Updated: 07/25/2017 with tips for how we've saved on our son's upcoming Freshman year of college!
Given all of the expenses that occur while at college, it may seem like there is little to save. However, it's not impossible for students to save money while studying. Saving on college expenses happens before students even step foot into their first class. Encouraging students to save while they are there does too.
If you are one of those who are thinking of ways to save money while on campus or even before you get an acceptance, here are some of the things that can help.
Seek out Schools with Lower Tuition Fees
When I re-entered college several years ago, I was paying for tuition on my own dime and didn't want to consider financial aid. Lucky for us, I live near a satellite campus of a public school that has the lowest tuition rates in the state. Score one for me!
You can also apply for a scholarship before hand or get a job within the university so you will get full or partial tuition fee discount. To save on tuition fee, you can also apply for grants that are related to your major since these will be financial need and merit based.
Utilize School Transportation
Most schools won't allow incoming freshman to have a car on campus. So, what's a student to do? Use public transportation or walk! Many universities have a transportation system on campus shuttles–that can transfer you from one building to another or even and local buses to take you out of the campus. If you don't bring a car, you can save lots of money on gas.
Also, if your student doesn't take their car and lives more than 60 miles from home, call your insurance agent. You can save on car insurance costs if they won't be driving while at school!
Save on Housing Expenses
The most obvious one is living at home while you attend school. I did this when I attended college and it wasn't all that bad. As a matter of fact, I'm going to encourage our boys to consider this if they go to a local school. Free room and board can't be beat!
If you are living on campus, consider taking a job as a resident assistant to reduce your housing cost. File an application to be a resident assistant before hand. If you can't get a slot for RA position, you could always room with a friend. Getting several roomies will obviously help you save even more since the rent is split multiple ways.
Practice Simple Living
Don't eat fancy dinners, don't hit as many clubs, limit your shopping sprees. You get the idea. Also, take note of some frugal ways to decorate your dorm room and see how simplicity can be your friend.
Practice Frugality in College
Get a part-time job if your course load allows for it. Create a budget and stick with it so you're now blowing through your paycheck with nothing to show for it. Is that glamourous? No, but neither is living beyond your means and paying for it when you're 30!