Living Cheaply to Afford College

With the cost of college education skyrocketing every semester, many college students are struggling to afford a degree. We all know the importance of a degree for education and job placement, but with such high tuition costs, students and graduates are forced to live off of roman noodles and PB&J sandwiches to afford textbooks and supplies. Most universities charge additional outrageous fees on top of tuition, even for mandatory classes. As a recent college graduate with student loans, here are three tips for saving a lot of money in college and after graduation that I live by and have saved me thousands of dollars :

1. Never buy a new textbook for yourself only - 

The cost for textbooks these days are astronomically inflated. When possible, rent your books. There are several companies that allow you to rent textbooks, and this can be a huge savings when compared to the cost of buying a book you won’t use after the class. If you can’t rent, try to buy a used edition of the textbook. You can usually save around 50% of the cost compared to a new book, and who cares if someone wrote something in the margins or highlighted a few pages. 

Undeniably, there will be situations where you are forced to purchase a new textbook. If a professor writes a book that is specific to the class you are taking, it’s doubtful you can rent it and the previous semester’s version is out of date. In this case, find a friend to share the book with. By splitting the cost and sharing the buyback (if you’re lucky to get anything for it at the end of the semester), you can save money and shouldn’t be too inconvenienced. The more people you share the book with, the cheaper the cost to you. Keep in mind that this will also mean more people needing the book during exam times when you will be relying on it the most!

2. Living with a roommate - 

Whether in college or not, one can usually find a bigger, CHEAPER place to live when living with more than one person. Additionally, utilities are cheaper per person and goes down as more people live in an apartment or house. Now is the time to live with another person, especially if you don’t have a wife, family, or others commitments which would make living with a roommate difficult. If you can’t find a roommate to live with, check the internet for people looking for a roommate. There are several websites that are similar to Craigslist where people leave postings soliciting a roommate or subleasing a room (where you can usually find a discount compared to the actual price). Just make sure to do your research and actually meet with the other roommates before you move in!

3. Purchase non-perishables in bulk - 

Especially if you are living with roommates, purchase non-perishables in bulk. For example, if you are to buy a single bottle of water, it costs about a dollar. However, you can purchase a 24 pack of water for as little as four dollars! Buying in bulk is a great idea for any beverage. If you are living with a few roommates, or even on your own, it might even be worth buying a membership to Sams Club or Costco in order to save money with bulk purchases.

These tips are just a start to saving up money to get through college and start paying back student loans. There are several other tips that help save a few dollars here and there, such as purchasing generic over brand names and couponing. And these little savings add up to a big saving over time. These three tips I shared can help save hundreds of dollars per month! They are simple and center on one’s willingness to share and be a good roommate. With these three tips in mind, you are well on your way to paying off those students loans and other college debts in no time.


Post a Comment