Six Essential Tips to Stretch your Dollar
College costs have gone up substantially and the prevalence loans tend to mask the costs you are accruing while you are in college.
1. RATION the TUITION SPEND
Where possible, try to do you general education requirements etc. at a lower cost school or in-state tuition locations and then transfer to a pricey school, if the major is really, really crucial to you.
2. RENT TEXT BOOKS
Use text book rentals and even in those, try to share with a friend who is the same class. Often times, if you pair up with someone who lives close to you and has a different sleep/working schedule, you can get the best benefit out of sharing a book. Face it, you are not going to read it 24 hours so why not split the cost with someone else.
You will also learn a future life skill: how to manage resources with team members!
3. STAY HEALTHY
Early on in your college life, explore and learn the available resources to maintain a good health regimen. Several of these may even be free. Also, find out if your health plan (through your parents') or other plans, are more economical than the one offered by your University.
** Special tip for international students: Find out if the insurance plan you are taking for costs, meets all other requirements (eg evacuation costs etc.) laid down by your school. Your school's insurance office should be able to guide you here.
Also, don't forget actual personal health!
4. EAT SMART - SPEND LESS
5. START GROWING MONEY - INVESTING
Join an investment club and learn how to invest, even if only on paper. Eventually you can start a small investing account for as little as $100 in many cases! With slow and regular additions, you can grow your investments.
I have personally used multiple discount brokerages like Scottrade, Sogotrade and CapitalOne (formerly Orange Investing). You can start with as little as $ 100 with some accounts. Then make it a monthly habit! Read reviews on some brokers here.