No question: college is expensive in all aspects.
It is expensive physically, psychologically, and financially. The first two, well, we can probably handle. But the most difficult challenge is in the large sum of monetary expenses required to finish a degree.
Good news is that we find ways to save! Check on this list to see where you could effectively cut down on college expenses.
1. College expenses generally vary depending on major
If you aren’t fixed yet on which college major to pursue and are still weighing in options, it would be good to consider the associated expenses of your majors of choice. Medicine and Law top the list of most expensive college majors, as we all would have expected mainly due to the length of time required to be in school. There are also majors such as Economics and Foreign Languages whose required textbooks are said to be more expensive than average.
2. There are cheaper versions of textbooks.
The quickest cheapskate option that comes to mind when talking about textbooks is renting instead of buying. Companies such as Barnes & Noble offer rentals that are cheaper than buying brand new books. But, we learned of a a way cheaper option than this. According to a feature article in Time.com, “the 7th edition of Francis A. Carey’s Organic Chemistry — a standard text for pre-med students — costs $213 new and somewhere around $150 used” but the same edition is available on AbeBooks.com for a jaw dropping, wait-for-it… $12! The reason for this low price is that it is an international edition sold in India. The article explains possible copyright infringement implications of this type of sale but per AbeBooks.com, “no legal precedent has been set”.
3. Watch out for sneaky technical fees.
Some required classes have extra, usually-hidden-until-you-are-enrolled fees. Well, not really “hidden” but these are those fees you don’t realize upfront. These include supplies for art-based classes or certain licensed software for computer classes. The solution is to seek others who have taken these classes and if possible, buy or rent their used materials.
4. Watch out for sneaky non-technical fees.
While there are those fees required to complete a class, there are also those we shall call “non-technical fees” which are expenses that one can really do away with. This include studying out in coffee shops, gym memberships, parking fees and partying out. All of these have cheaper alternatives: studying at the dorm, running inside campus, biking around or commuting, and watching movies in Netflix with friends. These expenses may seem negligible but adding them up through time proves to be a whole lot of savings.
5. Stay away from debt (in as much as you can).
This is basic and a no-brainer but, considering high tuition and miscellaneous fees, probably the most difficult one to achieve. The best way to begin is to spend only on what you need and can afford. Use of credit cards is not advised as it encourages irresponsible spending by leading you to think you can afford a certain purchase now without realizing you’ll suffer on the interest when the due date comes.
Education, as the old cliche says, is the key to success. We hope this helps you get that key — a quite expensive one at that — that opens the door to your success.
Got some other tips or personal experiences getting through college? Leave a comment and let us know.