Saving In School Could Make All The Difference!
School is hard enough as it is, but it’s made all that much harder when you add the stress of money and debt on top of keeping your grades in check.
Getting a college education is expensive, but there are ways to cut your costs, watch your pennies, and not come out strapped with the kind of debt you keep hearing about. Here are a few great ideas to get you started spending less without sacrificing your lifestyle.
Rule the School
Aside from tuition, room and board are going to be your next biggest expense. At some schools, room and board costs even more than tuition. Hey, they’ve got to pay for those ungodly expensive dorms somehow.
Students who work as Resident Advisors frequently get free or significantly reduced room and board in exchange for their work. Considering that the average full-time student attending an in-state public school pays $8,535 per year in room and board according to The College Board, working as an RA can be one of the most lucrative gigs on campus.
It happens every year—unwitting freshmen buy hundreds of dollars worth of text books then virtually cry at the end of the semester when they’re worthless. Watch the faces of students in line at the book store. The ones who look devastated are those who haven’t figured out that textbooks are expensive as heck and get sold back for pennies on the dollar.
The College Board reports that the average student pays $1,137 for books and supplies every year, but you can check the same books out of your library for free. If the campus library isn’t an option, sites like eCampus, Chegg, and CollegeBook Renter will rent you books for a semester while sharing with a friend can cut the cost of buying books in half.
Cook It Up
College is all about learning about self-discovery, whether it’s in a mind-blowing anthropology class, being away from your parents for the first time or realizing that hey, you actually don’t eat the same thing as the linebacker who lives down the hall. (And scholarship money pays for his eats anyway.)
Schools accommodate by offering several meal plan options, which can vary by up to $1,000 per year in price. While many schools require those living on-campus to purchase a meal plan, students can typically choose whether they want a large or small option. Prepping some of your meals at home can save a bundle both during and after college. And by the way, been to WalMart lately?
Summer school is a drag but so is ponying up for yet another semester. Streamline your college tenure correctly and you could get out in three rather than four years. Or at least have time to chill. Summer school, community college classes, internships, AP and CLEP exams and summer study abroad programs can all save money by helping you graduate faster. A course at a major university costs (using some cost accounting guessing here) 3 grand. That same course can be box-checked at the local Harvard-on-the-hill JC for 300 bucks. Or less.
Once you’ve made it to a four-year institution, stay there until you graduate. Students who transfer from one four-year school to another lose an average of one full semester’s worth of credits. Unless you’re transferring from a super pricey school to a substantially cheaper one, it usually makes more financial sense to stay where you are.
Pay the Interest
Paying interest pays off. That’s because every year you’re in school, your student loan interest slowly gets bigger. Wait long enough and you’ll have to pay interest on the interest. (We’re not joking at all. That’s a nasty phenomenon called loan capitalization).
The good news is that you can sidestep all of that fiscal ickiness by simply paying a little bit towards you interest each month. If two freshmen each take out $5,500 Stafford Loans—the maximum you can borrow during your first year of college—but Student A pays the paltry $31 in interest the loan accrues each month, they’ll leave school with a loan that’s $1,500 lower than a student who let the interest accumulate.
Access Student Discounts
Smile, get your student ID then use it until you can no longer pass for 21. Your student ID grants you discounts on items ranging from movie tickets to computers. Student discounts are particularly advantageous when it comes to traveling. Amtrak and Greyhound both offer discounts for student travelers while STA Travel can hook you up cheapo with flights.
– via www.shmoop.com
More Ideas For Spending Less But Living More
It really is true that the small choices add up to big difference over time. Here are a few more great ideas to keep a little more cushion in your wallet.
Think beyond dorms to save on rent
Don’t assume uni accommodation is always your cheapest option: if you’re prepared to get creative, you could save a ton – like the students who lived on a yacht for a quid a day or camped out to cut costs.
If that’s a bit too Bushcraft for you, you could save around £373 a month by living at home.
Go abroad for grad study
Finland, Norway, Germany and Austria are tops for free or low-cost study, even for international students, which could save you thousands each year. On the downside, living costs can be pricey, and you may need to know the local language to get a place (or a job): start saving, look for funding, and learn the lingo ahead of time.
Look twice for cheap flights
It can be a costly rookie mistake to assume the first get-away deals you find are actually the cheapest, especially as prices can change in minutes. Set up price alerts with momondo if you have a destination in mind, or use Skyscanner’s ‘Everywhere’ tool to find bargain-bucket seats on flights to anywhere!
Complete holiday packages can sometimes (not always) work out cheaper overall, so compare your prices with lowcostholidays and lastminute.com.
And don’t dust off your mankini until you’ve read our specific tips to getting airborne for less.
Slash your bills in an evening
Spend just one evening comparing the cost of your gas or leccy and you could save hundreds by moving to a better deal. Switching is simple and free: just make sure you’re not tied into a contract with exit fees (even so savings can outweigh them).
Haggle your rent
You’ve got nothing to lose by asking for a rent reduction – if you can show you’ve been a top tenant, the odds are in your favour, as it’s usually cheaper and less hassle for your landlord if you stay on.
Other tactics to try include paying in advance, or knocking off a month or two from 12-month contracts to account for non-term time.
Think about phone insurance
Not only are two-thirds of you likely to damage or break your phone at uni, phone theft is so rampant there’s even a national crime unit dedicated to stopping it.
Insurance obviously costs money, but can save you the expense of a new phone or pricey repairs. So if you’re a butter fingers, have a pricey handset or are locked in a length contract, getting insured is often worth doing.
Don’t just go with the policy that’s bundled with your gadget – you can get cover for pennies.
Ride the bus for less
If you catch the bus every day, a student bus pass usually works out cheaper (if you’re entitled to disability support, you may be able to get free travel, or funds to help you pay for a pass). Check if there are free metro bus services in your area, too.
Run from overpriced gym membership
Opt for any of the big fancy fitness chains and you can expect to pay anything up to £80 a month. Whilst that may incentivise you to actually go, there are lots of ways to lose a few pounds for fewer pounds (sorry).
Your university is likely to offer most facilities for a fraction of the cost, with no lengthy contract. Or check out PayasUgym for hundreds of pay-as-you-go or no-frills gyms popping up all over the country. See all the ways you can save a packet on fitness.
– via Save the Student
What do you do to save a few bucks in school?