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How to Help Your Child Cut Costs at College

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by Harriet Bond
(San Francisco, CA, USA)

Once you’re in college you probably need to continue to cut costs where you can but many of these ways to save begin even before you get there. You’ll find that saving before and during your college days is an education in itself. And, like any other learning experience it takes discipline and perseverance.

Take advance placement courses (AP) and exams in high school. If you do well you’re given college credit which can save you a bundle of money. It’s possible if you place high enough that you can enter college as a 2nd year student.

Career focus educational programs are also available. If you can master certain technical or occupational skills you may be able to skip them in college. No need to repeat what you already know. Learning about acareer focus program can save you time and money.

Domestic service organizations offer young men and women an opportunity to work in community service programs around the country. For doing the work, you receive both a living allowance while working and later an educational award to go toward fees and tuitions. You not onlyearn money but learn at the same time while doing worthwhile community service.

On a more basic level, track your expenses on a spread sheet. You can use this skill the rest of your life. Instead of wondering at the end of the month where your money went just consult your expenditure sheet.

Track all money spent from pizzas and videos to copying and books. Buying used books, by the way, is a great way to save. Your parents will be impressed. It’s a good idea to pay cash if at all possible but if you must use a credit card make sure it’s paid off at the end of the month.

Eat healthy carbs like rice and pasta and avoid expensive fast foods that are loaded with fat. Cook inexpensive foods in your dorm if allowed and sign up for the cafeteria plan.
Hunt for free food.

Free refreshments and heavy snacks are often offered to students to attract them to certain events. Be aware of what’s happening on campus. If you’re a coffee drinker, stay away from fancy coffee shops and brew your own. You can study in your own room as well as the coffee shop table.

Speaking of free, save on entertainment costs by attending free events at school and in the community. These can range from concerts, movies and poetry readings. Check the school bulletin boards for dates and places and call the local chamber of commerce.

Stay in shape and stay healthy. Avoid those costly doctor bills. Get plenty of rest, eat well, and exercise. Riding a bike instead of driving your car can give you plenty of exercise and save on gas at the same time.

If you must work to make ends meet while in school be careful your work and study schedules don’t conflict. Lessons learned on how to save while in college can be taken with you forever. Self taught lessons are free and never forgotten.

Updated: July 3, 2013 — 8:21 pm

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