College Advice Blog

Dec 3, 2012

Surviving College Without Breaking the Bank

While the whole experience of going to college ought to be productive, inspiring, and fun, the last thing you want it to be is financially draining (both during your college years and after your graduate). There are lots of ways to survive and thrive in college without overdrawing your ATM account or breaking your parents’ bank account.

Eat the Campus Food
Forego that ride with your friends to the local fast food joint and, instead, fill up on the food that you have already paid for in the school cafeteria. While you may not like everything they have to offer during every meal, there will certainly be plenty of fruits, vegetables, sandwiches, cereals, breads, and salads from which to choose. Don’t pick up the tab for the weekend delivery of the pizzas and don’t buy junk out of the vending machines. All of that money that you save will create an impressive little nest egg for yourself by the time you graduate. Yes, it’s hard to do, but your figure, your health, and your pocketbook will be rewarded.

Get a Part-time Job
To give you extra “insurance” and security that you won’t break the bank, earn some money to put back in it. Secure a job at the college’s snack bar or tutoring lab. Or, if you want to venture just off campus, you can put flyers out letting the area residents know you are a local college student who can babysit, walk dogs or watch/sit houses. (Remember, people entrusting their loved ones and their homes to you don’t want to come back home to see a party or find photos of their home on some social media page.) The connections and relationships you build will be great character and professional references for you later on.

Rent Online Textbooks 
Whenever you can, rent your textbooks online instead of buying them at the bookstore (and then you don’t have to worry about lugging them around or misplacing them.) In the long run, you are not only saving yourself a ton of money by embracing this 21st century alternative to buying physical textbooks, but also saving tons of trees, birds, and wildlife. The moment you walk out of that bookstore with that book under your arm, it loses value. When you rent an online textbook, you are only paying for it during the semester or quarter you actually need it

Go to Campus Movies
Instead of paying that outrageous amount to go to the local movie theatre (not to mention the $20 box of popcorn and pop combo you’ll want), head to the free movies shown right on campus. You’ll meet more people, you’ll have more fun, and you won’t spend nearly as much for the microwave popcorn you can bring to share. Besides, you’re not really going for the flick anyway – it’s the bonding and laughter with your new and old friends that matters most.

About the Author
Max Miller is a writer on a variety of topics, including education. He enjoyed all that campus life had to offer at the University of Arizona without being pummeled by debt upon graduation by renting online textbooks and finding the best deals on campus for food and entertainment.

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