Money Saving Education Tips

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Money Saving Education Tips - $5,000 Money Saving Mama Challenge

money saving education tips
Need to learn how to save more money on your child's education? Read on for some tips on how you can give your child the gift of education without going broke.

Let's face it - as necessary as getting an education is, it is not cheap. In fact, it can be downright expensive. Many parents who are footing the bill wish that they knew how to save more money on their kid's essential educational needs. Well, today we are going to talk about how you extend living frugal into your kids' educational pursuits.

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Saving Money on Textbooks

As if tuition costs are not high enough, the average college student will spend upwards of $1000 each semester on books alone. However, that does not have to be the case. There are several ways that you can save money on textbooks.
  • Buy Used. You can do this in a variety of ways. Usually the school's bookstore will offer used textbooks. When possible always choose those. The things to look out for are that the textbook is in good condition (although usually the bookstore will not sell anything that has been damaged or extensively written in, it doesn�t hurt to do a quick check), includes any supplements that your child will need (cd's, dvd's, access to websites, etc.), and is the right edition. You can also post or peruse your school's bulletin boards to see if anyone is selling the books that your child will need. Another option is to head off campus or check online. If you live in a university town, you are likely to find other bookstores that may have the books you need. Also, you might score a better deal if you buy online through used textbook websites or Amazon.
  • Check out electronic versions of the books. Since they don't have to be physically printed or shipped, these are usually cheaper than their more physically tangible counterparts.
  • Check the library. Many libraries, especially those in university towns will offer a section of textbooks. It doesn't hurt to check them out as soon as your child knows which ones they will need. If your library does not carry the textbooks, ask if they have an interlibrary loan program that will enable them to request the book from another library.
  • Buy the Older Edition. In all honesty, most of the time there is not much of a difference from one edition to the next, so having last year's edition most likely won't make much of a difference. The worst that usually happens Is that some charts may be different and there might be a difference in page numbers. But those problems are easily surmountable. Simply ask a friend to see any conflicting charts and be careful that you are reading the right material, not just the right pages.
  • If all else fails - share with a classmate. I know there were times when I had to do this. My friends and I actually had a system. We would figure out which courses we had in common and one of us would buy a book for one class while the other would buy a book for the other class, Then we would simply share the books or photocopy the chapters that we would have to read (still less expensive than paying $100 and up for the book.
  • Sell Your Books. At the end of the year, instead of just throwing the books in a bin, sell the books. You can either do this by selling them back to the school in a book buyback program or sell them to other students who will be taking that class the next semester. Some textbook websites will also buy books back.

Saving Money on College

Ok, so now that we have the textbooks taken care of, what about all of the other costs associated with attending college? Tuition. Room and Board. Clothes. Dorm supplies. These are all things that most college students (if they live on campus) must deal with. Read on to learn how to save more money on these college costs.
  • Scholarships and Pell Grants. Speak with an academic advisor to see which options are available to your child. There are a ton of scholarships available through a large array of different businesses and organizations. A simple Google search will yield a lot of viable results. If your child has any special talents or hobbies, do some research to see if there are any scholarships available for that. Another option is to apply for pell grants. These are essentially government loans that your child does not have to pay back.
  • Work-study. The federal work study program allows students to work part-time through the program in order to earn money to pay for their college expenses.
  • Become an Resident Aide (R.A.) or Desk Attendant (D.A.). These are students who work in the dorms, either as a liaison for the students (who they go to when they have problems in the dorm) or at the front desk, checking people in and out and keeping general order. These students are often awarded a stipend and receive free or reduced boarding.
  • If at all possible, allow your children to live at home during college. Of course, they may prefer the campus life so that they get the full college experience. However, there is no denying that living at home is the more cost efficient option if they live near campus. They may have to pay for transportation back and forth from classes. But they save thousands on room and board. This is something you can discuss with them.
  • If your child elects to live on campus, decide if it would be more cost effective for them to have a meal plan or to buy their own groceries and prepare their own meals. If they opt for groceries. Make sure they are using coupons and are signed up for all of the rewards programs at their local grocery stores.
  • Make friends. Seriously. You can save a lot of money just by knowing the right people. Need your hair done? Maybe the girl down the hall who always has great hairstyles can do it for you. Computer acting funny? The guy in the dorm across campus is a computer whiz.
  • Take public transportation. Gas is expensive. If you commute to school, it may be more cost effective for you to travel by bus or train. If you have a bicycle, that is even better.
  • Have fun on a budget. The college experience is one that many people describe as the best time of their lives. You make lifelong friends and possibly meet the love of your life. You try new things, go new places, and se new things. But that doesn't mean you have to go broke doing it. Instead of going out to restaurants, have potluck dinners in each other's dorms. Instead of going out to the movies all the time, have game nights. When you do go out, make sure you have your id on you so that you can take advantage of all of those cool student discounts.
  • Find a job. Although your focus should be on getting your education, if you can fit a part-time job in your schedule it might be a smart move for you. That way you will have some income coming in.
  • If you decide to live off-campus, away from home - find a roommate. This way you can split the costs of rent, utilities, food, and even miscellaneous household items such as tissue paper.

Homeschooling Money-saving Techniques

More and more families are opting to pursue homeschooling as the educational option for their families. And the great thing about homeschooling is that you are not restricted by how much money you have. Here are some great ways to homeschool no matter what your budget is:
  • Determine what is essential and what is just a want.
  • Check out your local library for materials.
  • Buy used books at thrift stores, yard/garage sales, online yard sales, consignment sales, and Freecycle.
  • Check out homeschool fairs. Usually they will have used and new curriculum for sale.
  • Use the internet to find free and cheap homeschool materials. The internet is a wealth of info on printable worksheets, great games, flashcards, and much more.
  • If you have multiple children, buy curriculums that have been adapted to fit any age group instead of buying individual curriculum for each child.
  • If you have multiple children, rather than writing in the workbooks, make photocopies for your kids to fill out. That way, you can use them again later for your younger kids. This is also a great idea if you plan to sell your homeschool curriculum.
  • Coordinate with other homeschool families. This way you can share materials.
  • Ask for the Teacher's Discount at places such as educational supply stores, museums, and amusement parks.
I hope you have learned some good tips on how to save more money on your child's educational needs. Stay tuned for more Money Saving Mama tips next week!

Sneak Peak at Next Week

Like this section on money saving education tips? Next week we'll talk about save money on clothes and fashion.

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