Loans and Taxes
You will probably never spend more money at one time as you do when you are in college. And it all comes on so suddenly, doesn’t it? I mean, one minute you’re a high school student with very nominal expenses, and the next you’re a college student with expenses coming out of your ears! I mean, really, it’s a harsh jump, but you can deal with it effectively by being a smart spender. And you can be a smart spender by learning ways in which you can save money on all of those big ticket college expenses. Let’s discuss a few of them, shall we?
Books aren’t really a hidden expense when it comes to paying for college, but it definitely is one of those things you just don’t think about. The focus is always on tuition, yet books can cost several hundred dollars a semester. It could even top one thousand if you’re a science major. While the outrageous cost of books and how publishers are taking advantage of students is another story altogether, there are ways you can save money on those costly books.
For instance, you can always purchase used books, right? You should be able to find out the books your professors want you to use prior to the start of the semester, so you can start searching for used books online early as well. Your school’s bookstore may also have a limited supply of used books from previous semesters in stock as well, so if you act quickly, you may be able to take advantage of much lower prices.
If you decide to shop online for books, try looking on Amazon or Textbooks.com. You should be able to find some pretty good deals on used and even new books. It may take more time than walking in the student bookstore and picking up copies, but any cash savings you can get is worth it, right?
If you’re really strapped for cash, you borrow books from the library. Sometimes, professors will put books on reserve in the library so students can check them out for a few hours at a time. Or, you can try going to county or city libraries. They may also have copies of textbooks that you can check out for a few weeks at a time. And don’t forget to sell your books at the end of each semester. You can use that cash to pay for the next semester’s books.
Tuition is the biggie when it comes to college expenses, but you can do it! That’s what financial aid is for, right? But you can also apply for scholarships—which shouldn’t have application fees, by the way—and get a 529 Savings Plan. While it is ideal that your parents would have set up a 529 Savings Plan for you, you can always set up one yourself and set aside money exclusively for tuition. It will earn interest quicker than a standard savings account, too.
Fees can be another expense nightmare for college students. I mean, you’ve paid your tuition and bought your books, isn’t that enough? Apparently not. This is especially the case in science classes that have labs where you will need to pay a fee for beakers and other supplies. Instead of paying the fee, find out all of what you need and buy it on your own. You’ll probably save money that way and gain a better idea of how the lab fee would have broken down. Surplus stores, thrift stores and even school supply stores are a good source of low-priced classroom supplies.