5 Money-Saving Gadgets for College Students

Offset your daily living expenses with these handy gadgets.


There’s still time to stock up on essential supplies, electronic devices, and other essentials for your college student, and any frugal student will appreciate a few money-saving gadgets as they head back to campus. Many students count their dollars and find ways just to get by on a part-time income during their school years. Offsetting some daily living expenses makes any student’s standard of living that much more comfortable. Make sure some of these money-saving gadgets are on your college student’s back-to-school shopping list or your gift list this season:

1. Filtered Water Bottle

Students need to stay hydrated to be focused and healthy all day, and carrying a bottle of water around can encourage them to drink more water throughout the day. However, bottled water can be expensive and doesn’t do any favors for the environment. Give your college student a filtered water bottle which can be filled with tap water. The water gets filtered right inside the bottle, so the student doesn’t need to buy water from the grocery store or from vending machines around campus. They can fill this up right in their dorm room, at a water fountain, or at the cafeteria throughout the day, so they never have an excuse to stop drinking water. You can find filtered water bottles in a range of colors and styles, and most last for hundreds of uses. Look for bottles made with BPA-free plastic to keep things healthy.

2. High-Efficiency Power Supply

A must-have accessory for any tech-savvy student living on their own for the first time, a high-efficiency power supply ensures that all electrical appliances and gadgets plugged into it are using as little electricity as possible. This type of power supply is also a great match for students who live in storm-prone areas. When tornadoes, hurricanes, and lightning storms cause power outages or power surges, the power supply will regulate or stop the flow of electricity to different items so that they don’t get fried during the storm.

3. The Waterpebble

When a student is responsible for paying the water bill at the apartment or a rental home, they will appreciate this innovative device that regulates how much water is used during a shower. The Waterpebble simply attaches to the drain of the shower and monitors how much water is used during the first shower. When it detects that more water has been used since the first shower, it will flash from green to red. Each time you shower, the time is shortened so that you end up taking shorter showers. The device helps to train shower users to use less and less water as the days go by, so taking shorter showers—and saving several liters of water per day—simply becomes a habit.

4. Space Heater

As long as your room allows for space heaters—note that most colleges do not permit space heaters in the room—this can be a much-needed gadget as temperatures start to drop. Students living in an apartment will benefit from this gadget because it gives them more control over how much heat they use in different rooms, and will usually save money on heating bills by heating only the areas they use most. Space heaters come in all types of different sizes and shapes, and can easily fit into even very small living areas. Just make sure the student follows the setup instructions carefully so that the space heater doesn’t become a fire hazard.

5. Portable Espresso Maker

Caffeine addicts will appreciate the convenience of having their own espresso maker in their dorm room or apartment so they can make their favorite espresso drinks at a fraction of the cost of a trip to the coffee shop. This gadget will pay for itself in a very short period of time and could be the perfect accompaniment for those late-night study sessions and early-morning class schedules. The coffee drinker just has to add water and espresso beans to make their own version of an Americano, latte, and other coffeehouse favorites within minutes. A portable or handheld espresso maker is usually much cheaper than a traditional espresso machine and requires far less space. Look for a lightweight espresso maker that’s easy to store and pack.

Sabah Karimi is a columnist for Wise Bread, where you can find hundreds of money-saving tips for college students.