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Unique Ways for College Students to Save Money

Unique Ways for College Students to Save Money
Linsay Thomas

According to the College Board, the average tuition for an in-state public college is close to $9,000 a year. That does not include housing, food, books, supplies, parking, transportation and other fees. Add in all these expenses and expect to pay more than $22,000 annually. Perhaps this is why many students are graduating college with tens of thousands of dollars in debt. But it does not have to be that way. With some smart planning and creative ways to approach college life, you can save thousands of dollars a year. That’s money that can be used for entertainment or to pay down your college debt.

There’s an App for That

Apps can help you accomplish just about anything. Need to sync all your accounts and determine your budget? Mint can help you do that. With this handy app, you can pull up your finances at any time and see if you can afford that snazzy new pair of sneakers – or not. I Love Free Things is another cool app that college students on a tight budget will appreciate. Every day, this app compiles the latest list of free items near you. So whether you’re in the mood for a free T-shirt, coffee or food item, you can easily find what you’re looking for with this app. If you own a car, you know how expensive filling up the tank can be. But with GasBuddy, you can find the prices of gas at stations within a 50-mile radius. You’ll never overpay again!

Don’t Buy BooksTextbooks

Full-time college students can easily spend $500 a semester on new books. Why buy books that you won’t use again once class is over? First, check and see if the campus library offers the book for free. If not, rent your books for a fraction of the price from a website such as Chegg or eCampus.

Experiment with Dorm Room Cooking

Although many colleges offer meal plans, there will likely be times when you want to eat what you want, when you want. Plus, going out to eat several times a day can get expensive really quick. That’s why it may be beneficial to learn some quick and easy recipes – and no, we’re not talking about Top Ramen! A dorm room may have only a refrigerator and microwave, but that’s all you need to make some delicious food in a jiffy. CollegeXpress offers some yummy recipes for wraps, quesadillas, pasta and even chocolate cake – no stove or oven required.

Sell the CarStudents&Bicycles

Cars are convenient, but they’re pricey to maintain. Factor in gas, insurance, registration and regular maintenance and you’re looking at nearly $10,000 a year to operate your vehicle, according to USA Today. On top of that, many colleges charge hefty fees - $500 a year or more – for on-campus parking permits. And that’s if you can even find a place to park. Most college campuses are pedestrian friendly. Try walking to your destinations or purchase a bicycle to get around town. Public transportation is also an option. It should be fairly easy to find a bus to get you to where you need to go. Plus, you’ll usually get a student discount.


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