When you were in college, were your days filled with scraping by, eating ramen, and drinking Hamm’s because you were always low on money?

If so, you’re not alone, because that’s the way it goes for countless numbers of young kids out there just trying to get an education.

And that’s why these resources that folks shared are so helpful for students trying to get by.

AskReddit users offered up free and low-cost resources that college students might want to take advantage of.

1. You gotta eat!


Cheap meals that are healthier and tastier than ramen and Kraft dinners.”

2. Lots of software.

“You probably get access to a lot of software for no added cost.

This is how I got Windows for my pc.

It’s very worth checking out, a lot of times schools offer a free subscription of Windows, Office365, virus protection that’s not McAfee, and some Adobe products.”

3. I didn’t know about this.

“If you are a starving student, and there’s a Sikh temple in your area, they do something called a Langer.

It’s basically food they serve to the community and it’s legitimately good. They usually will ask you to volunteer or do some kitchen work in exchange. Me and a group of 4 college students would attend regularly, and the food was great.

I was broke and had to pay my way through college with zero support. I had a friend that told me about the Langer, but I was worried they would push the religion on me. Didn’t happen at all. I was nervous just showing up, but they were some of the kindest people I’ve ever met with zero judgement.

I’m not religious, but Sikh people restored my faith in humanity.”

4. You never know.

“Go to the awards office at your school and talk to someone and find out if you qualify for anything.

You’d be surprised how many bursaries and similar go unclaimed each year. As a student every little bit helps, and you never know what you’ll qualify for until you go and ask.

Some are based on grades sure, but many are based on need or your background or circumstances, and the occasional one is just first person to sign up with a pulse.

Seriously it’s worth the hour it takes for you to go visit in person and talk to a real person who can guide you through. Or maybe you can do all that sh*t online now.

But take the time, it could be free money to you and free you up to concentrate on your studies.”

5. Interesting.

“Clep testing.

It’s a program that allows you to take a single test rather than an entire class for credit. It’s only for some general academic courses, and each college has its guidelines on how they apply to credits.

That said, taking advantage of them can reduce the time and money required to earn your degree.”

6. Search high and low.

“Never buy/rent your textbooks from the college bookstore unless you can’t find them anywhere else online.

Seriously, bookstores overprice the sh*t out of your books and you will save a lot of money getting them from Amazon, Chegg, Ebay, etc instead.”

7. The data suggests…

“Data suggests that the number one reason students go to college is for better job prospects once they graduate.

Because of this, remember that to a recruiter or HR department, college is more than just your academics. It is about all of your experiences: class projects, personal projects, getting involved on campus through student orgs, student worker positions, volunteering, internships, etc.

This means you should make use of your school’s Career Center well before spring semester of your senior year so that you can learn how to talk about yourself professionally: through a resume, cover letter, interviews, networking. Learning the basics earlier and working on them each year as you look to secure internships will make you a really successful candidate once it comes time to find a full time job.

As some of the other comments have mentioned, your student fees pay for resources you have access to through the Career Center, so take advantage of them!”

8. Use it or lose it.

“While not technically free, you probably pay a bunch of student fees for access to the gym, pool, free/reduced cost public transportation etc.

Understand what things your student fees cover and take advantage of them.”

9. You need to relax.

“Spotify Premium, Hulu, and Showtime for $5/month total with a student email address.

Works for grad school students, too.

Not helpful with productivity, but very helpful for sanity.”

10. Study up!

“Paul’s Online Math Notes for calculus.

It’s filled with examples and decent, down to earth explanations that don’t confuse the sh*t outta you.”

11. The good ol’ library.

“Use the library for everything you can: textbooks, movies, games, music, printing, quiet study space, tutoring, etc.

Librarians love to help and you might be surprised what they can lend out to you.

I borrowed a telescope last week!”

12. Try it out.

“Google Scholar.

Great free google search engine that gives credible articles to use in research papers and show you how to properly cite them.”

13. Pro tip.

“Pay attention to events calendars.

Most college events have free food.

This may be different for this semester, but don’t underestimate it down the road.”

14. Cheap software.

“A lot of times your university will have stupid cheap software licenses for students/faculty.

At my university we got Adobe Creative-Cloud licenses for $10/year and free Microsoft Office licences (this was before office 365, so it wasn’t a subscription).

Sometimes the cheap software is only for certain departments/majors but at mine they had several deeply discounted software packages any student could buy.”

15. Good one.

“Find the previous editions of your textbooks. Frequently they will be as cheap as $0.05.

If your professor pulls homework questions out of the current edition go to the library and use their reference copy just for the questions.

Although with a lot of the access codes needed these days it might not be possible.”

16. Worth a shot.

“Check with your grocery store to see if they have a student discount day.

15% off can go a long way.”

17. Give it a shot.

“To help organize notes and sources for papers and assignments, I highly recommend Zotero to help keep organized.

It also makes writing citations super easy.”

18. For the smart folks.

“For science/ stem people: Khan Academy videos.

They saved me several times.”

19. This right here.

“Please use your school’s on-campus mental health professionals.

They are easy to access, usually free, certified, and acutely aware of the stresses and issues with college life.”

20. All kinds of discounts.

“Student discounts. I’m sure someone else has already put this but I benefitted from it greatly.

As a music major, I had to buy a lot of different DAWs and equipment along my journey. Big corporations want you to buy their product, but are aware that you’re already digging yourself into a huge hole of debt so they often times will drop the price of a product by half or more to sell it to you.

For example, as a student you can get an Adobe membership for about $20 a month. I got a copy of Studio One 4 for $250 as opposed to $500 because I was a student. This also works if you’re not a student but want to make a large purchase.

Most sites don’t actually check to see if you’re a student so just jump thru some hoops and see where it gets you!”

21. Doing the Lord’s work.

“Church pantries.

Free groceries every week/every other week.

Just being proof you live in the area.”

22. Drink up!

“The grad student bar usually has cheap booze.

Art shows often have free booze.”

23. Very helpful.


Its a citation manager geared towards peer reviewed literature. It has a browser extension that downloads the pdf/ citation, and integrates with word. As you’re typing, you can add in text citations by searching for the author.

Then when you’re done, click add bibliography. Boom.. Done. Its made by elsevier. Once you use it, you’ll wonder why you ever added citation by hand/ one at a time.”

24. Might as well try.

“Fafsa, even if you don’t qualify, it’s still worth trying to get financial aid.

I only have to pay about $45 per class as opposed to $250.

Might look confusing and tedious initially, but after the first time the website usually saves your info and it only takes a few clicks to apply for the next year.”

25. Yes!

“LIBRARY CARD. This cannot be overstated enough.

Libraries are one of the only remaining establishments in which you are not compelled to spend money. It is FREE material. Free books, movies, magazines and periodicals, games, sometimes even technology!

Libraries are amazing. Some library cards even provide you access to online only materials.”

26. Get on it!


Basically college classes of various types taught online for free (you can pay for a certificate if you like, but you can access all the resources for free if you just want the knowledge).

The fun thing is the variety is huge and beyond the usual intro level stuff- for example, if you are past intro programming and like astronomy, there’s an excellent astronomy data science class I recommend to a lot of people.”

How about you?

Do you know of any good free or cheap resources that college students should know about?

If so, please share them with us in the comments. Thanks a lot!