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Monday, March 23, 2009

College is expensive

College is expensive. Obviously, we all don't have thousands of dollars to spend each semester just on our college extras. Surviving college on a budget, however, isn't too hard when you know what you need to do. Here are some tips I use back in my days.


Don't buy them. It's as simple as that. There are tons of book swapping sites (such as www.bookmooch.com and www.2swap.com ) which allow you to trade books by mail, for free (plus postage.) If your college textbook is relatively known, there's a good chance you'll be able to find it on one of these sites and trade one of your old books for it.

Another option is the e-book, books you read on your computer. Sites such as Project Gutenberg offer thousands of online textbooks, free of charge.


Make going out to eat with dorm friends a very rare occurrence. Cook in your dorm room if you're allowed. You don't have to eat Ramen and Campbell's all the time; there are plenty of cheap, tasty foods. A pound of ground beef and some buns will last you a while and only cost you a few dollars.

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Don't shop brand name foods, either. The Southern Home Water Flavoring for $0.79 works just as well as Crystal Light for $2.30. College won't cater to your fine dining needs when you're on a budget!


The dollar store is your friend. Really, that pack of 2 pencils for $5 won't help you on the test any more than the 12-pack for the same price. The only exception I can think of to this is binders - I've never had a cheap one last. So, you may splurge a bit on those. But for everything else - shop dollar style!


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Oh, yes. Clothes. The bane of all teenager's existence. You probably won't like this suggestion, but it's worth a shot: thrift stores. Your college education doesn't depend on those $89 jeans, especially when you can get the same pair at Goodwill or Salvation Army for $3. It can seem like a terrible experience before you go, but its truly not that bad. You will survive! And, once you have a full wardrobe for $15, you'll thrive! No one ever has to know where you got that shirt from, either.

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You've got to have fun in college, right? If you're on a budget, you may think it's pretty tough to do. That's not so. If you live in an average sized or larger town, there's probably a cheap $2 theater you can go to. The movies aren't the latest, the building isn't the fanciest, and the food isn't the tastiest. But, if you bring in your own snacks and drinks, you can make it a nice date. For less than $5, any college kid can afford that.

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College life on a budget isn't horrible. It can be just like any other, except you won't be paying student loans just for that laptop in 15 years.

1 comment:

Margaret Elmendorf said...

That is a great to look at saving money while going to college. More kids should do this.