10 College Money Wasters

  • College Money wasters

    Besides being weighed down by student loans, college students have to deal with the day-to-day expenses of a work hard, play hard lifestyle. For those freshmen heading off to their first year, here are 10 money wasters you can go without while in college. We've also figured out how much you can save by doing without some of these luxuries. However, prices and items will vary for all universities. Photo Credit: Getty Images
    Fancy Wheels
  • Fancy Wheels

    Savings: $1,676 over four years One way to avoid the freshman 15 is by ditching the car and walking to class. The University of Maryland has listed their student parking rates for the 2010-2011 academic year. Parking fees start at $130 for students who are only commuting in the fall, and go up to $419 for an annual resident. By leaving the car at home and opting for public or campus transportation, an estimated $1,676 will be saved over the standard course of a college career just on parking permits, not to mention the price of gas. Leaving the car behind is a sure money-saver. Photo Credit: Getty Images
    Exquisite Meal Plans
  • Exquisite Meal Plans

    Savings: $1,338 / year Some universities require meal plans while others simply suggest them to students living on campus. Schools such as the University of South Carolina offer several levels of meal plans, each at a different cost. The University of South Carolina has listed their 2010-2011 meal plan prices and they have plans ranging from $692 to $1,361 a semester. By choosing the least expensive meal plan, you could expect to save $1,338 per year. The least expensive meal plan consists of five meals per week and the most expensive plan includes 16 meals per week and $100 Meal Plan Dollars. Students receive one swipe per meal period, which is the equivalent to around $4.50 for breakfast, $6 for lunch and $6 for dinner. By choosing alternative meal plans, students can find cheaper prices for these meals. Photo Credit: Getty Images
  • Printer

    Savings: $78 It’s no question that over the course of a college career, students will need to print extensively. Students can save money by foregoing a printer and using the school’s library instead. Some universities provide free or discounted printing, saving students the expense of the printer, paper and ink cartridge refills. Amazon.com lists the Epson WorkForce 30 as one of their best-selling printers, costing around $60. A black ink refill cartridge for this printer costs close to $17.89. Photo Credit: Getty Images
  • Textbooks

    Savings: $1,122 / year Collegeboard reports the national average spent at four-year public colleges in 2009-2010 on textbooks was $1,122. Some of you may be wondering “how am I going to pass a class if I don’t have the textbook?” Our solution is to first check the library before buying textbooks to see if they have copies on hand that you can borrow for the semester. Another strategy is to wait until the first day of class to see if the professors say the book is mandatory. If it is, Educhoices.org lists 25 places to read free books online. Some sites listed on Educhoices.org are Classic Bookshelf, The Online Books Page and Classic Book Library. By not purchasing textbooks and using search engines and Web sites to read your books, you can save as much as $4,488 over four years. Photo Credit: Getty Images
    Official Campus Clothing
  • Official Campus Clothing

    Savings: $68 We’re not saying ditch the school spirit, but don’t splurge on campus décor and school attire right away. Some universities give free knick knacks and apparel to students at the beginning of the year to inspire campus spirit. Free gifts can also be used as an incentive to get students involved in the campus community around back-to-school time. School-affiliated clubs, organizations, and student governments are known to give away gifts in hopes of enlisting students to join their organization. Officially licensed gear can get pricey, with a Boston College hooded sweatshirt costing $68, for example. Instead, take a stroll though campus when school starts back, and booths are bound to be set up with lots of free stuff that will catch your eye. Photo Credit: Jason Pier in DC
    Credit Card
  • Credit Card

    Savings: Interest on a monthly bill of $3,173 Many students will be so busy with attending classes, homework and studying, they won’t have time to keep up with how much money they are spending. The last thing an already stressed out student needs is a shocking credit card statement at the end of the month. If not paid on time, interest rates will be headed for them as well. A 2009 Sallie Mae study shows the average college-aged credit card owner’s debt balance is $3,173. This can be overwhelming for students without jobs and it’s an added responsibility that a student needs to keep on top of. Students should opt for a debit card. One perk of using a debit card over a credit card is that it takes money immediately out of a checking account, so students will know when and where their money is going. Debit cards can also help students know what their budget is and how close they are to breaking it each month. Just stear clear of those nasty bank fees. Photo Credit: Andres Rueda
  • TV

    Savings: $445 Bringing a TV to school is another item that will take up space in your room and cost you a pretty penny.Just how much? One of Amazon’s best-selling TVs is the 32-inch Samsung LCD HDTV, costing $444.99. With attending class and studying, once-mandatory TV time may be lost in college. If you must catch up on the latest gossip of your favorite TV show, you can use your computer as a television and browse great sites for free TV like Hulu. Many universities also have dormitory lounges for those living in campus housing that have a television for students to watch. This not only saves you space and money, but also lets you interact and meet with other students. Photo Credit: Getty Images
    Ironing Board & Iron
  • Ironing Board & Iron

    Savings: $18 Freshly pressed clothes may be important when giving a speech or presentation, but we have an alternative to the old-fashioned iron and ironing board: wrinkle remover spray. It’s more compact, safe — you won’t forget to turn it off — and cheaper than buying both an iron and ironing board. Downy Wrinkle Releaser costs $10 a bottle and lasts forever. An ironing board from Target runs you about $12 and a Sunbeam iron costs $16. This brings you to a grand total of $28 for an iron and ironing board, making the wrinkle releaser spray the better deal. Photo Credit:  Getty Images
    Excess Clothing
  • Excess Clothing

    Savings: Extra Space and Money OK, so this one might not save you money so much as anoither precious resource in college - space. Too many clothes and shoes will clutter up your room and closet and might result in being pushed under the bed. Only bring clothes that are appropriate for the current season. A good time to swap out and exchange clothes is on holiday breaks. You shouldn’t need containers if you moderate how much apparel you bring to school, whch saves you cash on racks and tubs from places like The Container Store. Also, if you’re looking for a way to make some quick cash while at school, you can take gently used clothes to a consignment shop such as Plato’s Closet for instant cash. Not bringing an extensive amount of clothing to school can create multiple benefits. Photo Credit: nutmeg
    Alarm clock
  • Alarm clock

    Savings: $9 Waking up on time is a key to success in college, but instead of buying an alarm clock from Target that costs $9, save your money and use your cell phone as one. Students are generally around their cell phones at most times, so this serves as a multi-purpose piece of technology. One of the perks of using a cell phone over an alarm clock is that you can put your alarm clock on the vibrate mode so you can wake up from feeling your phone moving if you are a deep sleeper. Using your cell phone as an alarm clock will save you space and money. Photo Credit: Getty Images
    Saving Cash on Textbooks
  • Saving Cash on Textbooks

    If you're heading off to school soon then we hope you've saved some money over the summer. College textbooks can set you back more than a few bucks. But there are ways to save. Check out our story 6 Tips for Cheaper Textbooks for the inside info. Photo Credit: Plutor
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