College is not a cheap life experience. There are books, tuition, room and board, and gas to shell out money for. That doesn’t include the miscellaneous fees and needs that depend on your student’s major. Parents are expected to foot a lot of the bill, especially before the young adult can get out and get a job. Read on to learn how to you can help your college student save money, which can also help your own wallet!
1. Encourage textbook rental over purchasing.
Most books are only needed for one semester, so renting is likely the most affordable option. Sure, your child can purchase books brand new with the idea of reselling them later, but they usually will not get what they paid for since they are now used.
2. Second hand shopping
Try shopping Craigslist, eBay, and consignment stores for items needed in your college student’s dorm room. Not everything needs to be brand new or name brand to help your child through school. Things they can take from home need to be considered as well, so there is no out of pocket expense.
3. College Discounts
Remind your child to ask for a college student discount whenever he/she goes out. Many restaurants that are nearby a school will give a percentage off the total bill to college students carrying their student ID.
4. To meal plan or not to meal plan
Forego the meal plan if possible. They will probably be able to stock their dorm room with food and a microwave for less money than the plan purchased through the school. If the college requires those in a dorm have a meal plan, teach them to use it wisely. They should only go to the dining room when they are truly hungry. They should also spend every cent they have on the plan to avoid waste.
5. Off Campus Savings
If they have to commute to and from college, suggest they carpool with other students doing the same. This can be a huge money saver, as the cost of gas will go down greatly. They can usually find rides through friends or bulletin boards in their college’s student center.
6. Creative Entertainment
Send them off with plenty of entertainment so they won’t need to go bowling, to the movies, or anything else that costs money often. Those things are nice to do every once in a while, but they can get costly for a college student with no income. Board games, books, music, and DVDs can be taken to avoid the need to go out every weekend.
Some college students may not think about the costs of attending school. They assume their parents will cover the bill or they will take out loans for the expenses. However, saving money needs to be at the front of their (and your) minds, to ensure no one has a mountain of debt once graduation comes.
Do you have any suggestions on how a college student can save money?