Attending a four-year college or university is a dream for many people. Unfortunately, obtaining a degree can be an extremely expensive venture. The cost of going to college begins with tuitions, but this is only the tip of the iceberg. After all, there are plenty of other costs that students have to worry about, including housing, text books, supplies and more. Here is a look at how students can make their ventures through college more affordable with just a few simple steps.
SEE: 7 Money-Saving Resources For College Students
Housing Options That Won't Break the Bank
If you decided to enroll in a college or university in your hometown, you have an excellent opportunity to reduce your housing costs significantly. Rather than moving into a dorm or apartment as soon as you step into a college classroom, consider staying at home with your parents for a few more years. It is likely that the amount they charge you to live there, if they charge you at all, will be significantly cheaper that it would be to live in a college dorm or to rent an apartment of your own.
For students that decided to attend a college or university that is further from home, it is often more cost-effective to team up with some friends and find an apartment near the college campus that you can rent together. The more people to group together, the less money you will each have to put out in rent and utility bills. If you do decide to live in the dorms at college, opt for the basic dorm to maximize your savings.
Getting the Best Price on Textbooks
It should come as no surprise that textbooks can be quite expensive. Fortunately, there are plenty of ways to cut costs. Many campuses have at least one used textbook store within walking distance. Peruse the used textbook stores and see if they have any of the textbooks you require. A budget friendly and eco-conscious option that works for many students is to download textbooks to an e-reader or tablet device from websites such as BarnesandNoble.com or eCampus.
Dining While Saving
Whether you decide to live at home or rent an apartment with roommates, the cheapest way to save money on food is to create a shopping list and head to the grocery store. By cooking dinner at home, you can save both yourself and your roommates a considerable amount of money. Make it clear that all roommates are required to chip into the grocery bill, and each can take a turn making dinner at night. Although meal plans can be highly convenient for students who live in the campus dorms, students that live off campus are better off cooking at home.
Utilize the University Library
While many students show up on campus with their own office electronics such as a laptop and printer, it is not absolutely necessary to have these items. Colleges and universities grant students access to the library and computer labs where they can research and complete assignments without paying anything extra out of pocket. Additionally, by using the universities equipment, you do not have to worry about replacing ink cartridges or repairing equipment when it begins to malfunction.
Students who attend college in larger cities are at a major advantage in the transportation department. In large metropolises there are reliable public transportation systems available to the general populace. Meanwhile, a student in a more rural location may be required to purchase a used car to get around, which is sure to take a significant chunk out of his or her budget. When you add in the expenses of gas and tune-ups, owning a car in college can become a major expense.
The Bottom Line
Although attending college can be an expensive investment, there are ways to cut costs on everyday living expenses. Rather than stretching yourself thin during your college years, re-evaluate your expenses and opt for cost-effective choices that will improve your financial standing as you further your education.