When planning for college, it’s easy to focus on tuition and housing. But your budget could get squeezed if you don’t plan for other expenses. Here are some hidden costs that students should be aware of when planning for college:
Books and Class Materials
While you’re in college, you’ll have to buy books and other materials that your professors require. It’s an unpleasant reality of the university experience. But lucky for you, there are ways to save money on these items.
- Buy used: If a professor requires a particular book—or any book for that matter—you can often find the same text in a used version at a fraction of the cost.
- Rent rather than buy: Many libraries offer rental services for all kinds of books, including texts from your courses or even novels and magazines (and even DVDs!). This is another way to get around buying expensive course materials when they are only going to be used once or twice. And if you don’t live near an academic library with rentals available at low prices, check out companies like Chegg or Amazon where renting might even be cheaper than buying new!
Travel and Transportation Costs
College costs more than just tuition. There are also hidden expenses that you need to consider when planning for college, like travel and transportation costs.
How will you get to and from campus? Do you plan on owning a car? If so, how much will it cost to own and maintain your vehicle? What about parking fees or fines? Other costs include gas money and insurance premiums—and all of these things add up fast!
Food Beyond the Meal Plan
You may be tempted to think that your college meal plan is the only food you’ll need, but it’s easy to spend a lot more money than you expect when eating in college.
The food price beyond the meal plan varies greatly depending on where you live and what kind of meals you like to make (fast food or home cooked). You can easily spend about $10-$15 daily for lunch, which adds up over time. If you’re looking to save money on food, consider cooking in your dorm room or apartment instead of eating out all the time!
Having a Car on Campus
Having a car on campus can be a great option for students who live too far away from campus to walk, bike, or take public transit. But it’s important to know that owning and maintaining a vehicle will add another cost to your college expenses.
- Gas: The average student spends about $83 per month on gas, which adds up over time and can become a burden if gas prices suddenly increase.
- Parking: If you need parking on campus, there are often fees associated with obtaining permits and paying for spaces (which may be limited). Furthermore, having access to parking does not necessarily mean that finding an open spot is easy—especially if you’re not attending class during prime hours in the morning or afternoon.
- Insurance: When it comes time to buy insurance for your car before school starts up again after winter break, think about how much coverage you’ll need—and whether or not having personal liability protection makes sense financially (it depends on how old or expensive your car is).
Greek Life Dues and Fees
You should know that there are a few other costs to consider when joining a sorority or fraternity: dues and fees. Dues cover the basic operating costs of your organization, while fees help cover expenses associated with events and activities you participate in with your chapter. These fees may also be used to purchase items like clothing or supplies for use by the chapter.
The exact amount of these dues and fees can vary greatly from one organization to another (and even from one school to another). For example, at some large public universities, Greek life organizations can raise thousands of dollars every year through their fundraising efforts—this money would then go towards paying for many of these dues/fees. On the other hand, if you attend an institution with fewer resources available for fund-raising activities, you may pay more than $100 per semester just for this purpose alone!
Furnishing and Decorating Your Home
If you’re on a budget, don’t worry. You can still furnish your own home without breaking the bank. Many furniture retailers offer student discounts and will deliver the furniture to your place. Another option is to buy used furniture that’s in good condition. Also, don’t forget to ask Mom and Dad for help!
It’s better to plan than to be surprised by hidden costs
You can’t predict what will happen, so it’s best to plan for the worst. It may be tempting to take out loans and rely on family members for support, but that strategy could backfire if you need more funding than expected. In some cases, students have been known to drop out of college because they couldn’t meet their financial obligations–and that’s not something you want on your record!
If you know what to expect, college can be a great experience. It’s important to plan ahead so that you don’t feel overwhelmed or unprepared when it comes time for tuition payments and other expenses. You might have taken a loan to help with the expenses. Fortunately, you can get some help with the repayment using student loan refinance options. As per the experts at Lantern by SoFi, “If you can’t make your payments on a secured personal loan, you could end up losing the assets you provided for collateral.”
With the right knowledge and planning in advance, you can prepare yourself financially for all of life’s surprises—including unexpected ones that come up while attending college!