College students often find creative ways to save money on and off their campuses. Since the beginning of the recession and economic decline in 2009, saving money has become even more vital for those trying to pay for school. Here are some tips to help the process of saving money:
Rent your textbooks: Many online websites offer affordable textbook rentals. Chegg Online, Amazon and Barnes & Noble are just a few of the many websites and stores with discounted prices on textbook rentals. Even the campus bookstore offers affordable textbook rentals. Be careful, though. Many online classes require an access code for the course, so those books must be bought new. Do thorough research on your classes before deciding what to buy for your class.
Carpool to and from campus: As much as it may seem like a pain to arrange a carpool, it actually will save college students a good amount of money. With the average price per gallon being about $3.23 in Washington state and the average car ranging 25-30 miles per gallon, the average student can save an average of $3 a day by carpooling with a friend. While it may not seem like a lot, an average school week would mean saving $15 per week. Then that $15 will average to a savings of approximately $60 a month, which is $720 a year. Think of all the things that can be done with an extra $720 sitting around for a rainy day!
Bring your own food: Ahh, yes. The alluring smell of the made-to-order cafe food. Tempting, isn’t it? Well, not to your wallet. Though is may be easier and require less time to simply buy lunch on campus, the average cost of a meal bought at Pierce College can range from $5-$13. Say you purchase a meal at $10, twice a week. $20 a week adds up to $80 a month. On the other hand, if you live with your parents, your food wouldn’t cost nearly as much. Buy cereal in bulk, coupon as much as possible and don’t waste money on name brand foods simply for the name. Be smart about your food and your wallet will thank you.
Skip the summer vacation; take classes instead: As many students know, the quarter system can be rigorous and mentally exhausting. Cramming an enormous amount of information into 10 weeks of classes is challenging. Taking a vacation is quite appealing to many students after a long quarter at school. As much as it might kill you, do not splurge on an expensive vacation. For example, according to Trip Advisor, the average round-trip, week long ticket to Orlando, Fla., a popular spring break destination, would cost about $380. Add in food and hotel, along with activities and transportation and the trip itself can cost up to $2,000. On the other hand, taking an entire eight week long summer course would cost about $530. Summer classes are, on average, less expensive and finish two weeks earlier than any other quarter-long classes. Get ahead in your studies and you won’t regret it later.
Be willing to say no: College comes with a lot of freedom and independence for students. Some students do not take into account the amount of money they are spending just by being out with friends. A $20 dinner here, a $15 movie there- it adds up. The more you learn to say no to those late-night frozen yogurt runs and the shopping sprees in between classes, the less you have to stress about money later on. Limit yourself to one or two ‘fun’ activities per week. Get creative with your time with friends- stay in and watch a movie, learn to cook a new recipe together or go to the park. Any of these activities cost little to nothing and still possess the quality time that comes with being with friends and family.
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