Tag Archives: tips for saving money in college

5 Practical Ways to Save Money for College

March 22, 2013

 

Photo Courtesy of Incometherapy

Photo Courtesy of Incometherapy

Are you looking for ways to save money for college? Pursuing a college degree is expensive and a challenging endeavor.  This is the part of  life where you need to learn how to manage your class schedule and your finances, as well.  College life is where you discover how to become more independent because you have to take care of your food, transportation, textbooks, supplies, tuition, budget, entertainment and many others.  It is normal to feel scared on how you will handle all these things, but come to think of it, you can actually transform your “fear” into an exciting experience, if you know the effective student money saving tips. When you follow the five practical money management tips, you do not have to worry and panic about getting broke in college.

 

Learn How to Budget Money

Photo Courtesy of Supermoney Save

Photo Courtesy of Supermoney Save

Organizing and keeping track of your finances is the fundamental financial skill that you should learn as an adult.  Getting an idea on how much you need to spend in a month will help you to keep your finances in order. Prepare a worksheet, and track where your money goes.  Keep your receipts so you can easily record your spending.  It is also useful if you want to compare your records monthly.  Remember, you don’t need to spend all your money, make sure that you set aside a portion of your allowance for “rainy days”.

 

 

 

Buy Used Textbooks

Photo Courtesy of How Stuff Works

Photo Courtesy of How Stuff Works

Buying new textbooks can be very expensive.  New science books for instance, may cost around $300 or more. Why buy expensive books, if you can have a second-hand book which is also of good quality?  Look around in a local bookstore near you; most of them sell heavily discounted textbooks in good condition.  You can also ask some college students who are ahead of you and or a friend who took the same course, if they can lend you their books or you can also rent to them.  You can increase your college savings if you are using second-hand textbooks. You can also visit your College Library and borrow textbooks for free.

Did you know that according to the College Board an average student pays around $1,137 for textbooks and supplies per year? Imagine how much you can save for four years (or depending on how long you will stay in college) if you are taking advantage of these opportunities?

 

Look for Freebies

The best thing about college life is that there are a lot of free amenities that you can enjoy inside the campus. As a matter of fact, most campuses offers free gym membership, free movie rentals, guest lecture series, sports activities, student clubs, and dorm diners.  Instead of paying for these services outside, try to look, ask, and build your networks around the campus. Take advantage of these amenities so you can save your money.

Moreover, don’t forget to bring your college ID with you, even outside the campus, there are some shops, bookstores, and transportation services that offer discounts for college students, just smile and present your student ID as a proof.

 

Be Smart and Frugal with your Dorm or Apartment Living

Photo Courtesy of Quizzle

Photo Courtesy of Quizzle

When you are eyeing for some appliances for your dorm, try to check with your parents, if they have old appliances at home which they are not using anymore.  You can borrow it for the meantime instead of buying a new one.  You can also check with your dorm if they have a program for low-cost appliance rentals.  If there is none, there are some companies that offer for rent services, which you can also avail.  Buying new appliances are costly and you may not be able to use it after college particularly if you plan to move-out or work in other places.

If you are living in an apartment, look for few roommates or ask your friends to live with you, so you can split the rent. Living off-campus can be very costly because you need to pay for internet connection, furniture, transportation, phone, and security deposit during summer months.   If you can share these expenses, you can set aside some money for your college savings.

 

Look for Scholarship Grants and other Money Resources

Photo Courtesy of College to Careers

Photo Courtesy of College to Careers

Scholarship grants and other financial aids will help you to pay your bills. Ask your school regarding their scholarship programs and offerings, and how you can avail them.  Do your best to get good grades, so you can be eligible for scholarships for graduate studies, if ever you plan to pursue it. If you have good grades, you can easily build your networks and get good recommendations after graduation.

If you have extra time, you can also look for part-time jobs, so you can increase your college savings. You can also invest some of your money with a discount broker, so you can start saving money for your future. Learning the different ways  to save money will rescue you from being broke.  It will also train you to become more discipline in handling your finances.  If you follow these money management tips by heart, college life will be more fun and rewarding for you.

