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Four Tips For Stretching Your Student Loan Dollars

As if the tuition wasn’t enough, you soon discover all of the associated expenses for college: room and board, books, fees for sports and labs, your computer, your cell phone bill, transportation costs, etc. Now, the good news is that when you take out a student loan, you can use those dollars for any education-related expenses, including all of the above. It’s still in your best interest to find savings on college expenses wherever you can so that your student loan can work its hardest for you. After all, anything not covered by federal loans, private student loans, grants, and scholarships will be up to you.

Here are some easy ways to save on college expenses:

1. Buy used and electronic books or share books with classmates

This is probably the most well-known tip for saving money while in school. There are certainly times when buying a new edition makes sense. But you can also find huge savings if you purchase a used copy or split the cost by sharing a book with a fellow student. Your bookstore will sell used books, but you can find them even cheaper if you buy from students who’ve previously taken the course. Sharing books works best if you have back-to-back classes and can easily hand the book off; have complimentary study habits and you trust each other.

You can also find discounts by buying electronic books. If you carry a tablet, e-reader or laptop, this can be a great option for you. Electronic books aren’t always cheaper, but in some cases, they cost significantly less than printed editions.

2. Look for student discount programs

While you can generally find a variety of savings opportunities on textbooks more so than any other expenses for college, you can also look for discounts at shops and restaurants around campus. Some college towns and cities have a big emphasis on attracting students to stay after graduation. So, they rally local business owners to offer discounts to college students. It’s worth asking around or visiting the city’s website to see if such a program exists. It could mean saving money on food, clothes, entertainment and more.

3. Buy supplies in bulk – and not at the bookstore!

Finally, stock up on pens, binders, paper, notebooks, highlighters and other supplies before you hit campus. The bookstore tends to have a substantial mark-up on those items since they don’t deal in the volume that big box stores, office supply stores and online retailers do.

4. Consider off-campus housing

College expenses like living in the dorms and paying for meal plans can add up quickly. One possible way to save on costs is to look for off-campus housing. You may find that the costs of renting an apartment or house with friends are less than the costs associated with living in the dorms. In addition, you may be able to save on food expenses by shopping for your own groceries and cooking your own meals. Talk to upperclassmen who live off-campus to find out what their monthly expenses are and compare that to the monthly costs of living in a dorm and having a meal plan.

Keep your eyes peeled for other cost savings

You can find other ways to save on college expenses by splitting costs for food and utilities with roommates, for example. Or, carpool to campus, into the city or to the airport to save on gas. While the savings realized may not always be as substantial as they are on textbooks, every little bit helps.

Sponsored content was created and provided by RBS Citizens Financial Group.

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2 Responses to “Four Tips For Stretching Your Student Loan Dollars”

  1. Sani says:

    Great article! I couldn’t have put it better myself! =)

  2. Steven says:

    If you want your money to last, it is also important to stick to the essentials. Needs should be prioritized over wants.


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