How College Students Can Save Money

From rent and textbooks to food and transportation, we know tuition isn't the only cost college students incur. Check out our survey of what the average student spends per year and get tips for where you can save.
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How College Students Can Save Money Tuition isn't the only cost college students incur. To avoid struggling, follow these money-saving tips. A 21st century insurance survey of about 100 students aged 18-25 found that 92% feel saving more money in college is a priority. Rent The average estimated 2011-2012 budget for on-campus room and board at a four year, in-state college was $8,887. 75% of students live off-campus AND 26% of them pay more than $600 a month for rent. Tips for Saving Try to negotiate. If an apartment is $500 a month, and a comparable one is $400, offer $450. Get a roommate to share the cost. Screen potential roommates and arrange to split bills fairly. Check out semi-furnished apartments near campus. If monthly rent + utilities is 25% less than on-campus costs, it can be worth it. Food In 2011, the average student spent $765 eating off-campus. When asked what they do most often for food: 51% order takeout 20% go out to eat 20% eat at dining halls 9% buy groceries Tips for Saving Clips Coupons Only clip the ones you need to avoid extra spending. Cook large meals and eat leftovers during the week. This could save you hundred of dollars a month. Ask friends to pitch in for groceries and make a meal for the group. You can also learn how to cook this way. Textbooks The average estimated 2011-2012 on-campus student budget for books and supplies at a four-year, in-state college was $1,168. When Asked Where They Buy Textbooks: 46% get most of their textbooks from online retailers like Amazon and eBay. 36% get most of their textbooks from the campus bookstore. 11% rent their textbooks. 7% get their textbooks from miscellaneous bookstores, or from friends. Tips for Saving Don't buy new books at the college bookstore. Buy used books instead. Sell your books back once the semester ends. You'll make back some of your money, and someone else can buy used, too. Check for E-book versions. Amazon and Chegg offer textbooks and e-book rentals. Transportation The average estimated 2011-2012 transportation budget for on-campus students at a four-year, in-state college was $1,082. When asked how they get to class most often: 37% said by car. Tips For Saving Find an insurer that offers a discount for good grades. Check whether you can stay on your parents' policy for a discounted rate. Look for Zipcar access; cars are often located right on campus. Entertainment College football season tickets can cost about $150. When Asked How Much They Spend On Entertainment: 47% spend $0 - $25 a week. 26% spend $25 - $50 a week. 12% spend $50 - $75 a week. 15% spend $75 or more a week. Tips For Saving Go to free campus events. Look for specials at local bars. Don't buy bundled football tickets unless you plan to go to most of the games. Look for festivals, lectures, plays, etc. Bring cash to avoid spending more than you budget for.