We all know how expensive college is. From tuition and fees to books and meals, there never seems to be enough money to fund your education. Although challenging, saving money while in college is possible. Here are some tips on how to organize and save money during college.
1. Apply for a scholarship
Scholarships are not just for high school students who are about to enter college. You can apply for a scholarship each year you study. Every year, many scholarships are not claimed when they can provide benefits to students. Not sure where to get a scholarship and how to apply? Check out Peterson’s scholarship search tool to find more than $ 10 billion in personal aid. Filter available scholarships by type of school, ethnicity, gender, field of study, state of residence, award type and more to make your scholarship search easier!
2. Complete the FAFSA
Financial aid is the lifeblood of most college students. To make sure you have the funds needed to pay for your education, make sure you fill out the FAFSA each year you are at school. Your financial situation can change from one year to the next, so not completing the FAFSA can actually cost you money.
3. Plan solid educational goals
To help prevent a four-year plan from becoming a five-year or six-year plan, create a timeline that outlines the type of class and the number of credits needed to graduate in four years. Talk to your advisor to make sure you are applying for all the college credits you have earned (such as AP classes, CLEP or DSST examinations you have passed), and make sure you take all the classes necessary to complete your degree on time.
4. Get a student credit card at no cost
When used responsibly, a free student credit card can help fill the gap between salary or financial aid and can earn you gifts and rebates for everyday expenses. Perhaps the best advantage of getting a student credit card is building your credit early, which makes it easier to get future car loans, or rent an apartment without having a co-signer. Remember to never spend more than you can afford at the end of the month!
5. Make use of the library
The school library is full of on-campus resources that can help simplify your student life. Better yet, their resources are usually free for students. From books, online databases, videos, and software, many libraries offer material that can help you prepare for exams or write research papers. Libraries often provide free tutoring, professional and career development programs, and academic workshops. The university librarian is very helpful and a great resource to help you find what you are looking for.
6. Borrow, don’t buy textbooks
With multiple textbooks costing $ 200 per book, it’s easy to collect huge bills each semester. Resist the urge to buy new textbooks and choose to buy used books or rent textbooks whenever possible. Many places that allow you to rent textbooks online such as Amazon , AbeBooks , or Chegg can save you between 50-90% on the cost of new textbooks.
7. Skip buying the printer
You’d think having your own printer would save you money – until you saw the prices for ink cartridges. Student fees often include on-campus printing, which means you don’t have to buy expensive ink cartridges. Professors often allow you to submit assignments electronically which reduces the amount of printing costs.
8. Use the campus gym
Exercising is a great way to reduce stress and stay focused while in college, but gym memberships can be expensive. Most colleges and universities are equipped with gym facilities for students, including swimming pools, tennis courts and exercise classes.
9. Ask for student discounts
Many places around campus provide student discounts . From restaurants, retail stores, bowling allies and theaters, students can save money by simply flashing their student ID. Make sure to always carry your student ID with you and don’t be afraid to ask if the business you are visiting offers student discounts before you pay.
10. Attend free campus events
Colleges and universities often host on-campus events such as concerts, career fairs, sporting events, workshops and lectures. Many of these events feature free food, swag, contests, or other prizes. Check your student calendar or on-campus brochures frequently to find free events that may be of interest to you.
11. Cut the cable with the cable
Say no to cable television and opt for an online streaming service like Hulu, Netflix or Amazon Prime instead. With so many options online at little cost, cables are expensive and outdated.
12. Find a job on campus
Working while studying is necessary for many students, but working on campus has the added advantage of not having to travel long distances to get your job. Additionally, colleges and universities often better understand your needs to study or complete a research paper, and will allow more flexibility in your availability for work.
13. Explore internship opportunities
Internships are a great way to earn additional college credit while receiving real-life work experience. Some internships are available during winter or summer holidays, on weekends, or during the school semester. Occasionally, the organization where you completed your internship may have full-time employment opportunities available after you graduate.
14. Live near campus
While living on campus can be expensive, living within walking distance of campus can save you thousands of dollars. Walking to school also saves hundreds of parking and gas fees on campus, while encouraging you to exercise before and after class. If you are not a fan of walking to class, many colleges or off-campus apartments offer shuttle service to and from school.
15. Make your own food
Eating on campus or buying fast food on the way to class can eat up your budget. Many students do not know how to cook or feel that they have time to cook. Making 20 minute meals or preparing future meals can save you time and money. There are many cookbooks available that offer quick and simple meals, some even cater to students. Shake things up by inviting a friend to grab a bite to eat.