Save More Money While You’re In School
Books. Tuition. Lab materials. Pursuing higher education is a commendable decision, but can also be an expensive one, especially when mandatory school costs start to add up. Fortunately, there are several small ways that you can lighten the burden of these extra expenses and keep more money in your pockets. Read these five tips to find out how you can cut costs and stay on top of your academic plans.
Rent Your Appliances
A glossy store ad comes in the mail sporting shiny, new mini-fridges and microwaves at a discounted price. Should you buy it? The correct answer is: don’t get sucked into the hype. Once you leave school, you most likely will not need a mini-fridge (many apartments come furnished with a full-sized refrigerator) so there is no need to make a long-term investment in one. Moreover, discounted items may break or be damaged, which could cost you more in the long-term to replace them. Instead, borrow these items from your university or college. Many schools have rental programs that allow you to rent out a range of appliances — everything from refrigerators to vacuums. Also search for websites and nearby companies that will allow you to rent dorm items throughout the academic year.
Live With Roommates
Room and board is one of the biggest college expenses after tuition for most students, and living off campus can easily cost you 20 to 30% more money than living in a dorm. However, if you have to go off campus, then shack up with roommates to reduce your costs significantly. Find two or more people that you are able to live with and look for places with fewer amenities at an affordable rate. Make sure to discuss how food, toiletries and cleaning supplies will be split in order to prevent future disagreements.
Make Your Meal Plan Flexible
Besides the notorious amount of weight that college students often gain when they first go off to college (that buffet-style dining hall is hard to resist!), many students often spend a lot more money by opting for the largest meal plan available. Cut back on overeating and stock up on healthy snacks and meals that you can cook in your dorm room or eat while you’re on the go. Also, look into a more flexible meal plan. If you can do without school food altogether, get rid of your meal plan and buy your own groceries.
Use Your Summer to Get Ahead
Taking summer classes may not sound like fun, but it has its benefits. Earning credits over the summer could help you graduate earlier (saving you a semester or year of tuition expenses) and also give you a better chance at improving your grades. Use your summer to study for college credit exams, to enroll in an elective, or to study abroad. Devoting your summers to your studies can help you earn more credits for less.
Don’t Jump Ship
Before starting any academic program, make sure that you are truly happy with it. Some people often find that the school they originally opted to attend wasn’t what they bargained for, and they begin to perform poorly. Students that transfer between different 4-year institutions often risk losing a full semester (or more) worth of college credit. This risk increases when a student choses to transfer from a private university to a public university (or vice versa), since in most cases credits earned at either school may not be recognized. Unless you are transferring from a school that is hugely expensive to a much cheaper one, it’s often financially best to stay put until you complete your academic program.