Making College Cost Effective as Possible
College is an expensive proposal in spite of all the financial aid that you may get. So, it is important to budget your expenses. Before zeroing down on your college, take into consideration the educational expenses (tuition, books, computer, program fees, and supplies), the living expenses (housing, food, laundry, phone, Internet, and medical), and other miscellaneous expenses (entertainment, transportation, and clothing). Make a checklist and calculate an estimated expenditure. This figure will, however, vary across colleges, depending on the living expenses in the area concerned.
Possible Expenses Other Than Your Education
The first thought that you have when you think of college expenses is the cost of education. Though this forms a chunk of your college costs, other factors such as the living expenses in a certain part of the country also make a huge difference to your total expenditure. Generally, California and the Northeast are more expensive than the Midwest and South. Though the size of the place in most cases dictates a higher standard of living, sometimes smaller places can also be very expensive. For example, you pay considerably more for a loaf of bread in Stamford, Connecticut, than you pay for the same in Austin, though Stamford is much smaller than Austin. The sales tax of a particular state or city also adds up your expenses when you calculate your total annual expenditure. Again, for example, while Oregon has no state or city sales tax, Chicago students pay a sales tax, which increases the cost of their commodities over the marked price. Things such as public transport, groceries, laundry, and sales tax are possible expenses that unobtrusively increase the money you shell out for your college education. You can get an idea about possible expenses at the following link: FinancialAid.edu
Managing Your Living Expenses on Campus
For most of you college will be your first experience in managing your finances. It would be best to follow the time-tested route. Track your expenses for a period of two weeks, noting down even the smallest amount of money that you spend. Check this list and identify areas where you have spent more money and curtail those costs. Budget your money; include all your income - financial aid, earnings from summer jobs, and the money from your parents. Calculate your expenditure. The simple trick is to keep your expenses lower than your earnings. In all probability you will have a considerable sum of money at the beginning of your term when all your financial aid pours in. Limit yourself to a weekly expense amount and stick to it. Do not fall for the lure of credit cards. If you do want one for the convenience of emergency money, go for a debit card, which allows you to spend only as much as you have in the bank.
How Can You Save On Campus Costs?
You can save money on various accounts right from your tuition and textbooks to your entertainment expenses. Shop for student loans; check with the banks to find out the interest rates charged on loans. Prefer loans that start charging interest after you finish college. There is plenty of financial aid available both from your college and other institutions. Do not think that since you have already taken your admission aid will not be available. To save on text books check out the used book stores. Ask your friends and try to buy second hand books. You can also purchase books from online retail stores that charge considerably less. Just ensure that the book you are buying is the same edition that will be used in class. Also read Determining Your Return on a College Investment for additional information regarding the cost of a college degree versus the improvement in you career financially.
Food expenses can be curtailed considerably by eating healthy, using your meal plan, and eating at self-service places. Try to pick up your groceries when a good deal is offered at some store. Check the newspaper for offer coupons that you can use. Cutting on all entertainment is not possible - so compromise. Rent a movie instead of going to the theater. If you really want to catch a show, look for student discounts or matinee shows so that you save some money. Your campus will also have musical events, cultural performances, and other recreational activities that will not cost you excessively.
Try to use e-mail for communication; if you really need to use a mobile phone quite often, look around for a plan that suits your particular requirements. Open an account at the bank that offers ATM facilities on campus to save on ATM charges. Register for campus medical facilities. Last but not least, put away a few dollars each week. This will work wonders in saving for the proverbial rainy day!
Take Advantage of Discounted Services on Campus
Your campus in all probability will have 'meal plans', either on credit or debit, where you can have a certain number of meals in the dining room. Take advantage of this, as you will be paying less. For tuition books, look on campus, as other students might be trying to sell off books that they do not need any more. Public libraries often have a stock of textbooks that you can borrow. There are many online sites such as Chegg.com from which you can buy, borrow or lend books at a lower price. Some campuses also have free tutoring programs, for which you have to register. Online tutoring, with whiteboard and voice technology, has made things easy for students seeking free tuition.
Financial Assistance to Save On Tuition
Though college education has become increasingly expensive, the options for financial aid have also broadened. Most college scholarships and grants are available on a first-come, first-serve basis and are merit-based or need-based. This is free money, which you do not have to pay back. Do a thorough search at Collegeview.com to find out about college scholarships.
To get more information on how to stretch your dollar, check the following sites: