There’s no secret that college is expensive, but after spending four years there and making a lot of financial mistakes, I’m hoping that what I’ve learned will save the next person a little pocket change. This is just a small list of some things I wish people had told me before I went off to college.
Textbooks are going to empty your pockets at the beginning of very semester if you stick to the list of what classes require you to have. The trick is, you don’t actually need to buy any of the books! The exception being lab manuals and that sort of thing. You can rent the book from the library whenever you need it or rent it from an online source like Chegg or Amazon. The only drawback to relying on the library for the book is that they often only have a few copies of each textbook so you may have to wait a few hours if they are all taken out.
Another tip, your class may ‘require’ the latest edition of their textbook but 99% of the time you can buy/rent an old edition and it’s exactly the same. Unless your professor specifies a certain aspect of the new edition that you will ABSOLUTELY need then always go for the old. Old editions are always super cheap because they’re considered ‘useless’.
Use your AP exam scores to get credit for courses!! The average university will allow you to get credit for a class with the corresponding test score of a 3 or higher. If you had a quality AP course teacher and feel like you understood the material then don’t be afraid to forgo the college course and take the credit. You still have to pay for the credits but at a discounted rate and avoid wasting your time and money.
Off campus living! Room and board are crazy expensive and lets face it, unless you go to a cushy school, those dorm rooms are older than your grandparents are. My freshman dorm room was all brick and had a furnace that kicked on in the middle of the night and sounded like bombs were going off. Needless to say, I moved off campus next year and never looked back.
Look out to see if there is an apartment complex near your campus that caters specifically to college kids. I ended up in a brand new apartment with a gym, pool, free coffee bar, my own private bathroom, and still paid less than I would have if I lived on campus. It’s a scary decision to make, but if you do your research right it can end up being the best one you ever made.
Get good grades! Colleges offer merit scholarships to students who achieve good grades and if you keep up your GPA, they will increase your scholarship year to year. Obviously you’re going to want to get good grades in general, but knowing that it earns you money is a plus.
This is the end of my money saving wisdom when it comes to college but that doesn’t mean there aren’t more tips out there. Do your research and make sure you aren’t being swindled out of more money than need be. Study hard and good luck, my little academics!
title image source