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Archive for September, 2009

Saving money while going to University

Posted by martinharford on September 4, 2009

Saving money while you are in school can be very difficult, not only can it be very tempting to spend money while socializing with your friends you are also limited in your choices of employment due to your class schedule.

Many students try to save money by buying the no-name brand of this, or taking the bus instead of their car which can save money in the long run but may take much more time then the money saved. Rather then penny pinching with things that may not necessarily be worth it I’d suggest first starting by looking at your major expenses.

Housing:

Many people often start university by living in the on campus residence. This is great for getting a few friends when you are new to the university. But if you are looking to save the most money living in an apartment with several roommates can be a substantial savings versus in a one bedroom or even a bachelor apartment. In my experience sharing an apartment is often cheaper then residence especially when you factor in the over priced meal plans that are often offered with it.

Food:

Try not too eat out too often, unfortunately while going to school it’s very tempting to eat out all the time. The pull of sharing a slice of pizza or a bagel and an coffee with your friends between classes can be hard to deny. Over time that $4 slice of pizza, the $2 coffee and the $7 fast food lunch can add to over a hundred dollars a week.

Believe it or not healthy food (such as fresh produce) is often less expensive then deep fried fast food. Keeping to a simple routine of cereal for breakfast, a sandwich for lunch and pasta for dinner with fruits and vegetables mixed in can help save not only your health and your money.

Tuition:

If you are really strapped for cash this is a great place to start with by choosing a low cost university or college in a low cost city. However, doing so may reduce your options after you graduate since your location and school can make a difference when it comes to post graduate employment.

Unfortunately, once you have started going to a particular school you do not really have the opportunity to chance the price. Unless you are fortunate enough to go to a school that you can haggle the price of tuition your are stuck with what they are charging. But, one thing that you can do to help off set the price of school is to apply for scholarships and bursaries.

One thing I found particularly interesting while going to school what how many scholarships and bursaries that I could apply for. With the best intentions I would pick up the applications for them and plan on applying for them. However, inevitably the due date (which is often near the start of the term) would come an go without me applying for even one.

I regret this since so few people actually apply for them and by just applying for them I could have easily received thousands of dollars in funding.

Books:

A simple one, but sometimes over looked. My first bit of advice, do not buy new books from the campus bookstore. If you really want to buy your books new I would suggest buying your books from an online books store (ie Amazon.com). Often you can find prices there at leas 20% lower then the campus bookstore.

For more savings you can buy your books used. Often most campuses have somewhere that you can buy other people’s used books. Better yet buy the previous edition of the book for your class for really big savings. If you are worried about using an old edition just ask your professor who will often be able to tell you if it will be a problem (it probably won’t).

And don’t forget to sell your own used books. It’s highly unlikely you will ever use them again and will just end up moving them around with you for decades after you graduate from school.

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