Save Money in College | Money Saving Tips for Students

November 30, 2011

How Students Can Save Money in College

College is an exciting time in students’ lives.  Students learn about new subjects and explore their career options in a safe, knowledge-based setting. However, it is important college students also begin to form healthy financial habits in college. Too often, students that start off on the wrong foot make poor decisions later on, especially when it comes to their finances. Here are some ways students can save money in college and use their money in smart ways. These methods have worked for a number of students and are a good way to usher in adulthood and responsibility.

Purchase Second-Hand Supplies & Textbooks

Save money in college - used funrniture

You'll probably have some of these items that you can bring from home. Credit: William Hook, Flickr.com.

Many students want all new supplies for their dorm room. This can cost students and parents a lot of money and frustration when the bill arrives.  Thus, consider borrowing and buying used as strategies to save money in college:

  • Buy items like furniture, second-hand. You may find good second-hand supplies like coffee tables or lamps at consignment shops or garage sales. You might even have these supplies at home and can easily transport them with you to college.
  • Talk to family and friends and see if they have any supplies lying around you can buy at a lower cost. You never know when an old desk can become a study companion at college!
  • Bring materials and supplies you already have. Your pillow from home will work just as well at college and decorative items like photos or pictures you wish to hang up might be suited for your dream dorm room design. Additionally, bringing items you already own may help when you feel homesick at college. It is always a better option to add a touch of home to a dorm room rather than shopping for brand new items at stores.

Use Meal Plans

Most colleges require students to purchase a meal plan as part of their room and board. Even commuter students that live at home or have an off-campus apartment may be required to have a meal plan in order to keep their enrollment status. Meal plans are often grandfathered into costs and are difficult to avoid. Here are some tips for strategically using a meal plan to help  save money in college:

  • The meal plan is typically already paid for as a set number of meals per week or in points for food and beverage items on campus. The school may offer a combination of both of these options in their meal plants. Students do not have to spend extra money on meals with meal plan options, which is a benefit for those students that do not work while in school.
  • Colleges have begun focusing on healthier meal options. This helps students avoid calories and unnecessary spending on unhealthy foods they might be tempted to buy off campus.
  • Check your school’s policy on meal plans and any restrictions, such as times the cafeterias might be closed. This can help you plan your schedule better and make plans with friends to meet on campus for meals.

Check out even more advice on how to save money on food in college.

Avoid Using Credit Cards

Save money in college - avoid the plastic!

Leave the plastic at home and save money in college. Credit: Andres Rueda, Flickr.com.

Credit cards are readily available on college campuses and can easily lead students down to a dangerous path of increased debt and frustration. Avoid using credit cards or being cajoled into signing up for one while on campus. The benefits the salesperson might tell you at the table will not outweigh the cost of high interest rates.

  • If you come on campus with a credit card, use it sparingly. Students typically have a parent as a cosigner on credit cards, so overuse of credit might harm the parent’s credit score, too.
  • Avoid using credit by leaving the card out of your wallet altogether. Store it in a safe place, such as in a small safe with a lock, so you are not tempted to use it on a regular basis. If you must use credit for purchases, pay the debt off immediately the next month.

It may be challenging for students to save money in college, but it is not impossible! Following these steps will ensure many dollars (and headaches) saved during your college experience!

Five Ways to Save Money on Food in College

August 30, 2011

Let’s face it, college can be very expensive. However, there are alternatives to save money on food in college besides eating Ramen Noodles for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

Tip #1 –  Campus meal plans

Image credit: Flickr.com, dougww

When students live off campus they sometimes believe they are not eligible to sign up for campus meal plans. This is not the case with every university. The initial investment may seem daunting at first, but remember that it often covers three meals a day, six or seven days a week. Ultimately, it should not be surprising that a large university buying in bulk can prepare meals for less money than an individual can. Granted, the food may not be exactly what you’re hungry for at the time, but the long term savings can be significant. You can also see if your college offers a partial meal plan, which will reduce the upfront costs and still save you money in the long-run.

 

Tip #2 – Shop on a full stomach and make a list before you go

This is not just good advice for college, but a trick that can save you money for a lifetime. If you make a list before you go to the store (and stick to it), you’ll avoid impulse buying. The same goes for eating before heading to the store; when you walk past donuts while hungry they start looking mighty tasty, but if you’ve just eaten you can stroll right past them.

