As the cost of college continues to increase, many parents are rightfully concerned about coming up with the money to pay for it. Tuition is just one of several expenses that students face. There is also housing, transportation, meals, and other things. If you’re not careful, the tab can add up quickly.
Thankfully, there are several things that parents can encourage their college students to do to help save money on expenses. A few small changes can result in big savings.
Live with Roommates
Students who want to live off-campus can save money on housing by staying with roommates in an apartment or house. The more roommates a student has, the lower his or her housing costs will be. In addition to splitting the monthly rent, students can also split the cost of utilities, internet, groceries, and other shared expenses.
Another benefit of living off-campus with roommates is that a home may be more spacious than a dorm room. This could give students the privacy they need to concentrate on their studies.
Be a Resident Advisor
Aside from tuition, housing is one of the largest expenses that college students face. There is a way, however, to eliminate this expense at many schools. Students who know they will be living on campus may qualify for free housing by working as resident advisors. Some schools also pay a modest stipend for the position, which can be helpful with other expenses.
Resident advisors are responsible for ensuring safety precautions are followed in dorms. They inspect rooms, assist students with questions and concerns, and do other things. They may also be required to complete basic first aid and CPR training in case of an emergency.
Students have to apply to become resident advisors. It’s important to inquire about the position and the school’s requirements as soon as possible before the new school year begins.
Skip the Cable TV
The average cost of cable TV in the US is just over $200 per month. This costly expense can be eliminated by streaming free content instead. Many students won’t have time to watch much TV anyway with their studies, friends, and campus activities.
A streaming device is an inexpensive one-time purchase. As long as students have a reliable internet connection, which they will need anyway for their studies, they can stream many movies, TV shows, documentaries, and other things at no cost.
Use Public Transportation
Many large universities offer either free or low-cost public transportation for their students. Busses take students to and from school and to other places in the community. A student ID or transit pass is often all that’s required to use the service.
For students who live close to school, public transportation can be much more affordable than using a personal vehicle. This saves money on fuel, insurance, maintenance, and other vehicle expenses.
Lower Your Cellphone Bill
Competition among cellphone service providers is fierce. To attract new customers, companies often come out with new plans that offer more features for less money. If a student has had a cell phone plan for a while, shopping for a new plan may be worth the time.
Don’t forget to check with the discount providers. Many of these companies now offer service that is on par with the big-name companies—but for less money.
Ask for Student Discounts
Many retail stores, restaurants, museums, and other places offer discounts to college students to attract business. Students may be able to lower their bills just by showing their student IDs.
Not all places that offer student discounts advertise it. Because of this, students shouldn’t be afraid to ask for discounts. If a student shops or eats at certain places regularly, the savings can really add up.
Make Full Use of Your Meal Plan
College meal plans typically include breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Unfortunately, many students skip meals or eat at restaurants. Eating out is expensive, and students can save big by taking full advantage of the meal plans they purchased.
In addition to offering nutritious meals, many meal plans also offer snacks. Students can pick up a banana, apple, or something else and eat it later when they are hungry or for extra energy before an important exam.
For More on Personal Finance Topics
If you have more questions about other personal finance topics that matter to you, visit the Learning Center on TD Bank’s website.
We hope you found this helpful. This article is based on information available in July 2022 and is subject to change. It is for general information purposes only. Our content is not intended to provide legal, tax, investment or financial advice or to indicate that a particular TD Bank product or service is available or right for you. For specific advice about your unique circumstances, consider talking with a qualified professional.