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 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.

SEE: How To Save Money At The Grocery Store

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.

Related Articles
  1. Home & Auto

    4 Areas to Consider Roofing Material Types

    Roofing your home is very important, that’s why you should choose a roof specifically designed to handle your area’s climate.
  2. Savings

    6 Ways to Save Money on College Supplies

    Tuition and room and board are big expenses, yes, but the cost of textbooks and supplies can add up, too, unless you strategize.
  3. Home & Auto

    Millennials Guide: 6 Routes to the Right Roommate

    Choosing the right roommate is key to not risking and ruining your credit history. Some simple precautions can save you from a financial nightmare.
  4. Budgeting

    The 5 Most Expensive States for Child Care

    To get a better sense of how child care costs can fluctuate, here's a look at the costs of child care across the country.
  5. Home & Auto

    Looking To Invest In Home Improvements?

    Some home improvement projects could cost you more to complete than they’ll pay out in equity. So, here we show you the worst projects to avoid.
  6. Fundamental Analysis

    Understanding the Internal Rate of Return Rule

    The internal rate of return rule is a popular method used to compare investments or projects.
  7. Home & Auto

    Are Home Inspections Worth It? - Price vs. Value

    If you’re wondering whether home inspection is worth the investment, the following information will help you decide.
  8. Budgeting

    How to Defray Long-Term Care Expenses

    Here's a handful of options on what you can do to defray long-term care expenses.
  9. Budgeting

    The True Cost of Home Caregiving

    Caring for eldery family in-home might be unavoidable, but most caregivers don't realize the true cost of doing so.
  10. Budgeting

    Is Level Money the Perfect Budgeting Tool?

    Here’s a detailed review of how Level Money works and whether it could be the perfect tool to help you budget.
  1. Internal Rate Of Return - IRR

    A metric used in capital budgeting measuring the profitability ...
  2. Good Student Discount

    An auto insurance policy discount available to young drivers ...
  3. Whartonite

    A graduate of the Wharton School of Business at the University ...
  4. Free Application For Federal Student ...

    The form that must be completed in order to qualify for any type ...
  5. Student Debt

    Money owed on a loan taken out to pay for educational expenses. ...
  6. Student Loan Forgiveness

    Under certain circumstances, federally backed student loans – ...
  1. Can I use my IRA to pay for my college loans?

    If you are older than 59.5 and have been contributing to your IRA for more than five years, you may withdraw funds to pay ... Read Full Answer >>
  2. Can I use my 401(k) to pay for my college loans?

    If you are over 59.5, or separate from your plan-sponsoring employer after age 55, you are free to use your 401(k) to pay ... Read Full Answer >>
  3. How does a bank determine what my discretionary income is when making a loan decision?

    Discretionary income is the money left over from your gross income each month after taking out taxes and paying for necessities. ... Read Full Answer >>
  4. What is the range of deductibles offered with various health insurance plans?

    A wide range of possible deductibles are available with health insurance plans, starting as low as a few hundred dollars ... Read Full Answer >>
  5. What are the best MBA programs for corporate finance?

    Opinions vary based on which publications you consult, but the best MBA programs for a career in corporate finance are at ... Read Full Answer >>
  6. How do I know how much of my income should be discretionary?

    While there is no hard rule for how much of a person's income should be discretionary, Inc. magazine points out that it would ... Read Full Answer >>

You May Also Like

Trading Center

You are using adblocking software

Want access to all of Investopedia? Add us to your “whitelist”
so you'll never miss a feature!