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Preparing for Unexpected College Expenses

College is already stressful – workload, course load, homework and projects, club meetings and events without adding financial troubles to the mix. However, properly preparing for unexpected college expenses can help minimize stress.

There are plenty of places where students can go to get help managing money, applying for financial aid, and getting familiar with what to expect from college, including the Federal Student Aid.

Textbooks on a Dime

Text books are expensive, especially given many students don’t keep them past a year. A great way to keep costs low is to buy used texts as often as possible. There are plenty of online resources to ensure you get quality used books for a low price while others rent textbooks for the quarter, such as Chegg.com or Amazon.

Don’t purchase your books right away, either. Wait until you have a syllabus and know you will be staying in the class. Buying them before the first day can be costly if students drop the class for one reason or another. Fall quarter syllabus created in the summer can also change before the quarter starts up.

Digital text books can be rented or purchased and are often much cheaper, too. Plus instead of weighty books, they’re as light as the device they’re saved on.

Balanced Budgets

Budgets are the hardest part to stick to. Saving even 10 percent of your income from jobs or student aid can greatly increase your ability to cover unexpected costs.

Monitor your spending. Instead of springing for cable or daily lattes, go for Netflix and a coffee maker. There are ways college students can sway out spending for lower-cost options all over the place. Food costs can be cut by pooling food money and buying in bulk. Housing can be less expensive the farther from the campus students live, though, get too far out and you may need a car (negating some savings).

Credit cards can be a dangerous slope, as minimum payments are never enough and costs rack up quickly. It’s good to have an emergency credit card, but its easy to overspend via credit cards.

Having a car can be really fun, but aren’t the most cost-effective possession for a young college student. However, if you really want one to have cool road trips in or to haul your college gear, check out local DMV locations to get your in-state license if you don’t already have one.

Student Discounts

Many places offer student discounts when you show your student ID. Anything from insurance to food, clothing to services, and more. Organizations have already compiled comprehensive lists of places with student discounts, so all you may have to find is where businesses are located. When you’re at the register, just ask if they have a student discount and hopefully you’ll be able to save a couple bucks.

Amazon Prime even has a discounted version for students. Prime Student is a six-month free trial of all Prime services. After the initial trial ends, eligible students get a 50-percent saving off Amazon Prime for four years.

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