It's been 10 years since I graduated college, excuse me if I'm not fully in character. School was a different time in my life. I didn't spend a lot of time thinking about money. My mother raised me to think frugally and I think that stuck in my subconscious.
- Car - I was the one with the car. Many people may say that you don't need a car in college. It depends on the college, but at many it's very important. I defer to the PCU quote, "Will you have a car? ... Someone on your hall will, find them and make friends with them on the first day ..."Â If you are going to be the one with the car, here are some tips to save money on cars.
- Clothing - Image isn't everything... Or is it? For the first two years of college I wore sweat pants and sweat shirts almost exclusively. A great female friend of mine showed me that I might want to have something other than tube socks in my sock drawer. I made a decent investment in my wardrobe - going through a bunch of stores at the mall. It was the right idea, but not the right implementation. I would learn a few years later that I could have put together a similar wardrobe from TJ Maxx for about a third of the cost. Women: I'm going to attempt to speak for most men when I say that we don't really care about fashion too much. With the way my hormones were in college, I could be impressed by breathing and having a pulse ;-). Lesson: Considering doing some research on how to save money on clothing. Random note: 7 years later the aforementioned friend would become instrumental in introducing me to my wife.
- Easy Classes - I wouldn't be afraid from taking an easy class or two the first semester. College is going to be a whole lifestyle adjustment and while you are there to learn - you don't want to bite off more than you can chew. Also be careful about classes that appear easy, but take a lot of time. I thought the first level Spanish class would be easy since I had 7 years of it in college, but it required a lot of work. Just because you know the subject doesn't mean it's going to be easy.
- Technology - When I was in college laptops were very rare and quite expensive. However, you can now pick up an Asus EEE for less than $300 on Craigslist or an Acer Aspire One. These computers would be perfect for taking notes or hoping online in between classes.
If you're going to be living off campus with some friends or housemates, don't bother with a landline. Research the best cell phone plans in your area and pick the one that suits you "“ between instant messaging and texting, chances are you wouldn't use a traditional phone too much anyway, so save yourself the money.
The Money Writers have gotten together to provide you some more Back to School tips
- Brip Blap has some college student finance tips.
- My Dollar Plan has 10 college money myths.
- The Digerati Life asks how do you need to save for college?
- Money Smart Life brings you a college student money guide.
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