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| Education and Financial

08/24/13

Money Matters: College Doesn't Have To Be A Financial Drain

The purpose of college is to further your education, graduate and get a high-paying job -- so that you can start paying back your college loans. But before you get to those loan payments, you have to survive the financial strain that is actually going to college.
From textbooks to food, lodging and long-winded professors, the experience can be stressful and tedious, obviously with a larger light at the end of the tunnel looming. In the meantime, before those job applications begin to flow, how can students save a few bucks in college without having to perpetuate that "poor college student" stereotype?
One of the biggest financial drains within the confines of any university or college is textbooks. This round-and-round endeavor makes little or no sense when you truly stop to break down the book-buying process at the campus bookstore. You spend hundreds of dollars on books you'll use for a couple months, and whether you buy them new or used, they're still horribly overpriced. The real bigger pill to swallow comes when you attempt to sell them back to that friendly, campus bookstore. The $99 you just spent on a French textbooks you'll never use again after this semester nets you about 75% less than what you paid for it when you sell it back.
Spend hundreds, get back a few bucks. That exercise in futility could make four years seem like a lifetime sentence in college, thus web site such as BookRenter.com and CampusBookRenter.com are a more realistic option. You don't buy textbooks but rather, as the names suggest, rent them for a period of time for much less than it costs to buy.
This option more than assures that the aforementioned, friendly campus bookstore might not so happy-go-lucky anymore. In addition to saving serious cash on textbooks, college students have a few more solid option to choose from like how they spend their money on food and the best place to spend their free time when they're not hitting the books.

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As for a job, students may want to consider actually working for the school; that approach often leads to a discount off tuition. The position of resident adviser comes to mind but that doesn't mean you couldn't sneak your way into an office position, even if it is as a volunteer. Working for free now means savings money later.
Students also can save plenty by selecting the best college meal plan and curbing the eating out. Those cheap pizzas add up in cost and buying your own food and cooking in your dorm is the better bet. And as for that dorm, don't waste money on buying furniture. Much like textbooks, web sites like Loft Concepts allow you to rent first; there's also nothing wrong with living off campus and harboring a slew of roommates, too.
From bunking with a buddy to politely bowing out of buying food in a restaurant, options to save a few bucks are endless because your budget certainly is not.

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