Oh the memories of college. Long nights, increased responsibilities, extra anxiety, new experiences, college frat parties, but the memory that sticks out in my mind the most is being “financially strained”.
Most college students are trying to focus completely on school so they are either working part-time, or not at all. Students are always trying to find ways to get more bang for their buck. With the pressures of doing well in class, money should be the least of their worries. I have a few suggestions that I hope will help the average college student stretch their dollar.
College Textbook Expenses
Let’s begin with college textbooks. It is rare that financial aid covers the full expenses of books. This can be quite frustrating because college textbooks are quite expensive. The first option would be to buy used books as often as possible. Another option that most college students are not aware of is that you can rent textbooks.
As long as the book is available to rent, all you have to do is pay a small fee and the book will be mailed directly to your door. Once you are finished with the book, simply send it back. If you really want new books, I suggest looking online at sites like eBay and Amazon.
If you do happen to purchase a textbook (whether new or used), try to sell your textbook when your class is completed. Avoid selling it back to the bookstores, but rather sell it online to other students. You would be surprised at how fast it will sell and now that is extra money in your pocket.
Extracurricular Events and College Budget Woes
Now I know that most college students want to have an active social life. Without the necessary funds, that can be hard to do at times. There are reasonably priced or “free” activities that you can do that won’t hurt their pocket. One idea would be to look at campus bulletin boards. Most times there are activities exclusive to students that are free or a small fee. Another idea would be to find activities to do as a large group, most times you won’t spend too much because the more people, the cheaper the rate.
Traveling to see loved ones during college break can be tough, especially if your family lives in a different state. The best advice for traveling cheap in college is to shop around and keep an open-mind. If you are willing to take the ground transportation such as the train or the bus, this might work in your favor. If traveling by air is more of your preference, there are still excellent deals out there. The key is to search early and be flexible. Try not to book flights at peak times in the year.
The important thing to remember when attending college is that there is a light at the end of the tunnel. You may be financially strained during your college days, but in the end, the degree that you worked so hard to achieve, will yield the financial gain that you deserve. It is up to you to make the most of your college experience and be smart with your money at the same time.
Readers, what college budgeting tips did you learn along the way?