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College Life

Financial Suggestions for College Students

Being at college may be your student’s first experience at managing a budget. The most important financial matter is to help your student understand and stick to that budget. Another important consideration is to find ways to make college the least expensive it can be. These tips may help:

  • Choose the best bank or credit union: If your student will set up an account where he or she is attending college, find out what bank or credit union provides the least expensive services.
  • Decide if your student really needs a car on campus: If not, you may be able to cut transportation costs considerably.
  • Choose the best meal plan: Most schools offer a variety of plans, so your student should be able to find one that best fits his or her needs. Remember that you can nearly always save money using a meal plan versus buying meals off campus.
  • Find the best deals on textbooks and supplies: Textbooks are often expensive. If a physical text is required, check out options such as used books or rental books. Compare prices both at campus bookstores and online vendors. It also makes sense to buy supplies such as notebooks, pens and other necessities in bulk. The families of several students may be able to pool their resources to get better deals.
  • Use the free services available on campus: Many schools offer on-campus health services, tutoring services, writing labs and counseling services. In addition, students often can take advantage of free concerts, movies, plays and other entertainment programs.
  • Be careful with credit cards: Overusing credit cards gets many college students into financial difficulties.

With careful planning and an appropriate budget, you and your student can trim hundreds or even thousands of dollars off the cost of going to college.