College can be expensive — but there are ways to make it less so. There are plenty of ways students can save and so many of these often get overlooked. Once you calculate how much you will be shelling out for tuition, you can consider all the other expenses that come with it. Below are the five areas where students may be able to save.
Your syllabus may be full of costly, up-to-date study sources, but there are ways to cut back. Check out sites like Half.com, Chegg, Amazon and eBay for the books you need at a lower price. Check with your professor if a used or slightly older edition could still work within the syllabus. You can often also rent books from the student library for the semester or just do your reading at the library if the sources are reference materials. Whether you buy new or used books, at the end of the semester, it’s a good idea to sell back your books to the bookstore or online.
2. Meal Plan
Since generally we think of eating three meals a day, you may be tempted to buy the meal plan that provides this option. But this plan is usually the most expensive and if your normal breakfast is a banana or your lunch is a yogurt, it might not be worth it. It’s a good idea to instead figure out how much you will actually consume and get the corresponding package. If you aren’t going to get up for breakfast every morning or if you like to eat out or cook, it’s probably best not be paying for the three-meals-a-day option. You do not have to rely on the campus cafeteria to eat but also be aware that eating out at restaurants often has a (usually high) price as well.
Gas, parking passes, and possible tickets add up fast. So when you are determining if you will bring a car to school (if this is even an option for you), it’s a good idea to remember that you don’t have to drive to class. Campuses often have bus or mass transportation systems that are free with a student ID. If that isn’t available or isn’t reliable, consider working out class schedules with friends so you can carpool and split costs. You can also walk or bike if you are close enough and get some exercise as an added bonus.
It’s a good idea to take advantage of what your campus has to offer. There are usually many activities you can enjoy at a heavily discounted price or for free. Residence halls, clubs, organizations or maybe university-wide programs often hold movie nights, social events, museum visits, and sporting events. Also, many student groups have free or cheap performances that can make for a fun night out.
5. Student Discounts
Students often forget or ignore the chance to capitalize on the savings you get just for being in school. Showing your student ID can give you discounts on items ranging from movie tickets and transportation to computers and retail purchases. It’s important not to miss out on possible savings just because you didn’t want to ask.
Whether you got a bargain on state tuition, are going into serious debt to get a private education or fall somewhere in the middle, it’s important to not miss out on any chance you can save as a student. Find enough savings, and you may be able to reduce the amount of student loans you need — and the time it takes to pay them off.
More Money-Saving Reads: