5 Big Ways to Cut Expenses During College
The more money you save during college, the less money you will owe when you graduate, plain and simple. There are a few different things that you can do during college to reduce your college graduate debt, one of them being cut the expenses that you use to a more manageable level. Sounds easy, right? Some of these items may sound basic and people might say there is no reason to cover them in a list like this. But, in all reality, there are hundreds of ways to save money, but many people aren’t doing the easiest ones first, they go straight to the ones that are more difficult that offer the exact same monetary benefits.
1. Buy a Water Bottle and Use it.
I’ll use this one in a broad way to cover a few ideas. You can purchase a nice water bottle from Wal-Mart, a sporting goods store or online, I personally bought this Stainless Steel one off Amazon, it is $9.95 and I love it. Durable, nice neutral look to it, and you can buy one of those climbing loops and hook it to any bag that you use.
24 individual bottles of water from the store, usually range from $3.50 to $6.50 at the store. You are actually paying for water that you can get from a school water fountain or from a soda dispenser for free when you are at school. If you drink two individual bottles of water a day, and drink a 24 pack of water in 12 days, you would have to purchase over 30 cases a year, equating out to over $200 a year in water that you could have gotten for free. If you have a water bottle, all you have to do is clean it, fill it up, and carry it around with you all day. You might actually get the recommended amount of water per day that you are supposed to drink. Besides, does it not help the environment that you are cutting out some of the waste of plastic in your life as well?
2. Stop Drinking Soft Drinks!
I could probably go on all day about this and it probably won’t help at all. A 24 pack of Coke costs between $9.99-11.99. That is between $0.41 per can and $.50 per can. Every one of those that you drink is money wasted on something you do not need. For one thing they aren’t healthy, and don’t try and sway me saying “diet” is healthy because it is not, its just wasted calories and wasted money. If you drink one can a day for the entire year, you would purchase over 15 cases at $9.99 a piece which would wind up costing over $150.00. If you drink two cans a day double that amount. Soft drinks are of no nutritional value, so save the money and buy food that is nutritious and can make you healthier in the long run. Take the water bottle you just purchased and fill it up instead.
3. Stop Smoking Today! Not next week, not next year
The average smoker, goes through somewhere between 14-20 cigarettes per day. Equating out to about four to six packs a week. The average cost of a pack of cigarettes is $5.50. So the average person who smokes spends between $22 and $33 a week, and $1,144 to $1,716 a year. Holy Crap! The money shouldn’t even be the true cost you are worrying about, health risks such as heart disease, lung cancer, throat cancer, tooth loss, and increased doctor’s visits should be the main things. But, since this is a financial article we will go through what monetary benefits you could have if you invested the money you spent on cigarettes instead.
If you took the money from one pack of cigarettes a day at $5.50 and invested it in a 6% certificate of deposit:
- in 5 years you would have $11,512
- in 10 years $27,040
- in 20 years $76, 236
Now let’s look at if you gained a 10% return on your investment on instead of spending $5.50 per day, you invested $5.50 per day:
- in 5 years you would have $12,777
- in 10 years $33,799
- in 20 years $125,295
If you were to take the money that you would be spending on cigarettes at age 18 and instead invest that money, you would have approximately 47 years to invest if you were to retire by the time you were 65. If you were to get a 10% return on investment, by the time you are 65, you would have 2.1 Million Dollars. Again, not only for your health and your family, but your wallet, quit smoking, invest your money, and have a better life.
4. Get rid of Cable TV
At $60-$80 a month cable TV has become one of the most expensive things you can spend your money on and not get any tangible item back. You don’t get an actor in your living room or a new couch, you are paying to watch television shows. If you are in your dorm room or house at college for 7 months out of the year, it equates to between $420 per year, and $560 per year. You could spend that money on cable internet if you had to and have access to free television online where you can watch your favorite shows for free at Hulu.com. You could always find a common area at school that has a television and watch it there, or mooch off of one of your friends, that didn’t get the memo to cut their cable bill and watch it at their house.
5. Rent Textbooks, Don’t Buy
Textbooks are not an investment, they are a cost of school. The idea of selling back your used books to your school after using them is silly. Half of the time, either they say books that you just spend $100 are worth $5.00 now or they aren’t using them for the next semester and they won’t buy them back. How many times are you going to realize that buying textbooks are a waste of money in the long run? If you aren’t considering keeping them for the future, just rent them at CollegeBookRenter.com. Every semester you purchase books you are probably spending between $300 and $700 per semester. When you go to sell them back, you will be lucky to get $50-$150, not a great bet to lose money every time you purchase books. If you can spend less money at the beginning and not have to worry about if the school will take them back and you save money in the long run, most likely it will be better to just rent the books and return them after your semester is done. If you want to rent, here is a Get 5% off rentals & used book purchases. Use code CBR542012 at checkout. Valid through December 31, 2012.
If you add up everything in terms of these 5 ideas that I have given you, you could save a minimum of $2,000 a year if you institute these practices and stick with them.