There were a few tears shed as my wife, and I dropped our daughter off and moved her in on campus to begin her college career. It’s an emotional time for many parents and students.
There are so many changes that take place in a short period. One minute you are living at home, and attending high school, and the next you’re living away, with new roommates, and a whole new campus to navigate.
We have been preparing for the move in for several months. Once our daughter committed to her college of choice, our work began. We sought advice from others, including past graduates. Our goal was to make the transition as smooth as possible for the entire family.
One of the items we focused on was what to bring to campus and the dorm room. We attempted to pack light initially, and add things as needed. Here are some ways we saved money during our first semester of college for our daughter.
Split Cost with Roommate(s)
Our daughter had a clear communication plan with her roommate. They took the divide and conquered approach on items like a television, refrigerator, Keurig, iron, microwave, etc.
Splitting costs between them and not duplicating items saves money and space in a small dorm room.
I’m a fan of psychical books. For many classes, books will be used once and never again. If you purchase new and sell at the end of the semester you will not get a good ROI, so why not rent? Using a service like Chegg can save you a ton of money. Total cost for my daughter’s first semester of books using Chegg, $105.
For book related to your major, that you may want to hold on to, it might be best to purchase used.
Student ID Power
Have you harnessed the power of your student ID? Many retailers offer discounts of 10-20% or even free stuff when you use your student ID. We used a Bed, Bath and Beyond 20% discount on our entire order to purchase items we needed for our daughter’s dorm room. The 20% discount was applied on top of sales prices as well.
Our daughter also scored a free pair of Beats headphones, when purchasing a new laptop for college by showing her student ID.
Attend Events, Clubs and Meet Ups
Are you looking for a way to save money on your food budget? And meet some new friends in the process? Check out your school’s calendar of events. There are many clubs, social, and educational events happening every week. Often there is free food and swag available.
Now that the fall semester is underway do not lose sight of the ultimate free money prize, scholarships. Often we forget about these after freshmen year. If you are already attending college, now you can take advantage of any additional scholarships your school has to offer. It will take a bit of your free time to continue to apply for scholarships, but the payoff will be worth it.
Work in Progress
We are only a few weeks into the college transition, but continue to learn as we go. The keys so far have been open communication with our daughter, and willingness to learn from others.
Keeping your eyes and ears open for tips and tricks from upperclassmen who have lived the campus life for several years can be a wealth of information too. All I can say is so far so good.
We’ve been so busy with the move in and transition, that not having our daughter at home has not sunk in yet. With trips already planned in consecutive months for visits, we never that far away from each other. Facetime is fantastic too! I want to wish my girl the very best of luck, as well as all of the other students!
What tips do you have for transitioning and saving money in college?