photo credit: Sean
The following is a guest post by Anthony Garcia.
If you’re attending a college or university, you’re acutely aware of the price of education. Every year the cost of tuition seems to grow, pricing some aspiring professionals out of the market. Even worse, these essential expenditures literally make some students broke. Yet in order remain competitive in today’s job market, it has become increasingly clear that you have to attend a graduate program in order to get a better paying job. As a result, you are forced to stay in college longer and rack up even more debt. Luckily there are a few things you can do to make your time in school a little less costly.
Save on Housing
A big portion of your expenses comes from food and housing. In most cases you’ll discover you can save money by renting a room rather than live on campus in a dormitory. By scanning some of the want ads online or your own campus housing directory, you’ll be able to compare prices for rooms and apartments. Oftentimes you will discover that a landlord will include utilities, allowing you to pay a set fee for rent. Another way you can save is by sharing an apartment or home with one or more of your fellow students. It isn’t uncommon to find five students living under one roof.
By cooking the majority of your meals at home and not going out frequently, you can save quite a bit of extra money. Whether this means you have to leave campus right after class is up to you, but there is no question by purchasing the bulk of your food in a grocery store (or even a big box store like Costco) you’ll save a substantial amount of money. Another area of savings could be in what you drink and how much you drink. By simply reducing your consumption of alcohol or caffeinated energy drinks each week, you can save quite a bit of money, and you’ll do your health a favor as well.
Save on Wheels
If it’s available, using public transportation to travel to and from school will save you money on parking fees, gas, and other expenditures related to driving your own vehicle. Some universities charge exorbitant amounts for parking passes for the academic year, so by taking a public bus you can avoid some ridiculous fees imposed upon the starving student. Public transportation might be included in your tuition so if you’re already paying for it, it’s worth taking advantage of the service.
Save on Textbooks and Printing
What’s also trending in today’s digital world is the ever-growing number of textbooks available for download online and the enormous popularity of tablet computers such as the iPad. If you own a computer (as a student it’s practically indispensable) you can save from about 30 to 50 percent off the retail cost of a college textbook by using a digital version instead. Companies such as Kno and Amazon.com feature a wide array of college textbooks.
Another related expenditure is your inkjet printer. The printer itself isn’t much of a burden but the pricey printer ink eats up sizable chunks of cash. One solution is to purchase your printer ink online where you might save 50 percent or more of the retail cost of new cartridges. Another option is using a printer ink refill kit, which are available at some office products stores.
Entertainment on the Cheap
Lastly you can save enormous amounts of money simply by staying home more often. Costs to see a movie these days are bordering on the outrageous and restaurants and bars can eat up a sizable portion of your cash in no time. If you want to watch movies, you can use an online DVD rental company like Netflix or Blockbuster and invite some of your friends, pop up some popcorn, and enjoy the movie in the comfort of your home.
As you can see, there are several ways you can save money while attending graduate school. As noted previously, those students who earn graduate degrees do get the better jobs upon graduation. So if you can make a little easier by saving some money in housing, food, and other areas, your experience in grad school might be that much more rewarding.
Anthony recently completed his graduate education in English Literature. A New Mexico native, he currently resides and writes in Seattle, Washington. He writes primarily about education, travel, literature, and American culture.