As more reports on increasing tuition costs and mounting student loan debt emerge, the idea of an affordable college education seems to slip away for many students. College can be expensive these days, but there are also a number of ways to save. Students who are resourceful when it comes to cutting costs can keep a college education within their reach. Use these tips to reduce your expenses in college.
Textbooks account for a significant portion of a college student’s budget. Each semester, the cost of buying books from the campus book store can quickly add up to hundreds of dollars. To save some money, college students can buy used textbooks and sell them at the end of each semester.
For an even more aggressive approach to saving, many students are now renting their textbooks instead. Companies like Campus Books offer huge savings for students who rent textbooks then return them when they’re done with the class. Just search for and order rental textbooks online instead of waiting in long lines at the bookstore.
Food costs can add up fast when you’re in college. For those who live in dorms, a meal plan may be an efficient way to get meals without a home kitchen. Just don’t waste any prepaid meals or points. For those who can opt out of a meal plan, there are several ways to save on groceries, including:
- Always check for weekly deals and coupons. Many grocery stores now have handy smartphone apps that include discounts.
- Skip the name brands and choose generic food options instead.
- Plan out your meals in advance so you don’t end up wasting food.
- Find ways to save on the things you eat or drink daily. For example, it’s cheaper to buy a coffeemaker and make your own at home than to stop at Starbucks every day.
Find a Frugal Home
Many colleges require that freshmen live on campus, but if you’re able to live at home instead, consider doing so for the incredible savings. Even with a moderate commute, you’re likely to save thousands per semester.
If you’re living off campus in an apartment or house, make sure you do your research. When the cheapest rents are several miles from campus, consider purchasing a bike to get to class so you can take advantage of serious savings every month. Living with roommates is another frugal option, especially if you find other students who want to save on rent.
Use Your Student Status
When you want to go out and have fun off campus, student discounts will help you save a bundle. Many businesses offer great discounts for those who can show a current student ID. From bookstores to movie theaters to restaurants, there are dozens of places where you can save some money just by being a student.
Use these tips and keep your costs low in college. With a little extra effort, it’s easy to eliminate some of the student loan debt or credit card debt you’d otherwise incur during your college years.