Each year thousands of high school graduates head off to college. Smiling parents, from the time their child is born, began saving for this day when their off-spring will head off to a place of further education and return years later ready to contribute to the growth of the community. That is the perfect scenario, however in truth; it is not like that for everyone. The cost of living, in every city around the world, appears never to stop increasing. These high living expenses cause havoc to the savings of young married couples and force families to tighten their belts and look for money saving ideas with which to send their children to college. There are, thankfully, many ways to save money for college.
The first step is to look for grants, scholarships or loans. Grants are sometimes difficult to receive as you are expected to give something back to the institution that gave to the wherewithal. Scholarships require you to have been a diligent student throughout your junior high school and high school years. There are, however scholarships for sports players – that’s a different story. Loans appear to be the easiest method of procuring funds. Often State or local governments have student loan schemes. Once you have paid your admission fees and have moved into the dorm; there are a number of money saving ways that will make life easier throughout your academic year – let’s look at a few popular methods.
Get yourself a bank account from a bank that caters for students; a simple cash account that will earn you a small interest rate. This account is important as it allows you to bank any wages from a part-time job as well as having a place to keep extra cash – it is not a good idea to leave wads of cash under your dorm mattress. Paying your miscellaneous bills is also a simple procedure if you have a bank account. No one needs to remind you that if you have your own credit card use it wisely. Another idea is to keep receipts from anything you buy – including tooth-paste, beer, cigarettes, etc. At the end of the first month tally up these receipts and see how much money you’ve spent – you will be surprised.
Textbooks are, of course, an important item to have. For the next three or four years of your life, textbooks will be you main reading source. New textbooks, while nice to have, are expensive so you should consider purchasing some second-hand books from, for example, a graduating student or online. Online book retailers like Amazon.com have thousands of used textbooks selling for cheap prices – paperbacks are better than hard-covers when you have to carry them from class to class. You can probably buy textbooks on auction sites such as Ebay or Yahoo a lot cheaper than on retail websites. You should be careful; however, auctioned textbooks have a tendency not to be in pristine condition. It is important to remember not to rush out and buy all your textbooks the day before classes begin; some stores jack up prices and make extra money out of late purchasers. If possible buy all your textbooks, prior to leaving home for college and have your parents send them to you once you’ve settled into the dorm.
Booze – if you’re a drinker and enjoy sinking the scuds with friends in a local bar after classes; cut back on the amount of times you drink out, you’ll save a fortune. If having a beer after class is akin to therapy, buy some cheap beer from the supermarket and drink in your dorm room – providing alcohol is not prohibited. It is also a great idea to buy beer in bulk – as it is cheaper. If it is hanging out in a student bar that you enjoy, patronize campus bars that have specials on pitchers or one dollar drink specials – how much you spend will depend on how smashed you want to get.
As for meals; it is very important that you eat well. Do not try and save money by munching a Big Mac every night. The majority of dorms’ have a cafeteria of some sorts with meals prepared by professional people; use this service. Eating out should be kept to a minimum (once or twice a week or month) and if you do go out to dine, frugality is the ticket.
There are many other methods of saving money for college. The main thing students, attending college for the first time should remember, is that common sense is free – use it.
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