Thursday, December 8, 2022

The Ultimate College Student Budget Guide: The Cheapest Ways To Survive Your Freshman Year

What is your tuition and how much does it cost?

In our Ultimate College Student Budget Guide, you’ll learn about the essentials you’ll need to survive your first year, including housing, food, transportation, and school supplies. These tips and money saving strategies are based on a realistic college budget, so you can save for things like prom, vacations, and future classes.


Lines for bus stops aren’t for the lazy. On average, a commuter can expect to spend $1,500 a year for a pass that gets you to and from school. And the price only increases during peak hours of traffic. Luckily, you don’t have to shell out a fortune to commute to school. You’ll find parking passes starting at just $42 per quarter on your own campus, and the Long Beach Transit Link for under $25.

How much can you spend on groceries?

Here’s a breakdown of the cheapest ways to fill your stomach for a college freshman’s budget.

Students and parents will find everything from what to buy and how to buy it, what to eat, what to avoid and where to eat.

This year, we’ll look at the cost of renting a dorm room, cafeteria food, alcohol, snacks and textbooks.

For the complete list, click here.

Renting a Dorm Room

In general, it costs $252 a month to live in a dorm on campus for three or four months.

Dorms at UT Austin will cost $504 a month.

By comparison, a single-bedroom apartment in Austin rents for between $1,300 to $2,500.

Should you live at home or on campus?

Senior editor and money coach Meredith Clark shared her expert advice on making the best of your student loan situation.

COLLEGE GAMING – where can you afford to live?

I went to college in Nebraska where there are a few really cheap towns, such as Broken Bow. But it is not easy to find such a place out of state, and it’s hard to find a campus that will take less than 20% of your salary. Here is a spreadsheet with housing costs in select cities (click on the image for a bigger version):

I want to suggest 2 schools: Harvard University in Cambridge, MA (12.3k-19.1k living cost), and Indiana University in Bloomington, IN (12.1k-21.1k living cost). Indiana was my top pick, but I had no other ideas for cheap living in that area.

What are the cheapest ways to get to and from school?

If you’re planning to commute to and from school for your freshman year, you probably have a few questions. If you’re on a tight budget, figuring out ways to save money can be tricky.

Here are some of the cheapest ways to get around campus.

• Buses: If you’re getting into a car, public transportation is one of the most efficient ways to get to and from school.

The Regional Transit Authority (RTA) provides bus service throughout the county, which operates over 175 local buses and connects passengers to several other Metro line and many express lines as well.

The only current restriction to RTA bus service is a 90-day hold on enrollment in classes at any of the college’s colleges, which impacts all students that don’t have a valid ride on campus.

Should you bring a car to college?

Let’s face it, the average four-year-old in your parent’s back seat isn’t going to run well on city streets, no matter how many air fresheners you put in it.

College is no different. Going off to college is going from a family vehicle to a well-equipped mass transit system that transports several carloads of people to their destination.

And if you’re like most students, your family is footing most of the bill.

This means when you go car shopping, you’ll need to come up with a lot of money to purchase your vehicle. In this article, we’ll walk you through the top five things to watch for when you start car shopping for college.

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