5 Money-Saving Tips for the Upcoming Semester

Budgeting is incredibly challenging, especially as a college student. From worrying about the ever-increasing cost of housing, to meal plans and tuition—it’s a lot. Not to mention school supplies and books! You’re not alone in the pain of preparing for a new semester, so here are five tips on how to save money this fall.

Cut Coffee Consumption

College is rough and it’s hard not to bite, literally, into the temptations of all the convenient campus fast foods and coffee shops. Whether you spend $5 a day on Starbucks, or $2 on a vending machine snack, it can add up. In fact, ABC News discussed a study that found the average American spends about $1,100 a year on coffee alone. By investing in a coffee maker this fall (some pots are as cheap as $25, that’s less than a week’s worth of coffee shop drinks), or packing snacks, you can minimize the amount of money you spend on campus food and maximize savings.

Walk, Bike or Take Public Transportation

Uber and Lyft are incredibly convenient options for getting around, especially when you are running late for class across campus. However, the costs can add up if it becomes a habit. Check out the public transportation in your area, where students often receive a discount, or your institution’s bus services—which are often free! For an even better option, consider leaving yourself a few extra minutes to bike or walk across campus. Not only is this cost-effective, but it’s a great way to get fresh air and stay in shape.

Shop Around for Course Materials

Books are one of the most expensive parts of college but they don’t have to be! Your university will often carry copies of textbooks at the library for you to check out when you need it. If your friends have previously taken the course, ask to borrow their book if they purchased it.

In addition, check out Cengage Unlimited, a new subscription where students pay a one-time fee of $119.99 per term ($179.99 per year) to get access to all the digital learning platforms, online homework & study tools, as well as ebooks that Cengage offers. For students who need to purchase multiple books, this is a great tool because you can get all your materials in one place, and access all the other study tools Cengage offers for about the cost of just one book! And, if you want print, you can receive a free print rental at no cost—just pay $7.99 for shipping. Figure out how much you can save today by using the Cengage Unlimited Calculator.

Score Student Savings

Don’t overlook college student discounts—they’re an easy way to save money throughout your time as a student. Many stores, like Banana Republic, Topshop and ASOS, all offer discounts if you have a valid student ID. Amazon Prime also offers a six-month free trial for students and the New York Times offers access to all publications for just one dollar! Apple, Dell, Spotify and Microsoft give significant student discounts, as well. Find out if your university offers Microsoft products for free as many colleges do.

Plan Courses According to Expenses

The classes you take—and the professor teaching it—can make a huge difference in the course materials you’ll need. Some professors might require a subscription to a news service, while others may require three different textbooks. This could be the difference between spending $20 and $200.

To better prepare, check out websites like Rate My Professors, where students often mention whether the materials are required or just recommended. If, for instance, you know that one professor requires an expensive book or a digital program, plan to take that class when you don’t have many other expenses. Scheduling classes with this in mind can help you plan accordingly and minimize the amount you spend.

 

-Kat Humphries

Kat Humphries is a freshman majoring in Political Science and Criminal Justice at the University of Akron. She works as a Student Ambassador for Cengage and is a Student Assistant for the Engineering Department at her University. In her free time, she is an assistant debate coach for high school students and a writer for Her Campus Akron.

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My sophomore year, I rented a small place off campus with a few friends. I learned about my bank’s college credit card for students to start building credit, so I applied for the card. Read more

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Being a college student is expensive enough. With all the money we spend on food, printing services and tuition it’s easy to fall into a financial hole. Balancing social experiences, food and academic expenses can seem almost impossible, but if you sit down and attempt to make a budget, you’ll be fine. Budgets are essential to saving money and determining how much money you should spend. Yes people, how much money you make determines how much you should spend.

The amount of money you make should be at least 50% more than how much you spend. This leaves you with enough money for financial mishaps, accidents, and hidden fees. Once you’ve picked a budget, you need to learn to stick with it. Here are 4 ways to successfully create a budget and stick to it. Read more

5 Things You Can Do on a Budget For Your Orlando Trip!

To many, Orlando is known for its tourism, entertainment and family fun, but to me it’s home. I have grown up here since the start of grade school, so I certainly know my way around the streets!

I’ve managed to explore all of the “hot spots” without breaking the bank, so if you’re looking for the best summer break destination, here are five things to do in Orlando on a budget.

1. Experience Disney for free

Yes, for free! Disney Springs offers the same entertainment and fun as Disney at no cost to you. Disney Springs is home to a few iconic restaurants, one being the Rainforest Cafe, and there are a lot of awesome shops too, shops like the World of Disney! Legoland is fun for the whole family, you can express your creativity brick by brick at no cost to you! There are other attractions as well, available at a price, which include an AMC Dine-In Movie Theater, Splitsville Luxury Lanes, Cirque du Soleil, hot air balloon rides and DisneyQuest, an indoor interactive theme park.

2. Universal Studios

Located before the entrance of Universal Studios and Universal’s Island of Adventure, Universal’s Citywalk has restaurants, shopping, bars, nightclubs and a movie theater, just like Disney Springs. Universal’s Citywalk also offers a boat ride to and from their most popular resorts such as the Hard Rock and Portofino Bay Hotels. Even if you’re not spending a night at one of these resorts, I still recommend taking the tour because these hotels are unlike any other. To end the night, Universal’s Citywalk puts on a firework show every night starting at 9 PM.

3. The Orlando Eye

Much like the London Eye, the Orlando Eye is a 400ft tall Ferris Wheel located at the heart of I-Drive. If you visit during the day when the skies are clear, you can see all the way to the coast from the top of the wheel. Unfortunately, this attraction isn’t free, but tickets are only $25 for adults and $20 for kids. I’ve seen discounts through Groupon, so double check for coupons before you go!

 4. The Enzian Theater

If you want to experience Orlando like a local, this is the perfect place for you! This theater is not your average movie theater, it shows alternative, independent, and classic films. They host annual film festivals and local community events, such as “Popcorn Flicks In the Park”, which is free and open to the public, otherwise admission is just $10 a person.

5. Feeling adventurous?

The state of Florida is known for its natural beauty and the city of Orlando is no different. Only 45 minutes from downtown, Wekiwa Springs is a charming escape from any overcrowded tourist destination. There is a $5 charge to park, and you can rent kayaks and canoes. I recommend stopping at a store along the way and picking up a few pool toys as well as snacks for a picnic.

Comment below with your favorite Orlando destination!

 


Alisia is a mechanical engineering student at The University of Central Florida in Orlando, Florida. She is a member of the Society of Women Engineers (SWE) and holds an internship at Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control. After graduating with her bachelors, she wants to pursue her masters with a minor in environmental studies. With her degree, she hopes to develop alternative energy resources and create a sustainable environment.

Apart from her school extracurricular activities, she enjoys drawing, painting, and traveling. Within the next year, she plans to get involved with Give Volunteers, an organization that combines volunteer work and overseas travel to improve lives. Apart from helping others in developing countries obtain necessary resources, she is also passionate in helping other achieve their academic goals which is why she is so excited to be a Cengage Student Ambassador!

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