Families may initially focus on tuition and fees when discussing college costs; however, other costs must also be planned for.
Living expenses, textbooks, transportation and entertainment costs can quickly add up; therefore it is wise to have a solid budget in place before heading off to college. Planning is an ongoing process so it would be prudent to revisit your budget periodically so as to make sure that everything remains on track.
1. Tuition and Fees
Planning for college expenses is an essential element of education. Students need to factor in tuition fees, living costs, books/supplies costs, transportation and entertainment costs when making this important decision.
Tuition costs comprise the majority of college expenses. Depending on the school and location, tuition prices can differ widely.
Many colleges include room and board in their tuition costs, making saving for college even easier if you wish to live on campus or are uncertain of your finances.
Tuition and fees have steadily risen over the years even when adjusted for inflation, so to reduce costs consider applying for financial aid or work-study programs. Many state colleges also provide fee waivers to veterans, teachers or family members of college employees.
2. Living Expenses
Living expenses are the second-highest cost associated with college attendance after tuition and fees. They can quickly add up, making budgeting for them challenging.
Students need to budget for additional expenses like groceries, technology and transport costs that can add up quickly – these recurring costs could cost hundreds each year!
Before making any financial decisions for college, it’s essential that you gain an accurate picture of the costs of living there. Otherwise, you risk overrelying on student loans or ending up in financial difficulty at semester’s end due to misjudging your living expenses.
3. Books and Supplies
As a college student, you know the value of having access to all the books and supplies necessary for success. Textbooks and course materials can quickly add up; therefore it is essential that they are factored into your financial aid planning early.
Your best way to save money on textbooks is buying used rather than new, renting books, or searching online for free versions. Your campus might also host a book exchange which might give access to used texts at reduced costs.
Your school may also require computer and laptop supplies for classes, along with accessories like cables, printer paper and cords. Before heading out shopping for these essential items, check their list. Although these won’t be covered by financial aid awards, they’re necessary for an enjoyable college experience.
Transportation can be one of the more complex areas of a college student’s budget. From gas and insurance costs to campus parking fees, transportation expenses can quickly add up.
Transportation expenses should not become an area of debt over time; planning ahead will help to make sure that you can spend as little money on this category as possible, while still having enough to enjoy college life!
Your best bet when it comes to managing transportation expenses is saving early and creatively with your spending habits. For instance, look for ways to save on textbooks or reduce food and entertainment expenses.
Fun is an integral component of college life, yet not everyone can afford all their desired pleasures; therefore, having a plan in place for entertainment expenses is necessary.
Save money on college entertainment by searching deal of the day websites like Groupon or LivingScial for discounts of concerts, shows and movies – sometimes up to 50% off! Doing this often allows for greater savings than purchasing full price tickets would provide.
Are You Wanting to Save Money on Entertainment? Another way of cutting costs on entertainment costs is joining campus groups or activities, like a club or theater group, that provide ample opportunities for socializing and networking – plus provide excellent free entertainment!