Even though most college students don’t have a high-paying job yet, they’re expected to spend thousands of dollars a year. Tuition alone is expensive. Add in the cost of dorming, the high price of food, and the mandatory textbooks and class supplies, and it seems impossible for any student to survive. Even though there are some things that they’re forced to pay for, there are always ways to cut the cost. Here are some thrifty ways to save on college gear.
You should never buy your textbooks from the school’s bookstore before you look around for them elsewhere. The majority of the time, your college will ask a higher price for books than most websites will. That’s why you should use websites like BigWords, which asks you to type in the names or the ISBN of the books you need. Once you do, the site will compare textbook stores to find the best deals for you. If you own a Kindle, then you should also check to see if any of the books you’re supposed to be buying are free to download. If they’re public domain, then you don’t have to pay a cent for them. Don’t forget about renting books! Most of the textbooks you’ll use in college you will never touch again once you walk out the door of that class at the end of the semester. Most sites like Amazon and Chegg allow you to rent and then they pay for the return shipping costs. You can also rent many texts on a Kindle.
Overpacking your backpack can cause trouble. Not only will it hurt your back, but it can also damage your bag. Since you don’t want to waste money on items you already have, make sure you take care of your backpacks, calculators, and folders. Reuse what you have. Don’t force yourself to spend more money than you actually need to spend.
Computer programs like Photoshop are expensive. Check with your school to see if they have a computer lab that offers these programs for students to use. Also check to see if your school offers temporary use of electronics to prevent you from forking over big bucks for items you may only use once or twice while you’re in school.
If you’re planning on buying a new computer from the Apple store, make sure you look at their education pricing. There are also clothing stores, movie theaters, and restaurants that have student pricing, so always carry your student ID card, just in case. Many playhouses offer student discounts on production tickets…even after you’ve graduated. They must understand the pressure student debt puts on a pocket book. Keep your student ID for life. It never hurts to pay less.
If you’re going to be living with one or two other people, make sure you discuss what you’re going to be bringing before you actually buy it. If your roommate already has a full-length mirror or a mini fridge the two of you can share, then you don’t need to buy one of your own. If you both bring expensive items you’re willing to share, then you’ll both save some money.
Sometimes, professors will put books on the syllabus that are just supplemental. That’s why you should wait until after the first day of class to buy your books. Most professors will tell you on the first day which books you will really need. Don’t be afraid to ask if the previous edition of your textbook is okay to use in class instead of the newer, more expensive version. You can also ask about students who have taken the class the semester before. Most are willing to sell you their text at a good discount.
In college, you can get away without paying for food on certain days. Joining clubs will not only help you make new friends and gain new experiences, but it will also provide you with free food and sometimes entry into events. Most clubs try to draw in members by advertising there will be free pizza or bagels at the meeting, so take the bait.
Check with student services to see if there are trade sites associated with the college you go to. Students have gotten smart and created Facebook pages to buy, sell, and trade textbooks, electronics, and even clothing. Your college may also have an established trade site to help students cut the cost of supplies. Thankfully second hand is the new fad. You’re on the net anyway, use it to save some cash
Going to college is expensive enough. Save some cash so maybe you won’t come out the other side so deep below the red debt line.
What else have you done in the past to save money on college gear?