1. Apply for and accept a work study program offered through FAFSA
A work study can provide income, work experience, social networking opportunities, and an excellent insider perspective on the college you are attending.
2. Take your bike/skateboard/rollerblades/longboard/hoverboard/etc. and leave the car at home
These days colleges are their own city where everything you need can more than likely be found on campus. If not, then there is some form of mass transit available to the student that they can use. Also, without a car you'll save on the cost of maintenance and gas!
3. If possible, live at home
Living at home can save a student up to $10K or more on their college expenses. It's just a matter of if you can live with your parents or want to go to school in the area that they currently live.
4. Thrift it or forget it
These days you can find loads of gems at a thrift store for any style.
5. Learn to cook
There are several online videos and websites that give great tutorials for easy and cheap meals. Also, don't forget to consider the value of leftovers and/or bringing your lunch if you'll be on campus all day.
6. Cut the Cable
Consider using Hulu or Netflix instead of an expensive cable package. Also, you can go old school and get an antenna to get the local TV scope.
7. Invest in a Portable Water or Coffee Container
Buying bottled water at $2 or coffee at $3-$4 can add up over the week. Get a reusable water bottle or coffee insulator that you can fill up at home and refill for free on campus.
8. Price Compare
Sunday ads or online price shopping can prove fruitful for the wallet when you find the best deals for must-haves like toilet paper, paper towels, shampoo, condition, etc. Find out which stores have the better deal and stay committed to getting your essentials there.
Serena Ostrowsky, M.Ed.