It’s tough, rising tuition costs will never cease, books will always be new every year, and rent in your city is poised to increase. The opportunity cost of going to school is more than these costs, but the loss of your income for the year as well. So why bother with the all the hassle, just work a while! Get into the trade! Well regardless of how you do the post-secondary school thing, the fact of the matter is, you need something more than your high school diploma to increase your average salary for the rest of your life.
Since post-secondary isn’t free (in North America at least), here are some tips before and during the school years.
1) If you aren’t getting help from family then you should be looking to save early. Since you’re probably already working try to save instead of spending on food or shoes.
2) Try to avoid loans. I would suggest that going into debt for schooling is worth considering, however, $50,000 worth of student loans says more about your inability to plan and save then it does about the cost of school.
3) Live at home, if you can, save yourself 800 bucks a month, free food costs most of the time too. Many more students are choosing this option as part of their post-secondary education. Very few employers care where the degree came from, but that you have one.
4) Save on book costs. Hit up Amazon, Ebay, Chapters, Indigo, used book stores, the school used book stores/classified ALL before you buy new. Profs will smack you with new additions year by year which are really unfair. Vote with your feet in these cases. New edition from the same teacher year by year says more about their preparation then it does about the quality of books.
5) Food is a cost that you incur regardless if you’re home or away. Try to plan meals, stay within your food budget, raid home when you can, carry a lunch, buy in bulk, don’t eat out, buy Mr. Noodles, and more.
6) Clothes shopping? Why bother? Wardrobes don’t need to change each semester. Stay away from neon and you’re fine.
7) Public transportation. Some universities have deals with the public transportation system. You get a deal and a pass. Save money on gas, car, and parking.
8) Your school supplies are generally non-existent other than pen and paper. Some programs make you buy some materials, however, other than books and computer you don’t need snazzy binders and locker organizers.
9) Computer selection. Are you spending money for a gaming computer or do you need something to run your word processor?
10) Don’t use your loans for bad spending. A new computer (see above) is not a good excuse to get a loan.
That’s all the tips we have for now, if you have some more please leave comments here. We’ll add some more as they come in. Enjoy the second semester and try not to rip holes in your clothes, they need to last 4 years!