7 Most Overlooked College Expenses
When applying for college, it’s easy to focus on the tuition cost, what’s included, and the amount of student loan debt owed after graduation. What is often overlooked is the amount of money needed during the years you’re in school. These expenses include:
I’ve purchased a textbook for $185 once. For one class. Then, had to buy textbooks for 4 additional classes. My textbook total for that one semester was just shy of $600.
TIP: Things to check before you buy any textbook: can you rent, does someone else have it cheaper, is the textbook going to be used for course material (or will the professor have it all on power points), and can you share with someone?
2. Additional Educational fees
Some classes require lab fees. These are typically higher level courses, such as a science class or an online class. Although this usually is added to tuition costs, it is an added fee to consider. I know from experience that an online class tends to sound more appealing than the on ground classes, but the on ground classes usually don’t have the additional fees that online classes do.
TIP: when possible, choose on ground classes. In my experience, online courses really aren’t that much easier as they are thought to be.
3. Gas for travel
Travel may sound exotic, but in actuality it’s the gas needed to get you to and from class, work, home, and yes, maybe a road trip or two! On the weekends I choose to go home I know there is $60 gone right there. Sometimes when I have to go home more than once in a few weeks I cut back on other things on which I normally spend money. Going home twice in a month is roughly $120 that I have to budget for in addition to my other expenses.
TIP: Pre-plan trips home and fit as much as you can in that time you choose so you can limit the amount you spend on gas.
BONUS TIP: if you are looking for a part-time job while in college, make sure your paycheck isn’t going towards just gas to get you to and from work.
4. Sorority dues
So you’re a freshman, wanting to make friends and be involved on campus. What better option than to join a sorority (or fraternity)? The Greek Life price tag typically ranges from $500-$3,000+ a semester.
TIP: Consider joining intermural sports team or a club on campus. These usually have either no fee or a significantly lower fee while providing many opportunities for involvement and to meet new people on campus.
5. Parking fees
When it comes to parking fees, I am one of the lucky ones! My university does not have parking fees. Some of my friends with cars on campus pay anywhere from $200-$400 a semester! Not to mention that only gives them certain parking lots in which they can park!
TIP: Check to see if the university requires a parking pass, how much its costs, and the areas you’re allowed to park in with that pass.
6. Living essentials (towels, cleaning supplies, toiletries, household products, etc.)
Living on your own sounds great until you realize everything you need to buy. If you live in a dorm, a bed and dressers are provided, but don’t forget about the bed spread, mattress cover, sheets, rugs, bathroom supplies, etc. you need.
Living in your own apartment or house? Do you have kitchen necessities such as plates, silverware, cups, forks/knives, cooking pots and pans? What about a couch, kitchen table, bed frame? All of this adds up and becomes pricey very quick.
TIP: Ask your family and friends for household items they aren’t using, shop thrift stores and garage sales, shop cheap.
Meal plans are cheap. But even with a meal plan in hand, let’s be honest, sometimes you need something else than cafeteria food.
Sometimes you want to get dollar tacos or endless wings with your friends on a Tuesday night. Do you have the funds for it? Are you going more than once a week?
TIP: Eat out when there are deals such as happy hour, take advantage of student discounts, or split meals with someone. Food adds up quicker than you think.