Let’s face it, college is expensive. According to a recent College Board study, the average tuition in 2014-2015 for four-year, in-state schools is $9,139. That means even if you are going to a public, in-state school, you are paying close to $40,000 for a college education. That price grows exponentially if you go to school out-of-state or attend a private school.
As tuition costs continue to rise, students will need to get creative on how they save money. While going to college is expensive no matter where you go, there are ways to save money as a student.
Here are four smart ways to save money as a student while you are in school.
Don’t Live On Campus
Living on campus may seem like a cool, fun thing to do, but room and board on-campus is traditionally more expensive than off campus. Choosing to live off campus can save you money, because you can choose where you live, who your roommates are, how many roommates you want to have, and what your price range is. Living on campus means dealing with the school’s set price.
Living on campus is convenient, but look for other living arrangements that could potentially save you hundreds of dollars each month.
Rent Your Textbooks
I remember one of the most frustrating parts of school was that it seemed that nearly every class I had required 5-10 books. Of course, these books would come out with new editions each semester, making it hard to sell back to the school. Instead of purchasing your textbooks, look into renting your textbooks. If you aren’t planning on keeping the books anyway, why not? Consider buying books for certain classes that you know you will use later on, but renting textbooks for your general education classes. This will help you limit your expenses for school supplies.
Learn How To Cook
College is a time for learning, growing and becoming an adult. You can learn so much while in college, but aside from being textbook smart, you should also invest in learning how to take care of yourself. One of the best skills you can learn as an adult is how to cook. It’s easy to justify going out to eat all the time, or live on cafeteria food because you don’t know how to cook. I get it. But if you learn how to cook, you’ll save a ton of money on food by not going out to eat as often.
Start by creating a Pinterest account and pinning recipes. You can search ‘easy recipes’ to get started. In addition to cooking, stay away from pre-packaged food and limit your coffee outings and brew some at home.
Always Ask About Student Discounts
One of the best things about being a student is getting a student discount. Many movie theaters, restaurants, and public transportation options offer discounted prices for students. While those are traditional ways to use your student discount, many other retailers offer student discounts as well. Before you buy, always research or ask about any discounts for students. Sometimes asking is half the battle — but it’s important, so that you can use your limited funds on your studies and living expenses.
Use these four tips to lower your costs and save money as a student. By saving money now, you can help budget and plan for the future — including your life as a college graduate!
How do you save as a student?
Melanie Lockert is a freelance wordsmith, a passionate debt fighter, and frugal lovin’ minimalist who writes at DearDebt.com. She devotes 50% of her income to student loan debt and is often dreaming of her next adventure.