Going to college is a huge step in the direction of independence. Now, it’s only you in charge of your time, your studies, and your finances. This freedom is a wonderful feeling, but it can also be a source of trouble.
The costs of going to college are increasing rapidly and it has become very easy for college students to fall into large amounts of debt. But this is completely avoidable and there are ways to minimize student debt incurred over the entire time of attending college. Here are a few tricks you can use to save money without starving yourself.
Student Housing and Storage
While it may be tempting to look at stylish apartments, there are several cheaper options that can be just as comfortable. Colleges have a wide variety of residences nearby, most of which are more affordable because they are specifically designed for students.
The cheapest option is most likely a two-person dorm room, and while these may be small and involve putting up with another person’s living habits, they often provide everything you need at a much better price, with the possible bonus of making a new friend.
Another wallet-drainer is storage fees if students use self-storage facilities when they return home for the holidays. Sure, it’s easier than dragging all of your belongings back home, but there are other options like simply bringing less in the first place, or making an arrangement with someone who lives close to campus to store the stuff for free (or at least for a small appreciation gift).
Tuition and Textbooks
It seems strange to tell students that they spend too much on tuition and textbooks because these are necessities, right? Yes they are, but there are ways to cut costs drastically in this department.
Firstly, many students waste a great deal of money by having to attend extra semesters. Completing college in the minimum time naturally reduces money spent on college.
It can be quite difficult to follow all of the courses, prerequisites, and corequisites that eventually give enough credits to graduate, but a meeting with a dean or professor, who knows the courses well, can fix that up easily.
Paying top dollar for textbooks may also be an unnecessary expense. Look at the campus library to see if borrowing is an option, or compare prices using online book stores, or even consider splitting the cost and sharing a textbook with someone (like your dorm roommate).
The two main luxuries that college students waste money on are cars and credit cards. Cars are nice to have around campus, but they’re not a necessity, especially considering how they rack up costs like gas, servicing, parking fees, and insurance. Use the campus’ public transport facilities – they’re probably part of your fees anyway.
Credit cards are also big-time money wasters because of the excessive amounts of interest that banks charge. Credit card companies often advertise on or near campus with flashy cards and promises of being student orientated. Always be sure to do some reading about interest rates and repayment because debt grows exponentially.
Some experts suggest getting a credit card in your home town before going to college just for emergencies, but that should be the only card you have and it should be used sparingly.