College is expensive. Too expensive. Student loan problem, debt crisis, blah, blah, blah. I’m sure you’re tired of hearing random strangers on the internet rattle on without end about the overwhelming cost of college.
To be honest, I’m a little tired of writing about it too. So today, I’m switching gears.
Here are 68 nuggets of financial wisdom you can put to use immediately. Each will help you think twice and spend your dollars more wisely when it comes time to walk the hallowed halls.
Not every career requires a 4-year degree. Is your dream job one of them?
Staying put could save you nearly $12,000, annually.
No infrastructure, less staff to pay, no sports to fund, etc.
Too many students, not enough seats. It’s causing some problems.
$26,000 (per year). Saved.
Reputations are expensive. Do you really want to pay for one?
Taking 5 or 6 years on campus to graduate could mean over $40,000 extra.
Every credit you re-take is a credit you re-pay for.
Number 11 applies to re-taking failed classes too.
Switching majors can lead to lost credit. Remember # 11?
No one will judge you for taking a little extra time to ensure you’re making a wise decision.
Art supplies, musical instruments, special facility fees, lab equipment… it all adds up.
Free money! 🙌
Free money! 👏
NOT free money. 😱😠😭
Student loans are a great way to pay thousands of extra dollars for every year the loan isn’t paid off. (Hello, interest rates!)
The less you can borrow, the less debt you incur. The less debt, the better.
Community college can save you a ton of money unless your university won’t accept that community college transfer credit. Which it probably won’t.
The best way to earn affordable credit with a 100% guarantee it’ll transfer to your school.
This is adulting 101.
This is adulting 102.
Late fees are the gut-punches of wasted money.
Why not learn from the best (and earn some college credit at the same time)?
They’ve got great tuition assistance.
Medical and tuition assistance for part-time evening work? Sold.
These 33 companies will help you pay for college.
It worked for Zuckerburg!
For everyone who thinks they’re Zuckerburg.
For those nobler than Zuckerburg.
For everyone else. (We can’t all be Zuckerburgs.)
College meal plan: $4,400.
Cooking at home: $1,760.*
Eating out: $12.75 per meal.
Cooking at home: $2.50 per meal.**
One glass of wine at your local bar is approximately the same cost of that same bottle of wine at the grocery store.
Water, soda, and juice are all far cheaper and just as tasty.
Starbucks coffee: $2.10. (Grande sized, featuring their signature “burnt ashes” flavor.)
Average at-home brew: $0.60. (And 150% tastier.)
Let me redirect you to points 34 and 35.
Some people love to cook, some people love to eat. These types of people should be friends.
There’s a special place in hell for food wasters.
iBotta, RetailMeNot, Groupon, Living Social, Ebates… find coupons, find deals, and earn money for regularly purchased items.
Meat, bread, taco shells—anything you can’t eat fast enough should go in the freezer. You know how I feel about food wasting.
Movie tickets, mini golf, bowling, these things cost money you don’t have to spend.
Movies tickets are used once. Board games are used endlessly.
Bonus points if you borrow books.
State parks, apartment pools, window shopping downtown. There are a lot of free ways to have fun.
49.5. Make friends with less frugal people.
Splitting bills 2, 3, or 5 ways makes a big difference.
Free rent! 🙌
Family plans exist for a reason.
You’ll never use that gym membership anyway.
Staying put may sound boring, but it has its perks.
Planning ahead can lead to ridiculously cheap flights. And your bags fly free!
Switching to biking can save you 15% or more on car insurance. And gas. And maintenance. And it’s probably more than 15%.
Glasses save you hundreds per year.
Pet food, vet bills, extra rent…
The library and Starbucks are two perfectly acceptable places to do homework.
Trust me. This is good life advice in general.
Thrift stores. Goodwill. Done.
It's nice to feed on the dying flesh of the bourgeois.
Your grandmother will be so proud!
And have them pay for dinner!
Just don’t tell your rich S.O.
Smaller bodies require less food!
Don’t pay for anything you don’t need. The traditional “college experience” is a luxury, not a necessity. You can earn your degree without drowning in debt, but you’ll have to make some sacrifices along the way.
Obviously, you know your specific financial situation better than I (or anyone else offering generic advice) ever could. So listen to your gut and don’t spend money you don’t have.
*This number was calculated by taking the average cost of single males and females ages 19-50, using the USDA’s "low-cost" food plan for 8 months—roughly the amount of time a student will spend on campus each year. (# 34)
**This number was calculated by taking the same USDA average grocery budget and dividing it by 90 meals per month (3 meals per day). Fun fact: after an intense month of receipt tracking and cooking at home, this is almost exactly what each of my home-cooked meals ended up costing me. I halved my food bill that month. 😎(# 35)
A former student counselor and Accelerated Pathways student, Abigail is now a writer and Accelerated Pathways Content Manger who's passionate about empowering others to achieve their goals. When she’s not hard at work, you can find her reading, baking cupcakes, or singing Broadway songs. Loudly.