5 savings tips from a starving student
A new college school year is right around the corner, and so are new tuition hikes and budget cutbacks.
This post comes from Gideon Grudo at partner site Money Talks News.
A new school year begins next month at the nation's 4,400 colleges and universities, following a brutal summer of budget cuts and tuition hikes.
Last month, CNN reported that state universities in 25 states were facing budget cuts of $5 billion. Meanwhile, tuition is rising everywhere -- 7.5% at Pennsylvania's 14 state schools, 7.6% at tiny Kansas City Kansas Community College, and a whopping 18% in the University of California system.(How much should you be saving for college?)
For a little twist of the knife, USA Today reported last week that college presidents in several states -- California, Georgia and Kentucky -- are getting raises. "While the budget situation in most states hasn't changed," the paper reports, "administrators at some institutions say the market requires that they start paying presidents more."
At my state university, tuition is up 15%, or a little more than $400 a year. Here's what I'm doing to try to offset the hike. As you read these tips, note that many will work for anyone, student or otherwise.
When we do go out, we read our student newspaper -- not for the articles but for the ads from bars offering incredible deals on "college nights." And, of course, the word will spread like wildfire through Twitter and Facebook. Bottom line: If you aren't drinking at two-for-one prices, stay home.
Start smart. When I was looking for a college, comparing costs was almost impossible. Each school seemed to have its own way of breaking down the numbers. While it's too late for me (I'm a year from graduating), the government recently launched a new website called the College Affordability and Transparency Center, which shows you the least expensive universities in the country. All you need to do is type in what you're looking for: a two-year school? Private? Public? The site does the rest and returns objective, fact-laden info. Another site to try is The College Board's QuickFinder, which compares up to three colleges at a time. Post continues after video.
Eat right and cheap. My campus cafeteria has all the fast-food options: burgers, chicken, subs, tacos. But my friends and I stay away from it as much as possible. Not only is it unhealthy, it's really not that cheap anymore -- certainly not as cheap as doing the cooking ourselves. Indiana University came up with a great guide for college cooking (.pdf file), and USA Today published tips from a vegetarian student about what she does to stay full and healthy. Thankfully, our newer dorms and apartments have nice kitchens, which makes cooking much easier -- something to look for when you check out colleges.
On my campus, we have an amazing movie theater that shows some current and foreign flicks for cheaper than the local multiplex if you have a student ID. And we have a theater department with a black-box theater and a music department that puts on classical music concerts. Now, that's not the kind of entertainment college kids prefer, but it makes for interesting and cheap college dating, especially if you want to be cultured and not seem cheap.
More on Money Talks News and MSN Money:
Typical kid mentality
worrying about partying, movies, and fashion.
Here's an idea, how about focusing solely on the reason why you're there in the first place, your education and studies.
"Bottom line: If you aren't drinking at two-for-one prices, stay home"
How about this for a bottom line, stay home and study, instead of going out binge drinking and sleeping through your finals the next day.
#1 student savings tip: Get your priorities in order, and focus on your education and studies.
After you graduate, then take a big vacation and party your **** off.
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