Maximizing Your College Budget

Maximizing Your College Budget

As we start the fall semester, learning to manage your finances wisely is an essential skill to master. Balancing academic expenses, social activities, and personal needs can be daunting. Fear not, as this post will equip you with some invaluable money-saving tips to help maximize your college budget and make the most out of your college experience!

Affordable Textbook Alternatives

Textbooks can be a significant drain on your budget, with some costing hundreds of dollars each. Thankfully, there are several money-saving alternatives:

a) Rent: Consider renting textbooks instead of purchasing them outright. The Bronco Bookstore offers rental services at a fraction of the price. This way, students get access to the materials needed without having to pay full price.

b) Buy used: Explore the option of buying used textbooks. Amazon, Bronco Bookstore, and online marketplaces are all amazing resources for purchasing used books.  Make sure the edition is still relevant for your course.

c) Instant Access Complete: A new program, Instant Access Complete, enables students to access course materials ahead of time by providing affordable access by the first day of class.

All course materials are automatically enrolled and charged to students in one flat fee. The Instant Access Complete service will be available to all courses with required materials starting in fall 2023.

Explore Campus Resources

Colleges often have hidden gems that can help stretch your budget further:

a) The Poly Pantry: The Poly Pantry is a free resource available to all currently enrolled CPP students. The Poly Pantry allows students to select free groceries including fresh produce, packaged food, dry goods, hygiene products, and other goods. Located in the Bronco Student Center, Bldg. 35, room 1216, the Poly Pantry has been serving students since 2019.

The Poly Pantry stock room

(The Poly Pantry – Bldg. 35 room 1216)

b) Student Health Services: Instead of visiting expensive off-campus clinics, make an appointment at Student Health Services. Located in Bldg. 46 services and resources are offered for free or at a low cost. 

c) Gym and Recreation Facilities: Rather than spending money on a gym membership, utilize the Bronco Recreation and Intramural Complex (Bldg. 42, BRIC). With various recreational activities that encourage healthy living, continuous personal growth, and an inclusive community, the BRIC keeps you active at no additional cost.

Students participating in badminton at the BRIC

(Bronco Recreation and Intramural Complex (BRIC) – Bldg. 42)

Meal Planning on a Budget

Dining out frequently can quickly drain your wallet. Instead, opt for cost-effective meal planning strategies:

a) Cook in Bulk: Cooking large batches of meals at once can save both time and money. Freeze individual portions for later consumption to avoid the temptation of ordering expensive takeout.

b) Utilize Campus Meal Plans: CPP offers multiple meal plans for both residents and commuters that provide a variety of choices on campus that meet the nutritional needs of all students. Eat Well at CPP, Bronco Bucks, and Dining Dollars are all great ways to take advantage of meal plans on-

c) Attend ASI Events: Many ASI events offer free food for attendees, so be sure to check out which events are coming up on the ASI Portal.

ASI staff member handing out complimentary food at event

(Complimentary food served at ASI-hosted event)

d) Brown Bag It: Packing your lunch may seem old-fashioned, but it’s a fantastic way to save money. Invest in reusable containers and carry snacks to avoid impulse spending.

Taking classes and studying are just two of the many things done in college. Managing finances responsibly is part of the process of personal growth and exploration. By implementing these money-saving tips, it will prepare students to make informed financial decisions that will help in the long run. College is an incredible experience, and with smart budgeting, you can focus on your studies and enjoy the journey to the fullest!


Which money-saving tip will you implement this semester? Let us know by tagging @ASICPP on Instagram, Facebook, Youtube, and TikTok!