Going to college has many less-obvious expenses than tuition, equipment, and accommodation. Without penny-pinching, you may find it challenging to make ends meet. Today, students from California schools graduate with an average of over $20,000 in student debt. They struggle even to afford food and housing. Thus, instilling the habit of saving is essential to survive. With that said, let’s explore the different ways of saving money when going to college in California.
Find An Affordable College
The first rule in saving money while in college is to find a school with affordable fees. College tuition and fees differ based on varied factors, which you need to consider when looking for a university or college in California. Set a budget on how much you can spend annually during your studies, then research the different affordable colleges that fall within it. It is only after completing those steps when you should proceed with your applications.
Look for Cheap Housing
The prices of college housing are affected by different factors. The first dynamic you need to remember when looking for cheap quarters is that location matters. The closer to the campus, the more expensive the rentals because of the high demand for such properties. Set a budget for housing rentals and look in the areas that you could afford.
Next, make a price comparison to give you a list of accommodations that are within your budget. If you opt to tap the help of realty agents, make sure they are familiar with the current student housing trends. You wouldn’t want a substandard living space because you will there mostly when not on campus. However, your housing shouldn’t leave you in a dire financial situation.
Cut Down On Transportation Costs
One of the best ways to cut down on transport costs while studying in California is to drive less. There are several ways to do this, including:
- Riding a Bicycle: Cycling is not only a cheap means of transportation but eco-friendly, too. You can easily find discount insurance that will cover your bicycle’s cost if you ever have an accident. You can also sign up for available bike-sharing programs so you could use a unit for free.
- Car Pooling: By joining a group that takes turns driving each other to various destinations, you’ll cut your expenses on gas and parking by nearly 50 percent.
- Take The Bus: The cost of this transportation is way less than using a car. Colleges usually provide buses to different destinations. Be sure to familiarize yourself with the student bus services as well as the local bus schedules.
- Look for shortcuts: Although cycling and taking public transport are cheaper than driving, there are times they aren’t convenient to do. The solution is to find shortcuts with less traffic to help you save on gas money.
Spend Wisely on Groceries
If you aren’t conscious of your expenditures, a large chunk of your budget will end up on grocery bills. Find ways to save on groceries by choosing where you shop. Big box stores, warehouse clubs, and even dollar shops provide the best bargain. Also, be aware of the latest specials at the supermarket. Figure out how often popular items are on sale. Check out different food brands and their costs, as well as seasonal price changes. Sift through display shelves, aisles, and other sections of the store and check out prices. You should also avoid getting into the habit of impulse buying. They add up quickly and are costly. Take the time to clean out your fridge and pantry to make more storage for leftovers.
Save On Clothing
Many shops in California offer discounts and fashion sales. Be on the lookout for clearance racks at big retailers that offer brand new items at much-reduced prices. Take note that the bigger stores generally offer more generous discounts. Don’t forget to check websites that list upcoming sales to see what items are on a bargain.
Another way to save on buying clothes is by using coupons when purchasing online or in major department stores. However, be sure to use coupons for lower-priced goods since some stores will charge extra for using coupons on more expensive items.
Take Advantage of Online Material
Before you purchase books, flip through the internet to see if you can access the same material from there. Various online platforms offer students a wide variety of reading materials at more affordable prices than book stores. In many cases, reading materials are downloadable. Even if you print downloaded material, it is cheaper than buying hard copies.
Cut Back On The Party Scene
Indulging in college parties can be costly if you aren’t prudent in handling money. Many abruptly-held parties in college could make it difficult for you to control expenses, slowly eroding your savings. The amount of alcohol that you consume while partying can ring up a hefty bill. Thus, carry only the amount that you aim to spend on the drinks. Bringing your card may result in over swiping and losing track of how much you spend, especially when you begin to feel tipsy.
Graduate on Time
Graduating on time keeps you from paying more for schooling-related accommodation and utilities. It also means not paying for subjects that you have to repeat.
Take a look at the different techniques you can practice to make sure that you graduate on time:
- Study Habits: Consistently hitting the books and listening to lectures allows you to accumulate knowledge. You need not cram when examination day approaches.
- Study Methods: Some may rely on textbooks while others lean towards other forms of learning materials, such as instructional videos, software, online resources, or a combination of those mentioned. Students use various approaches when listening to lectures or audiobooks. Some take down notes, whereas others can understand by simply listening. Figure out the ideal method of studying to maximize results.
- Focus: It is easy to get distracted by the activities happening around you–on and off-campus. Be disciplined enough to stick to a schedule.
- Follow Exam Protocol: Make sure to follow all the exam instructions. You may need to register or submit documentation. Follow pre-exam protocols to avoid being disallowed to take the exams.
Knowing the different ways of saving money when going to college in California could help you avoid the financial struggles that many students experience. It may take some effort to get the best deals possible, but if you’re serious about saving money in college, then be mindful of the cost-saving tips.