The fall semester is about new beginnings and facing new challenges. Being a college student isn’t easy, and what makes it harder is the budgeting some of us have to do just to get by. We need to buy books, supplies, dorm necessities, food and still have some spending money left. Fortunately, there are many tactics and habits students can develop to budget their money and save dollar by dollar.
Textbooks can be the most expensive items on the list. Books are usually needed for each class, and the money you pay for these adds up semester after semester. There are many ways you can save money and prevent hassle when it comes to ordering your books now and for semesters to come. Check out what the bookstore has to offer; they have options to buy the books new and used, and the used ones can be significantly cheaper than the new. Also, the bookstore lets you rent out some of your textbooks, so you don’t need to worry about paying for a book you’re never going to use again after finals. If you decide to buy your books from the bookstore, one perk is being able to sell them back at the end of the semester to get some of your money back.
If the bookstore is too pricey, it’s best to check out buying your books online. There are many websites that sell new and used textbooks with price options. Websites like eBay, Amazon and half.com all have price ranges for their textbooks depending on their conditions. There are also many people who sell the same books and give a lower asking price.
Junior Sarah Prizzi has a hidden gem that she uses to buy her books.
“I use a website, Dealoz.com, that compares prices from every website for buying and renting books,” she says. “It tells you which website has the best price, including shipping.”
Besides textbooks, students need school supplies. Checking out the local Staples or Office Depot would be the best for supplies, especially since you can usually buy what you need in bulk, making your purchase cheaper. Junior Phil Sokoloff has his own approach to school supplies.
“I reuse the same things until they run out, like my notebooks and pens, so I don’t spend money on buying new ones each semester,” he said.
But when your books and supplies are all taken care of, you still need to spend money for things to fill your dorm or apartment. If you’re looking for dÃ©cor, you can find a lot of affordable and fun things at a thrift shop or flea market. If you need extra bedding and dorm supplies, then a big box store like Target or Walmart will usually offer the best prices. To really save some cash, the answer is coupons. Coupons, which can become an obsession, save people a lot of money. Stores send out coupons in the mail or online everyday, and if you use them right, your prices can drop big time. Even 5 percent or $1 off saves you money. If you need to run to the store for food or order something online, search the web for a coupon first and collect as many as you can.
All in all, remember to keep track of how much you are spending. Give yourself a spending limit so you never go over budget and can save up for anything you may need in the future. It’s best to develop these habits early and to stick with them. The more you save, the more you get.