4 Ways College Students Waste Money

Posted September 11, 2014 by
Garbage can full of money spilling over with piggy bank in it and money on the ground

Garbage can full of money spilling over with piggy bank in it and money on the ground. Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.

School is in session—let the accumulation of unnecessary debt begin. Wait, what? You thought all college debt was necessary? Think again. From paying too much on big-ticket items like tuition, to overspending on school supplies, college students are unknowingly wasting money every day. Graduating with a bill higher than your first salary job doesn’t have to be the norm. Stop wasting money and start using these money-saving tips every college student should know.

1. Tuition and Books

You can still graduate with a four-year degree from your dream college without spending the amount of money it takes to study there for four years. How? There are several options. If you’re still in high school, take AP classes to score some college credit and position yourself for scholarships. If you’ve graduated, take general education courses at a public, in-state two-year college before transferring to a bigger university. Compared to an in-state four-year college, doing so can save you around $11,000 in tuition, according to College Board. Already enrolled in your (expensive) dream university? Consider taking a few cheaper, community college courses during the summer so you can get ahead and maybe even graduate early.

When it comes to buying textbooks, it’s no longer necessary. Rent them instead! Many university libraries offer a two- to three-hour textbook checkout option which gives disciplined students just enough time to study each day. If that’s not an option, consider using a textbook rental service like Titto; rental prices start around $20 a month.

2. Room and Board

Extra space and privacy may be nice, but a private room can be an unnecessary expense. If you thought tuition was pricey, according to College Board, room and board is even more so. Study in the library, find a quiet coffee shop, or go home for a weekend to achieve that time to yourself.

While you’re at it, find ways to cut food costs. Eating out for every meal can quickly drain your budget. Instead, put that money toward groceries and a slow-cooker to stretch your dollar.

3. Goods and Services

College students often waste money on items they don’t realize could be cheaper. Do your research beforehand to know what other retailers are charging for a similar product. For example, before buying a used car, use Kelley Blue Book to determine the average price for the vehicle. Before buying a used laptop, use a source like GadgetValue, which helps users determine the value of their electronics. When in doubt, always ask for a better deal. The same goes for paying a tutor, buying used furniture, or hiring a mechanic.

4. Entertainment and Socializing

Avoid overspending on entertainment by capitalizing on student-sponsored events, free concerts, and discounted recreation like your university’s gym and pool area. When you go out with friends, take advantage of half-price happy hour or “college night” promotions from local businesses. Trouble finding those evasive deals? Use the TUN app for Smartphones to access thousands of discounts and earn free rewards just for being a student.

Source: SocialMonsters

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