Planning ahead for college expenses is critical to saving as much money as possible. Unfortunately, most college students stop at tuition and living expenses. They don’t take into account the costs that sneak in the back door. When they’re added together, they can be substantial.
Textbooks are not cheap. For whatever reasons, professors think it’s a great idea to make their students fork over hundreds of dollars for the latest edition of a book that they will only partially use.
Oh, and if it happens to be written by the professor, even better!
Over time, eBooks will chip away at the costs of textbooks, but for the time being, you will probably have to plan on spending a couple hundred dollars each semester.
2. Health Insurance
This used to be a more substantial cost, but even after the Affordable Care Act, health insurance is a cost that every college student needs to take into account.
The new healthcare law allows people to stay on their parent’s plans until they’re 26, unless they have an employer who offers health coverage. However, make sure you confirm that you are still on their plan.
If your parents do not have health insurance, then you may need to purchase it on your own. Once the Affordable Care Act takes effect in 2014, you will be eligible for Medicaid or for subsidized private insurance, depending on your income.
Whether you are eligible to stay on your parent’s plan or if you need to purchase your own, make sure you get a clear sense of healthcare costs that you will be liable for.
If you live on a campus where you can walk everywhere, you’re in luck! Your transportation costs will be modest.
If that’s not you, then gas and bus fees will add up as you commute back and forth to class.
Make sure that, when you are budgeting for the coming year, you think hard about these three costs along with other hidden expenses that many college students don’t consider.
Unity One Credit Union has services that can help college students and their parents prepare for the road ahead. One solution is the Saving Cents savings program. It rounds up your debit card purchases to the nearest dollar and sweeps the rounded amount into a savings account. It takes the work out of saving.