For students starting at a college or university campus this fall, you are all likely to have one thing in common – the necessity for money. We ourselves have several friends who have children at this age and they have often shared with me how expensive the costs of post-secondary education can be.
The costs I am actually referring are those that go beyond the tuition and the residence or apartment fees. All students have costs, that come in the form of school supplies – however these items often take on different shapes and sizes for different academic levels. For our kids, currently it is binders, pencils, erasers, rulers, paper, and so on. I have even noticed how these items add up and our children still live with us. So with that being said, I want to talk about how students at the post-secondary level, who have extreme ‘school supply’ costs, can save money as they go back to school this September.
On top of all of the many supplies you will need to attend classes, textbooks are up there with one of the most costly. Unlike some other supplies, these items are vital to your course success. Brand new textbooks can often be on average anywhere from $100 and up and if you need 1 or more per class, this will certainly add up. With that said, it is a good thing that you can buy used textbooks from other students who’ve previously taken the same class and as a result you can cut down on your textbook fees.
In addition to your new course textbooks, you can do the same and sell your textbooks and make some extra money to put towards the books you have to buy each semester. Schools often have message boards and posting locations, where you can highlight your book sales, as well as look for the books you will need. Campus bookstore often sell used textbooks as well, albeit it might be on a limited basis, so you will want to act as quickly as possible to ensure you get the textbooks you need and save yourself a great deal of money in the process.
2) FOOD & DRINKS
Another large expense that can cause your bank account to suffer is the amount of money spent on food and beverages. As a student you will will need to try and eat well, in order to stay focused on your studies and in your various activities. There of course will be other times when you are going out socially and want to indulge. If you are in the position to cook meals or pack food to bring with you to campus or to class, then you can save a little bit extra as opposed to buying food from coffee shops and vending machines. This way when you do want to go out and spend money on food and drinks, you have been able to save some of your money and be able to devote some of it to your social life.
Just at textbooks are a huge drain on your wallet, so is the expense associated with computer, software and various electronic devices you require to complete your course work. If you need to purchase a new computer or laptop, for example, there are also ways to help you save. Often times many stores will offer student specials, such as going back to school sales that can reduce your total costs by several hundred of dollars.
A lesser known fact about purchasing laptops and computers has to do with buying refurbished devices at a lesser cost. Many stores also sell used equipment that has been repaired and made to be as good as new, however priced a lot lower. If you aren’t concerned with having a brand new laptop, then this can be a great way to help you save money going into the new school year.
4) CREDIT CARDS
If you have a credit card or plan on opening a new credit account, you will want to make sure you do your research. Looking closely at the many different types of cards that offer areas for savings, that include lower interest rates, cards with lower credit limits, as well as ones that come with no annual fees, can help you find the right card for you.
Also practicing responsible spending is key to your budgeting success. You will want to make sure you do not spend beyond your means and can pay off your balances in full or at least on time. If you do want to avoid having any interest charges then paying off the balance in full each moth is an action you will have to take. Ultimately, if you can view your card as an emergency fund, then you can try and keep the credit charges as low as possible, making your school year expenses remain much lower as well.
Lastly, transportation can also add up for students, as they require the use of public transportation quite readily. Even if you are given a free bus pass, there may be other instances where other transportation expenses can add up. For example, sometimes you will need to take cabs or trains, etc to get to and from various locations throughout the year. If you own a car then you will want to factor in the cost of gas.
Regardless of your transportation methods however, money will sometimes be required. If alternatively there are times where you can ride your bike or walk then you can definitely help save yourself some additional money. Carpooling with a fellow driver can also mean lowering your costs as you can share the gas expenses between the both of you – cutting the costs in half.
On a final note, devising a monthly and yearly budget going into the school year with all of your expenses clearly identified, can help you to stay on track with your spending and help to prevent you from running out of money.
With all of the many expenses associated with going to school, this is where budgeting definitely comes in handy and if you can monitor your money effectively, you can lower the stress that far too often is attached to the topic of money. Ultimately, being stressed about money should be the last thing on your mind when you are trying to focus on school. By removing this issue from the equation as much as possible, you can devote all of your time and energy on doing your best – and not to mention having some fun along the way!