Expendable Expenses at College
Tuition is high enough as it is, so why not cut back on unnecessary living expenses? Here are ten things you don’t really need while staying in a dorm.
1. A Credit Card
Establishing good credit is important for a young person, but you don’t really need to add on the debt while living at college. On average, a college freshman with a credit card amassed $2000 in debt, reports Kiplinger. Instead, get a debit card that won’t let you spend money you don’t have.
2. High Bank Fees
It can cost about $5 every time you withdraw money from an out-of-network ATM. Consider opening a bank account with branches near campus or an online checking account that doesn’t charge ATM fees or refunds ATM surcharges from other banks.
3. Redundant Health Insurance
If you’re on family health coverage, you don’t need to buy additional campus health coverage. It’s wise to do some comparative shopping, but watch out for low coverage maximums and high co-pay fees. Staying on your parent’s insurance may mean extra paperwork to prove that a young adult is a full-time student, but in many cases it’s worth it.
4. Cable TV
Not only is cable TV an unnecessary expense, but it’s also fodder for procrastination. Look to see if there are campus viewing events for your favorite shows or try a cheaper online service, like Nexflix.
5. New Textbooks
There are tons of cheaper textbook options: eCampus.com, bookrenter.com, chegg.com and even textbookrevolt.com. So skip the new book and look for a used text or textbook rental.
6. An Expensive Phone Plan
Yes, a cell phone is next to necessity at college, but a smart phone is a high fixed cost that’s needless. Most campuses have wifi in every student space, so the added web access is redundant. Plus, there are lots of cheap phone plans. We love Skype, which is free from computer to computer.
7. A Printer
While it is convenient to print right in your room, getting a flash drive and few dollars to spend at the campus printing center will save money on paper and ink cartridges in the long run. Many schools don’t even charge for a certain number of copies per semester.
8. Expensive Kitchen Equipment
Someone microwaves their burrito wrapped in tinfoil. Your roommate melts the tea kettle by forgetting that the burner is still on. The George Foreman grill sits in the sink full of dishes slowly corroding. Things always go wrong in communal kitchens, an usually the culprits don’t take responsibility. Not only do you not really need fancy kitchen appliances (you’re only living there for nine months at a time), but the likelihood that these things will be broken is high.
9. Overdraft Protection
Everyone has the ability to opt out of overdraft protection. Skip overdraft protection, and the back will either deny you to withdraw funds you don’t actually have or ask if you want to pay a $35 dollar penalty to proceed. This will be a major motivation to budget carefully. Plus, you can always reverse the choice later.
10. Private Loans
Federal loans have fixed rates, but private student loans have variable rates (meaning they can go up) and fewer payment options. Instead, make sure you’ve thoroughly researched all you scholarship options. We have many options in our Scholarship Directory.
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