It’s that time of year again…
School shopping, new class schedules, paying tuition, and hating how much a text book can cost.
For the first time in 15 years, the coming of fall is not bringing along the start of a new school year in my life. Anyone who knows me can attest that I am all about a good bargain, and back to school shopping is no exception! So, it’s only fair that my tips and tricks of saving money this school year don’t go to waste. 😉
Here are 17 tips to going back to school without going broke:
1. Craigslist, Amazon, and discount bookstores are your best friend when it comes to buying text books. My freshmen year, I got a $90 Chemistry book for $10 off Craigslist. The dude even gave me a practice book and answer key to go with it.
2. In some classes, you can get away with sharing a book if you have a friend in the same class.
3. Ask friends about their old books! I have had friends loan and sell me books. Us students are all in this together- help each other out!
4. Do research on the changes made between different book editions. Sometimes, there are only some alternate pictures, or a different layout between one edition and the next. Older books sell for a fraction of the price of the latest edition.
5. E-books. While I struggle not having a tangible, paper bound book, they are way convenient and can be purchased for a shorter duration at a cheaper price.
6. New school wardrobe? Check out thrift stores and consignment shops. (so many people have the misconception that choosing second hand clothing means foregoing quality- but not if it’s done RIGHT.)
7. Hit the Dollar Store! One of my best finds last semester was the dollar store’s office supply section. A pack of 500 flash cards for $1.. need i say more?
9. If you are buying school supplies, spend the extra money for quality items that will last. I can’t tell you how many times I have bought the cheaper binder, only to replace it a month later. Spending the extra money upfront will save you in the long run.
10. WAIT! When your professor goes over the syllabus the first day of school, they will surely go over what they expect you to have in their class. Sometimes they recommend specific items to help be successful in their course. So be patient and wait to find out what you will really need.
11. Spending money everyday on campus adds up. Packing a lunch not only saves you money, but keeps you healthier. If you haven’t already, invest in a lunchbox!
12. And a portable water bottle.
13. And a to-go coffee mug.
15. If you’re moving into a dorm, don’t go over board buying things in preparation. If anything, buy the bare essentials before your move in day. Once you are in your room you will have a better idea of the space you have to work with, what your roommates already have, and what you truly need.
16. When you buy a parking pass, you are paying a high price for convenience. In retrospect, I would have saved the cash, went without the pass, and walked one extra block to campus.
17. Get SERIOUS about school. If you are a millennial, who went straight to college after high school, paying for college is your biggest investment thus far, and I would argue it is one of the most important investments you will make in your life. Don’t take that lightly. It is so easy to lose momentum half way through the semester, only to end up with a grade you didn’t want and you’re left having to retake it (been there, done that.) Treat school like your job. Not only is there a financial investment, but you are spending time, energy, and stress taking these classes. Buckle down, focus, and do what you gotta do to be successful.
What are your back to school budget tips? We would love to hear from you!