3 easy ways to reduce your college expenses

By Tkrause

Let’s face it, college is really freaking expensive. Even if you’re lucky enough to get a few scholarships to help cover your tuition and fees, there’s still a ton of other stuff you’ll need to pay for every semester. And, we’re not even talking about the things you want to buy, like cool shit for your dorm or that trip to Mexico for Spring Break. No, we’re talking about books, housing fees, food (or whatever it is that they serve in the campus dining halls), and other college-related expenses that pop up on your bill. The worst part is that these costs seem to climb every year, but your financial aid may not be keeping pace. So, what’s a broke college student to do? You could refuse to pay, but that won’t do anything except get you kicked out of school. Instead, we've come up with three ways to reduce your college costs next semester that won't get you expelled.

1. Beg for help

How can you say no? Courtesy of Gif Library
How can you say no to this face? Courtesy of Gif Library.

 You could stand on a corner with a sign asking for kind strangers to take pity on you, but there’s a safer method than begging for help on the street. It’s called crowdfunding. There are many websites set up to help poor students, such as yourself, tell their stories and ask perfect strangers to open up their wallets. Some websites to consider include: Youcaring.com, Nakoo.org, and GoFundMe.com. Just be sure you include a compelling story and plenty of pictures. BTW, if you’re graduating from college in the next year, you may also want to check out Zerobound.com for help with paying back your student loans.

2. Borrow as much as you can

It's only for a few months, right? Surviving College
It's only for a few months, right? Courtesy of Surviving College.

Ever heard of couch surfing? If you have family near campus, this could help you practically eliminate your housing fees. Although living with your parents (or other relatives) for another year or two may not be ideal, it does have its advantages, like free laundry service and home-cooked meals  and can save a ton in student loans. Of course, you could shack up on with some friends, but they may not be as accommodating as your folks. If all else fails, you can also look into house-sitting gigs nearby. You not only get free rent, but also a stipend for keeping up the place for the owners. But borrowing space isn't the only way to save a buck. You can also look into borrowing your textbooks from the local or campus library. Just be sure you remember to renew them or you could be hit with overdue fees. You can also save quite a bit of cash by borrowing equipment from your campus student center. Many colleges allow students to borrow bikes, athletic equipment, and even laptops for short periods of time. Before you plunk down any money to rent or buy something, see if you can get it for free on campus first.

3. Buy everything used

Shit. It was 99 cents! Courtesy of Becuo
Shit. It was 99 cents! Courtesy of Becuo.

Never buy anything new if you can get it used. For example, buying small appliances for your dorm can cost a pretty penny, but if you wait until the last week of the semester you can often score them for next to nothing. Many students don’t want to lug these items back home, so they place them by the curb or put an ad on Craigslist. Don’t forget to pop some tags, too. Thrift stores are a great place to score some winter clothes, household goods (dishes, pots and pans, etc.), or even a bike to help you get around campus. And here’s the best part: When you’re done with the items, simply donate them back. No packing required! Do you have some good tips and tricks for saving money in college? Share them with us in the comment section, and we just might feature them in an upcoming blog post or email.