Easy Ways to Save on College Costs
As students prepare to descend on college campuses across the country, it’s the perfect time to discuss saving on college costs. While the cost of tuition is a non-negotiable, there are many more ways you can save on the overall costs related to receiving a college degree. Here are several ways you can save on college costs:
Leave the Car at Home
Taking a car with you to college is one big expense you should cross off your list. Not only will you have all the same vehicle-related expenses you have at home (gas, insurance, maintenance), you’ll also have to pay for a parking sticker or feed the parking meters on campus and in town. Plus, you’ll be the one everyone else is hitting up for rides. Instead, take advantage of the fact that university campuses and college towns are made for walking and biking. You’ll save money and get some exercise, too.
Be Realistic About Meal Plans
You may be tempted to go for the all-inclusive, top-of-the-line meal plan, but it’s not the most economical choice. You’ll avoid wasting money if you start with a more conservative plan and get an idea of what your new dining habits will be. From downing a granola bar while running to an early class to late-night pizza with your roommate, it’s a safe bet you won’t be stopping for three sit-down meals a day in your dorm’s dining hall.
See What’s Free
If it’s not already, ‘free’ is about to become your favorite word. Take advantage of everything that’s offered to you just for being a student. That includes entertainment opportunities like concerts and movie nights, fitness center memberships, guest lecturers, student clubs and any event or celebration offering free food. And remember to always keep your student ID with you to grab student discounts at local restaurants and retailers. It’s an easy and fun way to save on college costs.
Avoid School Hopping
Once you commit to a 4-year university, you need to stay put. Switching from one school to another can cause you to lose up to a full semester of credits. Do that a few times and you’ve added a year or more and thousands of dollars to the cost of your education. Switching schools is not a good way to save on college costs.
Minimize Reliance on Student Loans
Ask any recent college graduate struggling to pay back their student loans and they’ll tell you the same. Take out as little in student loans as possible and use the funds to pay for tuition, books and essential living expenses only. Your college years will fly by and you’ll be responsible for paying back that money before you know it.