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Categorized | Paying For College

Swap Clothes, Cancel TV, Rent Textbooks & Head to College

College isn’t just about classes and credits—it’s also the time you gain independence and learn how to do “real-life” stuff, like budgeting your time and money wisely. Sure, the old advice about making simple changes in your spending habits (“Give up expensive coffee drinks!” “Only shop for clothes on sale!”) still holds true, but there are a number of money-saving tricks and tips out there online that can help you keep your money in your wallet.

Drop Cable and Satellite Services

Although most college-age students were raised in a time when TV was king, a surprising number have decided they can live without paying for expensive cable or satellite TV packages. For most of these students, it’s not that they are giving up watching their favorite programs. Instead, according to Forbes, many of your peers are now watching their favorite shows on their computers via the Internet. Basic cable packages start at about $30 a month, whereas streaming giants Netflix and Hulu Plus are only $7.99 a month.

Of course, not every type of programming is available online. Fortunately, most of the ones that aren’t available are also ones that are typically more fun when watched with your buddies. For example, you probably will be able to easily find viewing parties for such fare as the Super Bowl or the Bachelorette finale.

Photo by Flickr user Mediocre2010

Rent Textbooks

Don’t buy your textbooks outright unless you absolutely have to. Instead, rent them through websites such as Chegg, or buy them used. According to The Digital Universe, you will save an average of about $55 per book when you rent textbooks and return them in good shape rather than purchasing them new. Most colleges also offer services for the buying and selling of used books.

You should also check to see whether or not the textbooks you need are available digitally. Those that are typically cost quite a bit less. In addition, post textbooks you want to sell on Facebook, so you can cut out the middleman.

Work With Your Car Insurance Agent

Sometimes you can save a substantial amount off your auto insurance policy if you just request discounts for things you may already be doing. Look online for discounts that are available through other insurance companies, such as ones for good driving records, good grades, low driving miles or taking a driver’s education course. Armed with this information, go to your agent and ask for similar discounts.

Hold a Clothing Swap

Remaining fashionable on a budget is difficult but possible. A solution that has become increasingly popular is a clothes swap. During these events you and your friends bring clothes you no longer want to swap with others. Using a site such as Meetup.com, you can turn these swaps into a regular monthly event.

Photo by Flickr user somaya

Go Beyond Craigslist

Everybody knows to look on Craigslist for used furniture and other items for your dorm room (remember, never meet a seller or buyer by yourself). However, Goodwill stores and your local pawn shop is a good place to find deals on these things, too. Even better: Visit freecycle.org, where the items are free, as long as you go pick them up.

Photo by Flickr user Sterling College

Consult Pinterest

Dorm room decorations can look numbingly the same. Instead of purchasing items from a big retailer, you can find great ideas on Pinterest that will help you create one-of-a-kind but easy pieces for your room. Some examples of easy-to-make items on Pinterest for dorms include painted used dressers and pretty storage cubes made from old boxes.

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