Students, on average, spend $1,200 per year on textbooks. It does not come as a shock. One book alone can cost as much as $200 or $300. That is a lot of money to pile on top of already-expensive tuition costs. Finding cheap alternatives, sharing with friends, buying used books, buying online, AND entering the Young & Free Maine Bucks for Books giveaway, can really go a long way in helping you to afford textbooks. Win Money! ---> Enter Bucks for Books and win $200, $300, $500 and a BONUS $500 for your textbooks!
For students living on campus, schools use financial aid to pay housing costs before you receive the refund check. Students who live off campus are responsible for coming up with rent each month. Your refund check can help to cover rent.
3. Living Expenses
In addition to rent are other living expenses, like utilities, cable, the internet and your phone bill. These expenses are not covered by financial aid. Budget part of your refund check to cover these costs.
If you commute to and from campus, you will likely need a parking permit. If you don't have a vehicle, you may need to purchase public transportation. In addition, think of college breaks - if you do not plan to get as far away as possible, budget for traveling, whether it's the cost of gas or tickets. Getting from here to there is not free, make sure you have a few extra dollars to put toward transportation.
If you live on campus, you will probably choose to have a meal plan. Living off campus means that you will have to decide whether you want to come to campus to eat, and whether it would be cheaper to buy and cook your own food. If that's the case, you'll need some cash for groceries.
6. Random Things and Fun
College is not prison! Make sure you have some money aside for fun activities, too.
Using refund money to start a small savings can help you throughout college. College is a time when extra cash is hard to come by, so if you are ever in a tight money situation, a small savings account can save you!
College expenses go far beyond tuition. As you have probably noticed, a refund check may not go a long way in covering these extra expenses. Getting a part-time job, or using your summer savings can be beneficial. Depending solely on your refund check might put you in a tough spot once those funds are running low.