponsored by the school.

10. Carpool

Step number whatever, CARPOOL. If public transport isn’t your thing, you could always carpool with your friends. 

The best part about this is that you don’t have the service fees to think about. You can cost-share to buy fuel for the month and your transport will be sorted for the semester.

11. Live at home

As a student trying to navigate through college you could also just live at home If your school isn’t that far from your home, then consider commuting from home. 

Not having to think about rent can ease up your budget and give you a bit more spending money. 

It will also save you cash from having to pay for doing your laundry, buying groceries, and of course bigger bills like rent.

12. Use public transport

Another great tip to help you navigate college as a broke student is to simply use public transport. Public transport is much cheaper than moving around. Especially if you live somewhere with a great public transport system.

Here are a few other resources to help commuter college students fall in love with their commute:

15 Great tips for commuter college students

10 Awesome things to do to make your college commute productive

Advantages of taking public transport as a commuter college student

13. Rent your textbooks instead of buying new ones

You could also rent out your books. College books could easily set you back thousands of dollars depending on your program.

To save yourself from the pain of parting with money you don’t have, you could rent the course texts, use them and then return them at the end of the semester.

14. Get free college textbooks from PDF Drive

You could take it a step further with PDF drive. With PDF drive, you could find your course text absolutely free of charge. What’s the catch with this? Most of the course texts and there are often older versions. 

With that being said, most times when course texts are updated, the updates aren’t all that significant. If you want to check out PDF Drive, click the highlighted text.

15. Make like-minded friends

This could easily be the thing to make sure you succeed, or you fail. Surround yourself with like-minded friends. Friends who are honest and mature and who understand when you say you can’t do something because you don’t have the funds.

16. Have a vision board

This will come in handy on those tougher than usual days. You will question yourself. You will want to get off course, but if you have a vision board you truly believe in, you will stay the course.


In conclusion, going through college as a broke student or without money isn’t the end of the world. It simply needs a bit of planning and a bit of discipline, that’s all.

Having gone through college as a broke student, I know that it can be done. That much I am certain of. I hope that my tips on how to go through college as a broke student help you loads.

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