How To Save Money At College

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					A college education is expensive, especially in the midst of the recession. Even
students on a full ride find themselves with a barren bank account thanks to all the
extraneous necessities. Here are a few ways to cut costs and hopefully leave freshmen,
seniors, and students in between with a few bucks in their pockets for pizza and
instant noodles. Discounts on textbooks Obviously, there 鈥檚 a reason that books are
important to the college lifestyle. Many professors lean heavily on outside readings to
supplement their lecture, and it 鈥檚 never a good idea to skimp on the books.
However, skip the school bookstore -鈥?it 鈥檚 hard to find a place where textbooks
are more expensive. Unless your school has a direct deal with the publishers, you 鈥
檙 e unlikely to find a good deal in there. Sites like Amazon .comand offer a
variety of new and used textbooks for a range of prices and offer some great shipping
deals, and when you 鈥檙 e ordering lots of texts, the shipping costs can almost rival
those of the books! For those of us stuck having to spring for the thousand page
Sociolinguistics book we only foresee using for the quarter or semester, consider
renting a textbook from a site like, which boasts free return shipping. If
you're internet-leery, many school libraries carry textbooks on reserve. Generally,
what this means is that the book is available for a limited-time checkout, so you can
get your homework done, return it, and pass it along to the next student. Lots of
students don 鈥檛 take advantage of this (free!) service, which can really save a lot of
time and money 鈥?provided you don 鈥檛 need to use the book for more than a few
hours at a time. Students who must dedicate a large portion of their waking hours to a
particular book can try talking to their professors about whether an earlier edition of
the required text might be acceptable. Very often new editions are put out with only
minute differences from the last ones, and students end up paying more because the
publisher updated a few pictures or moved a couple of commas around. However,
sometimes the content does change significantly, so always be sure to ask first. What
you don't need to live in a dorm The price of university housing can 鈥檛 be helped,
but what you move into it can. Don 鈥檛 be fooled by lists that schools provide of
"recommended" items 鈥?they 鈥檙 e just recommendations. Department stores love
to push the idea that students need dozens of plastic organizers and pieces of modular
furniture in order to be successful. First, find out exactly what 鈥檚 provided in your
room. Don 鈥檛 shell out cash for the microwave until you're sure there isn't one
included in your fixtures. Even if your school doesn 鈥檛 provide appliances in
individual rooms, often there are lounges or common areas with microwaves and
fridges available for shared use. When in doubt, check first, buy later. It 鈥檚
tempting to purchase everything ahead of time without having even seen your room,
but there 鈥檚 nothing more frustrating than loading down with lots of stuff, only to
find that it won 鈥檛 fit or there 鈥檚 no practical use for it. Buy the essentials first
鈥?bedding, alarm clock, snacks, and so on 鈥?then make a more detailed list of your
needs later. University meal plans Many housing programs come with a meal plan,
and in most cases for freshmen and sophomores, a plan is not optional. However, a lot
of schools offer different types of plans, and it 鈥檚 easy to over-pay without being
aware of how much you 鈥檙 e actually getting. If you prefer to slap some peanut
butter on some bread in the morning on your way to class rather than sitting down to
breakfast in the dining hall, inquire as to whether your school provides a plan that
covers two meals a day instead of three. If you go home on the weekends, see if there
鈥檚 a plan based on number of meals a week. Determine how often you 鈥檒 l be
eating in the dining halls and if at all possible, if you can reduce your plan to reflect
that. If your dorm comes equipped with a kitchen, consider cooking some of your own
meals. You could save somewhere between five to ten dollars each day if you make
just one of your meals. Dinner tends to be the most expensive, so if you have some
serious culinary talent, consider fending for yourself. Student discounts off-campus
Especially if you 鈥檙 e in a college town, lots of restaurants and entertainment
venues offer student discounts, but you have to remember to ask! Many students are
unaware that such a thing exists and miss out on savings every time they head out on
the town. Finding good computers for your area of study Unless you're a real
technophile, there may be no reason to pay large prices on laptops. Consider how
much you actually need for school 鈥?if you're an English major, all you need might
be a word processor and internet capabilities. Comp sci majors may need a little (or a
lot) more. You may or may not need the priciest model and the most exclusive
software. Consider your academic needs and shop around accordingly. Printing for
school Some professors require that you print readings and study guides on top of
papers and reports, leading to students frantically burning through ink and paper. Try
printing more than one page to a sheet and printing front and back to save paper.
Make sure to set your printer to a lower-quality print job to save ink. To possibly save
on the cost of the ink, paper, and printer, check if your school has computer labs with
public printing available. A lot of campuses have a set number of pages per term that
students can print for free. College students and transportation If your school is
located in a metropolitan or suburban area, there might be no need for a car to get
around your town. Some schools make deals with the local transit authorities to get
students on buses or metros for free or at a discounted price, saving some major
money on keeping up a car, parking permits, gas, and insurance. Saving money at
college 鈥?so what? Conserving a little extra cash might not seem like a big deal, but
a little can go a long way on college campuses. As with any budget, it's all about
balancing the needs with the money, and with these tips, it might not be a stretch to
work in some wants, too. Making lists of what you need (not what the stores claim
you need) can help you on your way to keeping some cash on hand rather than
holding out your hand for cash the next time you head home.
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