Bay College Planning Specialists

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Tips for Saving On College Expenses


By: Christy Belden

the-college-prosWhether you’re a traditional, first-time college student or a returning student with other financial obligations, college is expensive. In fact, it can be one of the most expensive-and stressful-times in a person’s educational career, and one where
money can be the scarcest. Tuition is only the tip of a steep financial iceberg, one that can be difficult to navigate effectively. Sometimes, the number of purchases a student has to make can be so overwhelming that they overspend just to relieve
the stress.

But while tuition is rarely negotiable, it is possible to strategically cut spending on other college expenses while still obtaining the tools you need too make the most of
your college experience. By being open to alternative means of obtaining books, supplies and transportation, you can possibly save thousands every semester. Here, we discuss five tips for cutting costs on non-tuition college expenses.

Rent or Buy Used Textbooks Textbooks are notoriously costly. New hardcover textbooks can cost hundreds of dollars, and multiple editions are often used for standard college courses. Students with heavier course loads or more complex
subject matters might have to shoulder expenses in the thousands for books alone. However, there are alternatives to the standard campus bookshop. Online services now offer both rented and used textbooks at dramatically discounted prices. While it takes a few extra days to receive your materials, you’ll ultimately spend hundreds less, even with next-day shipping.

Consider Software Alternatives Nearly every student now carries his or her own personal computer, and professors expect that students have the ability to purchase and use standardized office software. Campus supply stores often sell copies of major-name office software, but these can be hundreds of extra dollars. Alternative programs available online can often be downloaded for free, most with close enough emulation of the standard software format that they can be accepted just the same by professors. Try OpenOffice or GoogleDocs to get started, or invest sometime searching for your own.

Push Your Dollar Farther Even with college classes being moved more and more online, there are still cases in which traditional materials, such as book bags, pens, pencils, notebooks and binders, are going to be necessary. These materials may only be a few dollars at your local chain office supply store. Over time, these expenses add up. Consider making a trip to your local dollar store if you need traditional materials. In general, dollar stores will have back-to-school sales just the same as department stores, but with the lower cost.

Ride the Bus Especially true for universities in large cities, parking passes are also a hefty expense for any college-bound student. Even if you only use your vehicle to make it to class quickly or travel on the weekend, you could pay hundreds each year to allow for parking on campus. A bus pass is considerably less expensive, and while it requires a bit of lifestyle adjustment, it is ultimately easier on your wallet.
You’ll save on gas expenses, parking expenses, and you’ll also be doing your part for cleaner air.

Open a Checking Account Foreign ATM fees are a common occurrence on college campuses. If you’re going to a school away from home, your home bank might not be represented, meaning you’ll be paying foreign ATM fees every time you need cash. And while making ATM withdrawal doesn’t seem like a large expense,
over time fees can slowly add up. Open an account with the local bank or credit union most widely represented by convenient on-campus ATMs. By avoiding ATM fees, you’ll gradually save yourself a respectable amount of extra cash.

Want more tips and suggestions on how to save? Check ‘n Go, a leader in the paydayloan industry, offers many helpful articles on smart savings in their new Financial Planning section.

About the author:
Christy Belden works in interactive marketing for Leapfrog Interactive. Visit LeapfrogInteractive for more information.

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Filed under: Accounting, Campus Lifestyle, College Debt, College Financing, College Planning, Grants, Scholarship, Students, Tuition, , , , , , , , , , ,

One Response

  1. ekrieger says:

    Those are some great tips for incoming college students. I especially agree with renting your textbooks. That saves a lot of money! Here are some other tips that I have for new college students:

    http://www.eliottkrieger.wordpress.com

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