 

Image credit: Flickr.com, gruntzooki

Tip #3 – The vending machine is not your friend

One of the luxuries of college is that most dorms and campus buildings have vending machines. However, the same snacks, candy or drinks that you buy through a vending machine can cost upwards of 70% less at the grocery store. These extra costs are going to add up quickly and can easily be avoided. Save money by getting your food, drinks, and snacks in advance and not giving in to temptation.

 

Tip #4 – Be a smart shopper

Yes, there are more exciting ways to spend your Sunday afternoon than reading through the Sunday paper for coupons and advertisements, but the savings you gain from comparing food prices at different grocery stores is astounding. If you combine this tip with tip #2 and plan ahead, finding a grocery store with many of your list items on sale can save you a lot of money.

 

Tip #5 – Watch the campus calendar

It can really pay off to watch bulletin boards and campus calendars for events where free food is served. There is absolutely nothing wrong with free food. You can get some great bites and save money just by dropping by stopping by a few of these events.

Image credit: Flickr.com, o5com

With so many other costs such as tuition, books, and an active social life, it’s important to try to save as much as you possibly can with small changes. With a little bit of planning ahead you too can save yourself some money and still eat great food. What tricks have you found to save money on food in college?

 

Seven Tips to Lower College Textbook Costs

July 19, 2011

As an Oregon State University student from 1999 – 2003, I must admit that I didn’t know much about how to save money in college.  I wasted a LOT of money on my college textbooks.  For example, I initially just assumed that I needed to buy all my books from the college bookstore.  Wow, was I wrong! But, you don’t have to make the same mistakes that I did, and waste all of the money that I did!  Here are some great tips to lower the cost of college textbooks:

  1. Once you register for classes, your college should give you a list of ISBNs for the books required for your classes.  Get your ISBN list as soon as possible to start shopping. The longer you wait until the start of the semester/term, the higher the prices will be.
  2. Buy used. There is a lot of hype right now around textbook rentals and e-books.  But, as the example at the bottom of this post shows, it is almost always better to buy used and then sell it back at the optimal time of year (see #7).
  3. Only buy used textbooks from sellers with great feedback. Look for sellers in the online marketplaces with at least 95% positive feedback, but preferably 98-99% positive.  The seller should also have at least 500 feedback ratings over the past year, to ensure they are reputable.
  4. Buy from a company or seller in your state, or in a nearby state.  Most used textbook sellers will use standard “media mail” to ship your book.  That can take 14-21 days when shipping from the east coast to the west coast, for example.  Buy from your state, or a nearby state, to minimize this risk and receive your books in 4-6 days versus 2-3 weeks.
  5. Buy from sellers that take the time to describe the textbook’s condition in detail.  You may need to know if the textbook comes with a CD or DVD, for example.  Not all sellers will indicate this, except the great ones like MKZbooks.com. Okay, as the owner of McKenzie Books, I might be a bit biased but seriously the quality and detail of a book’s description is indicative of the quality and care of the seller.
  6. Ask your professor if it is OK to use the old edition of the textbook.  Many times it is, and if you can use the old edition, this can save you a HUGE amount of money!  When you register for classes, many colleges will provide the email address of the professor.  Send an email–it doesn’t hurt to ask!
  7. Sell your textbooks back in August or January to a reputable buyback company.  The reason you want to wait until August or January is because that is when the highest demand to BUY textbooks will be.  And, where there is high demand, there is high buyback prices for you to sell!

We here at Cash4Books.net always aim to please our customers with our textbook buyback service. We offer free FedEx shipping on most textbook buybacks, no PayPal fees, no minimums, a convenient and free iPhone App, lightening fast payment processing, and excellent customer service (a live person will actually answer the phone, unlike other companies).  You can also sell your other used books back to Cash4Books at the same time you sell your textbooks!

 

To expand on #2, above: In a recent study that I performed, the textbook Psychology by David G. Myers (ISBN 9781429215978), was on average $79.46 to buy used, $73.14 as an e-book and only $58.49 to rent. However, selling back the book for an average of $45.61 meant that the total cost of ownership was only $33.85 for those students who bought and resold the book. That’s a whopping $24.64 cheaper than renting, and $39.29 cheaper than the e-book.