Raysha Duncan Purdue University Student and Peer Counselor
Attending college is a large expense, and your university “bill” only considers your tuition and fees, plus room and board if you choose to live on campus. There are many additional expenses to consider when attending college, and most students don’t have access to an unlimited amount of money so we have to learn to cut costs somewhere. Here are a few ways to cut costs as a college student.
Decide if you want to live on or off-campus. There is an ongoing argument amongst students and parents of which option is cheaper. One of the simplest decisions to take into consideration is your own living and eating habits. Do you want to have a single, one roommate, or multiple roommates? If you live off-campus, chances are you’ll need multiple roommates to reduce your costs. Does the cheapest dining plan provide more than enough or not enough food for you? How much more or less do you realistically need to spend on food? Read further on the great debate of on-campus versus off-campus living.
Take advantage of the FREE and discounted stuff you get just for being a student! Students can use the Co-Rec for FREE, ride the CityBus for FREE, buy tickets for shows at discounted prices, and many more. Discover more information about student discounts.
Take your laundry home to wash if you don’t have access to a free washer and dryer. This may sound cliché, but laundry expenses really add up. Plus, this gives you an excuse to go home more often to visit your family.
Look for your books online. A lot of the time, textbooks for classes are sold online for MUCH less than in the bookstores on campus. Find out what books you need early on by emailing your professors so you can get the best deals. You may also be able to find textbook names and authors on the Registrar’s website. I most commonly use Amazon to order my books, but many other websites out there that students use as well. Learn more about Lowering the Cost of College by Spending Less on Books.
Invest in some real dishware for your apartment or dorm. You don’t have to spend a lot of money; Goodwill has some pretty good deals on dishes and silverware. Buying a couple sets of real dishes will save money in the long run by not constantly buying plastic or paper dishes. Yes, that means you do have to do dishes, but you’ll be saving money! And if you have roommates, you can all pitch in completing chores around your residence.
Try to carpool to and from your hometown as much as possible to save money on gas.
Attend FREE events on campus! A lot of events hand out coupons, free swag, and sometimes even food! Besides getting free stuff, you also have the opportunity to meet people and possibly get involved on campus.
Use coupons! These are published weekly in the local paper and if you live off-campus coupons come in the mail once a week as well. Every so often, The Exponent puts out coupons for restaurants on campus such as Arby’s or McDonald’s.
These are just a small number of ways to save money. Do you have any money-saving tips that have had an impact during college?