How to save money as an adult learner

Going back to school is costly but there are simple ways that you can save money along the way

If you're going back to college as an adult you likely have been working longer than the average undergraduate. However, while you probably have more money saved up, you could also have more financial obligations, like bills, mortgages and families to pay for. So, with the added cost of college, if adult learners don't make smart decisions over the course of their studies, they could end up depleting their bank account.

Fortunately, there are ways to ensure this does not happen. Here are a few tips adult learners can consider if they are concerned about going broke before graduation:

Create a budget

Students who want to avoid spending all of their money in their first semester back at school should make a detailed budget. This will allow them to keep track of their monthly expenses so they know how much money they need to have every month.

“A budget is a simplistic way of tracking what expenses you have, or money that goes out, versus financial resources [such as] allowance, employment, grants and scholarships,” Mary Hagerty Ehrsam of Operation Hope told The Denver Post. “Get into the habit of writing down all of your expenses, no matter how small they are.”

Avoid emotional spending

College courses are sure to be challenging, whether they focus on the arts or technology, and there may be times when adult learners feel stressed out. If this occurs, they need to avoid spending money just to feel better. While you might feel temporary relief, whatever happiness you feel will only be temporary and you'll be left with even more anxiety — and a bigger bill — in the aftermath. For this reason, individuals should not get into the habit of spending whenever they need a pick-me-up.

Take advantage of a student ID

Individuals who enroll at colleges and universities are typically issued a student ID card. For those who are looking to save money, this piece of plastic can come in very handy.

The Huffington Post states that most businesses around a school’s campus offer 5-10 percent discounts for student ID holders. Whether individuals are going to the movies or out to eat, they should not forget to flash that student ID.

You can also look online for discounts. For example, Amazon Prime offers a special rate to users with an EDU email address that gets you access to two-day shipping and Amazon Prime streaming access and Spotify offers half price monthly premium access to students as well.

Always find the best deals

College expenses can pile up, but they do not have to reach the heights they tend to. Textbooks, for example, can cost a lot more at a school’s bookstore than they do through online retailers, such as or Chegg. NBC News also recommends students take a second look at their phone plan, as they may be eligible for a better deal thanks to their status as a degree seeker.

As a rule: look for discounts before ever paying full price!