Going to a school like Hanover is expensive enough on its own. There are so many ways we tend to spend even more money than we need to and don’t even realize it. Here are five tips to help you save some of this money.
1. Don’t buy all of your textbooks through the bookstore if you can avoid it. Don’t get me wrong, the bookstore is great! Unfortunately, they can be expensive when it comes to textbooks. I like to look online at various websites to search for the best prices for my books (including shipping).
Sometimes these can actually make the book more expensive. Try looking for textbooks at amazon.com, half.com, bookbyte.com, or many others. Half Price Books and other used bookstores may be another good resource with no shipping fee.
2. Don’t stop looking for scholarships. Don’t think that the amount of money you enter college with is your limit. You can always apply for scholarships to help pay for books, supplies or tuition. Even little ones add up! Try websites like zink or fastweb, opportunities in your community or ones through your parents’ jobs.
3. Get a meal plan that will allow you to eat enough. There are a few options for meal plans so this can be confusing. However, really consider how much and when you will eat meals. For example, if you eat at weird times, the one that gives you a time limit on every meal will probably not be for you. If you know you will never eat breakfast, you probably won’t want the one that gives a meal specifically for breakfast everyday (you lose this if you don’t use it).
Some of my friends didn’t consider how much they would actually eat and just opted to get the cheapest meal plan. It would have been smarter for them to get a more expensive one because they actually ended up spending more out-of-pocket money at the end of the semester because they ran out of meals.
4. Don’t get addicted to common bad habits. I’m terrible at this! Over the past year, my weakness has been Polar Pops. These are really just 32 oz. fountain drinks from the Circle K right off campus, but they seem like the world’s most delicious drinks when you are up late writing a paper, hot during spring term, or want to spend some quality time with a roommate or friend before class.
My sorority sisters and I often wander into each others’ rooms to find a buddy to “go on a Polar Pop run” or to take orders for sisters who are too busy to actually go or need some cheering up. It doesn’t seem like a big deal at the time as these treats are only 74 cents with tax. However, as one of my sisters informed me, two Polar Pops a week during school adds up to almost $50! This is just one trap we often fall into. You also have to watch out for Shoebox visits, coffee shop breaks, cute HC apparel in the bookstore and lunch dates with friends off campus.
5. Open a bank account in town. Many students decide to get a job on campus. Most of these jobs pay monthly meaning you get quite a bit of money at one time. While some people take the opportunity to get their checks directly deposited into an account at home, others simply cash their checks at school.
I have learned that cash is much easier to spend than plastic. If you can’t physically see the money, it can become out of sight and out of mind. This might be a good way to help you save money throughout the year.