While there still seem to be peppermint candy canes lingering around here at last Winter/Christmas Break is officially OVER today.
Oh happy day!
So early this morning, with hugs and kisses, the clowns living under the Big Top were sent off to elementary school, high school and college.
You hear that? That is the sound of quiet…at least until Hazel and Fallon come over. Oh well, it will be good as long as it lasts. Back to the juggling we go!
With the kids back in school and the post-holiday bills coming in money is definitely tight around here…as it is in any other household. It is all the more challenging with Abby in college now just as I know it is for Zoë who is putting herself through school while living away from home. So how do my circus clowns attending college save money? Anyway they can. Even with scholarships, grants and (GASP!) loans, it is still a struggle here for our girls. I try to tell them it builds character and creates memories they can bore their own children with someday…like my stories of milk crate furniture and eating nothing but popcorn for a month…
In collaboration with Campus Books Rentals, here are some practical and creative ways to save money while attending college.
- Get a free checking and savings account. The bank will nickel and dime you on dumb stuff like too many ATM withdrawals, too many checks written, or a funds transfer. Shop the town for banks catering to students. Make sure you can access online banking, pay bills and manage your account without attached fees.
- If you have to have a credit card, make sure you get one with the lowest interest rate possible; no annual fees and with only enough of a credit limit to get you by in an emergency. Don’t carry it with you, but instead keep it in a safe place known only to you.
- For one month save every receipt of everything you purchase, from a pack of gum, a tube of toothpaste to your computer. Log each expense in a notebook. When the month is up, tally up what you’ve spent and take a good look at just where most of it went. Food? Beer? Gas? Games? This sure fire technique will unabashedly expose the evils of your spending ways.
- Don’t drink. Zoë and Abby are under 21 so yes, girls, don’t drink. But if an over 21 student must… buy the cheap stuff.Here is now where I better understand why their big sister, Holly, and her hipster friends like PBR (Pabst Blue Ribbon Beer) so much.
- Food is one of the top priorities in a college student’s life. Eating fast, eating healthy, it can all cost money. Lucky for Abby, she lives at home so she can and does regularly empty out my pantry. Whomever suggested teenage girls don’t have appetities like teenage boys has never been a guest here under the Big Top. Zoë, on the other hand has discovered Top Ramen. Oh joy!
- Zoë’s Christmas gift of a Keurig coffee maker will definitely save a huge chunk of change from her coffee habit. A daily latte, cappuccino, or mocha will run between $2.50 and $3.50 depending on the size. Seven days of that routine costs $17.50 per week, $70 per month and around $280.00 per semester! That’s over $500 a year drank in morning caffeine. Making her own special cup of coffee every day is definitely going to help save some money and perhaps stock her kitchen cupboards with something more nutritious than those Ramen noodles; like oatmeal which is fast, filling and affordable.
- Kick the bottled water habit; support your local tap water and drink for free. Get a some kind of filter if you want better tasting water. Zoë invested in a Brita water filter bottle in order to save money and the environment while keeping herself hydrated with better tasting water.
- Books. Every college student must buy books and yes, they are so very expensive. Good god, they are expensive! Buying used is definitely the way to go as is selling the books back, whether to the campus bookstore or to a fellow student taking the same class you took last semester. Abby is selling last semester’s Psych textbook this semester to a friend which helps them both out. Another option to consider is renting textbooks. Renting textbooks saves you money plain and simple and gets the same result in your classes as buying your books. Campus Book Rentals offers new and gently used textbooks for typically less than half the price you’ll pay in your school bookstore.
Even better, not only can a starving student save some money renting books through Campus Book Rentals but they can do some good. Campus Book Rentals has “officially teamed up with Operation Smile, an out of this world, awesome organization, that performs life changing cleft lip surgeries on children whose families could not otherwise afford it. The long term improvement in quality of life for the children that receive these surgeries is almost incomprehensible. They have committed to donating enough to cover a minimum of 1,000 life changing surgeries. They hope to beat that number, but it’s a significant commitment.
So for EVERY book rented starting now, Campus Book Rentals will donate a portion of those proceeds to Operation Smile with their sights set on meeting and exceeding the goal of 1,000 lives changed.
Saving money…changing lives…I am on board with that!
This just in: So we ordered Abby’s books for this semester. New books totaled $343. Only one title was available at a used book price so the amended total would be $282. Ordering the books through Campus Book Rentals the total was $155. We saved $188! Yes, I am totally on board with that.
I was asked by Campus Book Rentals to write a post about money saving ideas for college students and in return I will be compensated with $50 towards the cost of my girls’ textbooks this semester which will help…and every little bit helps.