10 Ways to Save Money for Your First Year at College

Living and academic expenses during your first year in college can add up to a serious amount. If you want to make it through without declaring bankruptcy, you’ll need to do a bit of preliminary thinking and you’ll also have to look into money saving opportunities.

There are several ways in which you can save money for your first year at college. Here are the top 10 possibilities.

Community Colleges and Transfer Programs

To make education less expensive, you may want to get started with a community college education that features a transfer possibility. A local community college will have much lower academic fees, which will enable you to save money for a more prestigious university after your second or third year.

Search for Scholarships and Grants

To save some money for your education, you may want to look for scholarships and grant opportunities. These can reduce the cost of education significantly. There’s a lot of online information about the possibilities, as well as about the qualification requirements. There could be new programs and incentives appearing, so check relevant websites every couple of months.

Federal Work-Study Programs

The federal government has wonderful work-study programs that are available in many colleges. Since the government subsidizes some of the money earned by students through such programs, many universities have a range of work-study positions available. The money earned can be used for tuition, text book expenses, living expenses or even for recreation.

Buy Used Textbooks

Buying textbooks can add up to a serious amount during your first year of study. To save some money, you should buy textbooks in the last possible moment and opt for used textbooks.

There are many books that will be recommended for a particular class but that wouldn’t be strictly required by the professor. Get this information before making a purchase. Buying used textbooks will also make you capable of accessing all of the essential academic materials at a fraction of the cost.

Choose the Classes that Don’t Feature Additional Fees

A course like photography, for example, will necessitate the purchase of additional materials that will make it expensive. The same rule applies to various art and science classes. Look for the required materials and figure out whether the university will be providing those before signing up for a course (even if it appears to be very exciting and fun).

Food Budget

Think about the most essential expenses and prioritize those. Buying food during your first year in college may add up to a large sum. Your parents can help you come up with a reasonable food budget. Stick to it! Going out every night will be a bad idea. Learn how to cook a few basic meals and you’ll bring down your food expenses significantly.

If Possible, Live at Home

Though it’s not always a possibility, getting to live at home during your first college year is a great option for saving some money that you could invest in your education later on. Talk to your parents about the possibility and make sure that you wouldn’t be missing on campus activities by living at home.

Plan to Rent Appliances

Every college student needs a couple of basic appliances. These will be essential, whether you have a dorm room or you decide to rent an apartment. If you want to save some money during your first year, you may want to consider renting those appliances instead of buying them.

Figure out whether the particular college has an appliance rental program. These programs usually feature low-cost options for the qualifying students. Even if the university doesn’t enable appliance renting, you can find companies that give college students such opportunities.

Look for Academic-Priced Software Products

You’ll certainly need your computer during the first year of being a college student but did you know that some companies like Microsoft have academic-priced software opportunities? It’s possible to reduce the computing costs by looking for such options. Many of these solutions (like Microsoft Office) are cloud-based and they’re available on a subscription basis. You don’t have to spend a large sum in advance, you’ll have to make manageable monthly payments.

Use the University Facilities to the Fullest

Familiarize yourself with the available college facilities and make full use of those. Knowing what you’re entitled to as a student can be a great option for saving some money during your first year.

Students are often given access to swimming pools, modern gyms, labs, computer centers and other recreational facilities. Using those can save you money on studying, staying in good shape and having fun. The use of the college campus is included in your tuition fee, so learn more about the available possibilities and try the ones that you’re interested in.

Kristy Feldman

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