Making College Cheaper

There are a lot of students who need to save money on their college expenses, but colleges and universities don’t really want to tell students how to do it.  In fact, most institutions of higher learning rely on hidden costs to raise revenue while keeping their sticker price low.  This means that most schools offer a lot of generic advice, such as buying used textbooks or limiting snacks in the dining hall, but a lot of this advice isn’t very useful.  If you need to lower your college costs, try these suggestions.

Plan out your classes before you start your degree.  More than half of all college students take more than four years to complete their Bachelor’s degrees.  The main reason for this is that they did not take the time to plan out their college course schedule before they start signing up for classes.  This means that many people take and pay for classes that they do not need for their degree. 

To make matters worse, most students do not plan out the order in which they will take their classes.  This means that many students end up having to sign up for an entire extra semester of classes just because they cannot get a single class that they need.  Paying for these extra classes can costs thousands of dollars. 

By sitting down for a few minutes before starting your classes, you can save thousands of dollars and get your degree in a lot less time. Do your laundry off campus.  A lot of schools overcharge their students to wash their clothes; literally nickle and diming them.  Wait for trips home to wash clothes, or if you have a car, make a trip to an off-campud laundromat. Skip the meal plan.  Meal plans are one of the most over-priced ways to buy food on campus. 

Many plans sell you a lot of food you don’t need or use.  In fact, a lot of people end up wasting a lot of their meals by not using them at all or using them to buy snacks or other items.  While this is sold as a convenience option, it actually can cost a person thousands of dollars a year.  Buy and create meals yourself, and pay cash for any meals that you have to eat on campus. Stay away from the campus bookstore.  Most of them contain overpriced supplies and a lot of stuff you don’t need. 

Don’t buy textbooks, either.  A lot of schools tell you to buy used textbooks for their classes to save money, but too make people realize too late that this doesn’t save them that much money.  Instead, talk to your professors and figure out which books you can skip buying.  Many classes only use a small portion of the textbook.  Check out the book from the library, or borrow a friend’s copy and photocopy the parts you need.  You can potentially save hundreds of dollars a year by doing this.

Watch your extracurricular spending.  While some of these activities will enhance your college experience, many of them can be done cheaper on your own time.  Schedule your classes carefully.  Getting a higher paying job is a good way to make sure you don’t have to take out too many loans to go to college.  In order to do this, it is important to give an employer a good schedule. 

Try to take as many classes as you can during the evenings and weekends to leave your schedule clear during business hours.  This will allow you to find a better paying job.