This is guest post from Jeff Cohen, blogger at TheTextbookGuru.com and CEO of CampusBooks.
There’s no getting around it: college is expensive. But while you may not be able to do anything about tuition costs, there are tried and tested ways to take control of your financial situation without sacrificing the cherished college experience. Here’s how to do it:
It’s easy to save money on textbooks as long as you avoid the campus bookstore. Check with friends to see if anyone has taken the class before you and has the textbook to lend you or exchange. If you can’t borrow, you’re your books through sites like CampusBooks.com, which offer coupons and will compare prices from a range of booksellers to get you the best deals. After the semester ends, sell your used textbooks online and recoup some of your losses using the same sites.
Learn to cook! Ditch the local fast food chain and learn how to prepare your own nutritious food. Healthy doesn’t always have to mean expensive—buy in bulk from warehouse clubs like Costco, go generic, clip coupons, and try your local Farmer’s Market for great bargains. When all else fails, however, ramen noodles are an acceptable, if stereotypical, fallback—it’s hard to beat at less than a dollar a package.
Your student ID card could wind up saving you a bundle on weekend activities. Plenty of museums, movie theatres, restaurants, and bars offer student discounts. For at-home entertainment, your campus library is sure to have DVDs and books for rent that won’t cost a thing if you avoid late fees. Joining on-campus clubs is another great way to get involved with like-minded people and maybe even score a free meal or event ticket.
With gas prices rising, a bike is a far more economical option than a car. You’ll save money on gas and parking, and you can always rely on public transportation or generous friends for further treks. An added bonus: If you’re biking enough, you may even be getting enough exercise to save on gym fees!
5) Get a job!
If you can fit a part time job into your busy class schedule, it can be a great way to rake in some extra income and give you some flexibility within your budget. Check postings in your campus newspaper for library or administrative jobs, or scour Craigslist for businesses looking for college student workers.