Personal finance

Ways to Cut Back on Expenses in College

cut-costsIt goes without saying that college debt is on the rise and whether you are a student or a parent of a student, you want to take as many opportunities as you can to save money. It isn’t as difficult as you might think, either. A little bit saved here and there can accumulate to a lot less debt by the time to graduation gets near.

1) Buy supplies “guaranteed to last” until the end of the year until or graduation.

There are online stores and brick-and-mortar stores that have the types of items that are either "guaranteed to last" until the end of the school year or even until graduation. I have discovered sites like RHL (Residence Hall Linens), who do sell bedding and other dorm room supplies that is guaranteed to last until graduation. This is a great way of saving money because you don't have to worry about buying these items again year after year-or quarter after quarter.

2) Rent textbooks instead of buy.

This is even better than buying used. There are sites such as Campus Book Rental that do allow you to rent textbooks, but not only that, keep track of the classes your friends are taking. If you happen to share majors or course schedules, feel free to ask if you can use their book.Textbooks can cost about $200 per quarter, so any opportunity to save money on this cost should be grabbed at your first opportunity.

3) Be smart with food.

First, make sure you check out meal plans on campus and find out every opportunity or benefit you can use. Next, have in-house dinner parties or potlucks with roommates to share cooking supplies. It's a fun, social way of getting to know the people living on your dorm, as well as saving money.

4) Save on transportation.

Think about all the money you spend on gas, parking passes, and car repairs. Now, imagine you have that money back in your pocket. It's quite a lot isn't it? Start walking or biking to and from your classes. If it's too far to walk or bike, consider public transportation.

5) Set a budget for yourself.

As boring as that sounds, give yourself a budget for weekly expenses or even give yourself cash that is supposed to last for the week. This is a way for you to start thinking smart about the types of purchases you make and a huge step towards cutting back on spending.

Remember-this is an exciting time of your or your student’s life filled with great opportunities as well as great opportunities to rack up the debt. Start flexing those smart money muscles and use some of these tips to cut back on your spending. That way when graduation date rolls around that student loan burden won't be as heavy for your student to bear.

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