Campus Life

Money Saving Tips For College Students Feeling The Pain Of Inflation

High prices are putting extra stressors on students who may already struggle with the costs of higher education.
By Lesley Henton, Texas A&M University Division of Marketing & Communications August 9, 2022

Young woman withdrawing money at the ATM
College students, particularly, are faced with a multitude of financial decisions, many of which can be costly.

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With costs for basic necessities on the rise heading into the fall semester, Texas A&M University money expert Nick Kilmer talks about the extra strain on college students and how they can take a few simple steps to save money.

“Money is one of the top stressors for college students, as well as the general public,” Kilmer said. “College students, particularly, are faced with a multitude of financial decisions, many of which can be costly. Do I live on or off campus? Do I buy a parking permit or ride the bus? Which student loan should I use to help pay for college? Am I ready to get my own credit card? Should I start investing now, or build up an emergency fund?”

Kilmer teaches a course called “Foundations of Money Education” for the Texas A&M Financial Planning Program in the Department of Agricultural Economics.

“Learning about money allows us to make better financial decisions on a daily basis, which increases our monthly savings (net income), allowing us to own more and owe less (increasing our wealth),” he said. “Having wealth is the key to financial security and freedom, and it all starts with money education.”

Kilmer’s top five tips for college students:

Start budgeting your money: The convenience of credit cards and automatic payments simply makes it too easy to spend, so start tracking your income and expenses and find out where your money is going. If you just don’t have the time, consider using an online budgeting app that will do it for you.

Get a better bank account: Interest rates are on the rise, but banks can charge a variety of fees (ATM fees, overdraft fees, annual fees, etc.) that can offset those earnings very quickly. As a student with a lower bank account balance, it’s more important to focus on fees rather than on the interest rate. Do some online research to find the right account for your unique needs.

Get roommates: We all like our independence and personal space, but housing can make up as much as 20% of the cost of attending college. Finding one or more roommates could save you thousands of dollars a year.

Pick the right debts to pay for college: No one wants to take on debt to pay for college, but if you need to, make sure to pick the right debt or it will cost you. The average interest rate on a credit card is around 18%, whereas federal student loans offered through the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) charge interest rates of around 4%.

Don’t buy textbooks: Consider renting your textbooks instead of buying them new; you might save $100 on a single textbook. If you’re a military-affiliated student here at Texas A&M, visit the Aggie Shields Lending Library in the Veteran Resource & Support Center. It lends textbooks free of charge to veterans and their dependents. Aggies can also use Open Educational Resources (OER) through Texas A&M Libraries.

A Growing Program

Students of any major can take Kilmer’s money education course, a core elective in social and behavioral sciences. So far, more than 1,700 Aggies have learned about money while earning academic credit toward their degrees. “I’m excited to say that we’re growing, and now hope to reach more than 1,000 Aggies a year starting this fall,” Kilmer said.

The program is now partnering with Texas A&M Athletics to strategically enroll and educate their incoming student-athletes about money so they can make the best financial decisions during and after college.

“This partnership will help prepare all of our student athletes for the financial challenges and opportunities coming their way,” Kilmer said.

Media contact: Lesley Henton,

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