1. Choose used. Before you drop bundles of cash on books wrapped in shiny plastic, do a little bit of research. Often, you’ll be able to save big if you’re willing to shop used. And as long as you shop with a seller that assures quality, you don’t have to worry about missing pages.
2. Compare prices. While you might automatically jump onto Amazon, or just use your school’s store to buy your books, you should take an extra few minutes to shop around. There are many booksellers to choose from, so make sure you score the best price out there.
3. Network with friends. Though your school probably offers a lot of different classes, you’ll likely know someone who’s previously owned the book you currently need. Odds are your friends and classmates would sell you their books at a fair price, so ask around ahead of time to ensure a good deal.
4. Shop online. With brick and mortar stores going the way of the dinosaur, there’s a whole world of savings possibilities online, especially if you want to take advantage of used books or rentals. Compare your options at places like ValoreBooks, who have 15 million titles in stock at huge discounts. You can save up to 90% on books that might otherwise cost you hundreds.
Money can’t buy happiness. But it can buy you an education. And a house. And a really nice vacation. That’s why we think spending less and saving more throughout college is an integral part of doing life the right way: affordably. However, when high college costs and poor financial planning combine, money becomes a barrier between students and their future–a barrier we’re committed to busting down. Thankfully SimpleTuition can help you:
SimpleTuition’s award-winning student loan comparison tool often saves students like you–and their families–several thousand dollars per year in borrowing costs by displaying the cost differences among private lenders. We reveal the nitty-gritty so you don’t have to sift through the fine print all on your own. SimpleTuition can also help you evaluate the costs and benefits of consolidating your student debt, saving you even more.
- Typical savings: as much as $5,000 per year (or more)
These are estimates. We are confident in our ability to help you save at these levels, but individual experiences will vary. And if a penny saved is a penny earned, what does that mean about the value of a dollar? Simple. Every one you don’t have to borrow is one you don’t have to pay back later with interest.
While most scholarships are based on academic merit and well-written personal statements, some reward students for more…non-traditional qualities or skills. Like being able to design a tuxedo out of duct tape. Check out that and more crazy scholarships below:
- The Duck Tape® Stuck at Prom Contest: Their website describes this contest plainly enough: “The Stuck at Prom® Scholarship Contest challenges students to create and accessorize their prom outfits with duct tape, then wear them to prom for a chance to win scholarship cash prizes.” At least you won’t have to wear a proper tuxedo or spend hundreds of dollars on a dress you’ll only wear once.
- The Chick and Sophie Major Memorial Duck Calling Contest: High School seniors may compete for college scholarships totaling $4,250. What do they have to do? You guessed it: impersonate a duck.
- Klingon Language Institute: The Kor Memorial Scholarship: According to their website: “The purpose of the Kor Memorial Scholarship is to recognize and encourage scholarship in fields of language study. Familiarity with Klingon or other constructed languages is not required, however creative and innovative applicants are preferred.” You’ll probably have better luck if you’re a Star Trek fan, too.
- Tall Clubs International Scholarship for Tall People: While being tall can make it uncomfortable to sit in economy class on crowded airplanes, it will also help you qualify for a $1000 scholarship. Women who are 5’10” or taller, and men who are at least 6’2″, and are both under 21 and attending their first year of college can apply.
- Collegiate Inventors Competition: Invent something cool? Win up to $25,000 for college. This isn’t about grades. It’s about turning good ideas into brilliant products.
It’s early August and, even though the beach isn’t ready to let you go just yet, stores have started their back-to-school sales. In order to snag the best deals, and make sure you get everything you need, start shopping early and follow these tips for smart spending:
- Make a list before you hit the stores. No matter how strong your willpower, it’s easy to get drawn into impulsive buys. Writing out everything you need first will help you cut back on unnecessary spending.
- Get in touch with your roommate. No one needs two refrigerators or an extra microwave. Shoot your roommate a text or Facebook message so you can establish who’s bringing what.
- Take taxes into account. Tax rates range depending on the city. If you’re traveling across the country for college, research if taxes are higher at school than at home and plan your shopping trip accordingly.
- Know your budget. And stick to it! No matter how good you look with that new backpack, over-spending is an ugly habit and a dangerous way to start the semester.
- Use your student loans to pay for tuition first. If you don’t pay your tuition bill, you won’t have any classes to back-to-school shop for. And, while student loans can help cover expenses like textbooks, and even a laptop, they’re not really meant for that new Marc Jacobs tote.
Stick to these tips and you’ll look as stylish as you are spending-savvy.
Check out this infographic from Socrato on back-to-school shopping:
Thanks to the U.S. Department of Education’s new College Affordability and Transparency Center, you now have access to all the information the costly schools didn’t want you to know: who has the priciest tuition, who has the highest net cost, and which schools are increasing their tuition rates the fastest. Although we’re glad someone finally consolidated all this information, after realizing how much some people pay for school we felt a bit like this guy:
However, the website also helps you identify the least expensive schools in the country, which will hopefully smooth some of those ruffled feathers. What we got out of browsing the site: confirmation that a lot of schools are beyond expensive and they’re only getting more so, but deals still exist. And thanks to the Department of Education, you can find them.