Textbooks, binders, ink cartridges and parking passes. College costs a lot of money.
Cal Poly estimated that for the 2009/2010 school year an undergraduate living on or off campus would spend $21,249.
Here is a breakdown of how much money the university allocated for each category (fees, books and supplies, room and board, transportation and personal/miscellaneous) and a few tips on how you can save money.
Cal Poly on fees: $6,498
Apply for scholarships, grants, work-study and loans. According to CSU Mentor, for the 2009/2010 academic year, 50 percent of full-time Cal Poly undergraduates applied for financial aid, 65 percent of them were determined to have financial need and 92 percent of those actually received aid.
Cal Poly on books and supplies: $1,638
El Corral isn’t the only place to buy or sell most textbooks. Find out the ISBN or title, author and edition and then search on amazon.com or half.com (an eBay company) and compare prices.
You can also borrow textbooks from other universities through Link+. Access the Kennedy Library through your Poly portal and search for a textbook. If our library doesn’t have it, you can have one sent from another school, check it out for three weeks and even renew it once.
Here are a couple other tips: reuse binders, print on both sides and single space when possible, get supplies like paper, note cards and pens from a dollar store.
Cal Poly on room and board: $9,846
Get a roommate. Sure, you’re sharing your precious living space with another person, but you’re also sharing your rent and utilities bills too.
Learn to cook. Instead of spending money on a meal, tax and tip plus the gas and parking fees, impress yourself or someone else and make your own food. And bring food with you instead of buying it on campus.
Cal Poly on transportation: $1,062
Depending on where you live, it’s probably faster to ride your bike or the bus, meaning you’re saving money and time by not driving to campus and having to hunt for a parking space.
Cal Poly on personal or miscellaneous expenses: $2,205
Take advantage of the awesome scenery in San Luis Obispo. Going to movies, concerts and costly entertainment venues adds up. Sprawling on the beach, hiking Bishops and tossing a football in Mitchell Park cost nothing.
The city also offers a lot of free events like musicals and plays, concerts and art or museum exhibits.
Get Netflix instead of renting movies or seeing them at the theatre. Borrow CDs and download them instead of buying all your music first-hand. Get a library card instead of buying novels.
It’s really easy to save money if you spend some time trying.
How do you save some cash without sacrificing fun?