As the new school year approaches, parents and students may want to start preparing for what’s to come.
This is the perfect time to start over, make new friends and experience new things. However, it’s not always easy to keep up with the costs of the latest trends, school supplies, food preparation, and tuition.
Having a family and raising children is more expensive than ever. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), raising a child from birth to age 18 costs an average of nearly $300,000. Almost 70 percent of high school graduates go to college, and the costs don’t stop there.
8 Saving tips
So how can you save money at school? With the new semester just around the corner, here are some tips to help you save money during school.
1 Textbook recycling
Textbooks can be one of your biggest expenses each semester — some math and science textbooks cost more than $200 new.
This is a large area with substantial potential for savings. Try renting textbooks from Amazon using your Amazon Prime Student discount! Also, when you finish a textbook, sell it back to the UBC bookstore or discount textbook, or try to find new students who need it.
There are many apps and websites that can help you track any used or refurbished items on your list, including Best Buy, eBay, Etsy, Depop, and Mercari, to name a few.
Whether you’re buying textbooks, electronics, or clothing, you pay less this way than if you were buying brand-new goods. In addition, you can usually find discounted items with “like new” status on most of these platforms.
2 Make a list — think twice about each item
This is a simple but important technique: write down what you need, not what you want. Maybe a highlighter, jeans, or a calculator.
Before you add the item to the list, visualize how you will use it in everyday student life, how often you will use it, and why you want it in the first place.
Don’t buy something just because you’ve seen your peers add it to their shopping cart, and think deeply about how the item will enhance your school experience.
Once your list is complete, it will provide a mental incentive to stick only to these items, which will save you money at checkout.
3 Through the shopping portal
Shopping portals such as Rakuten allow you to earn bonus cash back, points, or air miles for your purchases on top of rewards you already earn with your credit card.
Simply search for the merchant you want to shop for on one of the portals and click to redirect to its website. Place your order as usual, and thanks to a few extra clicks, you’ll get a bonus.
For example, at the time of this writing, you can get an additional 2% rebate at Apple, Staples, and Office Depot through Rakuten shopping.
4 Take advantage of coupon codes
You may think you’ve found the best deal, but chances are there are even better deals to be found.
Although you may have to search online to find them, there are often coupons or promotional codes that can help you save even more money.
When searching for coupons, RetailMeNot, JoinHoney, and CouponBirds might be good places to start. Or you can download SmartCoupon Finder and automatically find, test, and apply the best coupon code at checkout.
5 Participate in the activities offered on campus
Many campuses have an array of museums and offer movie nights, and other social events for cheaper or, sometimes, for free.
If you’re a high school student that lives in or close to a college campus, most colleges will allow you to visit these places too. Plan and call ahead or get on a list to be sure you save your place. Most events have space limitations due to COVID-19 still being a thing.
6 Ask for a student discount
Many places offer student discounts, but few people ask for them. These include restaurants, shops, cinemas, theme parks, and more.
Check to see if student discounts are available before you pay. Usually, all you need to do is show your student ID. This is an easy way to save some extra money in college for school.
7 Use free transportation whenever possible
If you need to get around, use free transportation whenever possible. Many college campuses have free buses and shuttles to help students on campus and even to nearby apartments.
Some apartment buildings even provide shuttle buses to campus for students. Depending on your school, see if you can take advantage of free transportation to get around.
If you need public transport to get around, check to see if you can get a student pass. Many universities work with local transportation authorities to offer student discounts and student passes for buses, subways, carts, etc.
For college students who need to get around, this can save a lot of money and is often cheaper than car ownership.
8 Applications for scholarships or assistantships
Too many people think that the only time to apply for scholarships and grants is when you’re in high school before you start your freshman year of college. Wrong.
You can apply for scholarships and bursaries every year throughout university. Given that many scholarships go unclaimed (or very little of all), if you take the time to apply, you could find yourself with a lot of money to pay for your tuition.
Hopefully, the above tips will help you cut down on unnecessary purchases and save more when needed. Keeping up with your goals and budget will give you an idea of what works for you and what doesn’t. Take the above steps in your process to save money in the new semester!