There isn’t anything that you can do about the cost of tuition once you have chosen your school But, you can plan for other costs: the books, room and board, technology, supplies, medical, and entertainment.
Books are necessary for college, but can you lessen the costs? Yes! With the Higher Education and Opportunity Act that went into effect last month, assigned textbook prices must be printed in the course schedule This is a big win for your budget In the past, most people didn’t know the price until they got to the college book store It gives you the opportunity to price shop for the textbook I suggest looking for used or rented text books Check out www.Chegg.com or www.BookRenter.com.
Room & Board
You might be thinking that room and board are a fixed expense, and that’s true for freshman But, most colleges allow you to live off campus after your first year That opens up some new options More roommates equates to more savings If you want multiple roommates to really cut down on costs, you could consider a house rental If you don’t want roommates, you could look for a room & board arrangement These would be local homeowners who are looking to rent out a spare room Prepared meals and access to laundry may be included as part of the agreement If you want an on campus option, look into becoming a Resident Adviser RA’s typically get a room and board reduction but check with your school to confirm.
It’s a given that you will need a computer But do you need a printer? If you do, check the back-to-school specials Remember, printers require paper and ink Shop around for supplies, don’t just rely on the campus book store You may also find that you don’t actually need a printer in your room Ask questions and see what’s available on campus There could also be an inexpensive printing service off campus, like FedEx/Kinko’s.
Think about what you need, as well as how much you need You can minimize expenses by not overbuying Your entire family may empty a bottle of shampoo in a month But when it’s just you, a single bottle could last a whole semester or longer Make a list, talk it over with other people, and revise your list as needed Then shop for the best deals before you head to school Prices may be higher in the town or city near campus.
Something you may not think about, but should, is medical insurance If you parents have insurance, you can probably be covered by them But, do they have in-network insurance? That means that you can only be seen by select doctors or medical centers Do they have those options near your school?
Most people have some form of entertainment to help them relax But, entertainment can be expensive That’s why a lot of college students learn how to play card games, like Eucher Or, they start kicking the soccer ball around in unofficial games of football These types of games are free But, you should plan on enjoying some paid events, whether it’s attending the games, seeing movies, or going out with friends Plan ahead and budget how much you’re willing to spend each week on entertainment Use cash, and don’t bring your debit card with you when you go out It will help prevent overspending.
All your little expenses will add up Give them thought and research ahead of time to save yourself a considerable amount of money.