Like most of you reading this, I’ve come to call CCCB “home” but still look for ways to save a few dollars whenever I can. Saving money may only seem like a little at a time, but those little bits add up to a substantial amount over time. And with how expensive life tends to be when you’re living on a bible college budget, why shell out when you can save up? So, with that, I thought I’d give you five ways to save money this semester at CCCB.
1. Don’t Buy Books, Borrow Them
Most likely, somebody has already taken your class and has the books you need. Ask around to see who has taken your class and whether they are willing to loan books to you. Also, the library tends to have at least a few copies of most current-edition books you’ll need for your classes. But be careful, as this option may be hit-and-miss depending on who else may be utilizing the resources there.
2. If you MUST buy a book, don’t buy it at the bookstore
I may get in trouble for saying this, but buying books from the campus bookstore (or any bookstore) is a waste of money. It doesn’t matter what school you go to, your book will almost always be cheaper online. I’ve found similar-or-same-edition books online for less than (or equal to) the rental price at the bookstore.
3. Don’t eat out so much
This could almost go without saying, those late-night runs to Taco Bell are going to cost you a lot of money in the long run. I think I spent somewhere in the ballpark of $400 my first year on food. I’m not saying that you have to eat ramen; I refused to eat the stuff past my freshman year. But there are plenty of cost-effective ways to have healthy and delicious snacks in your dorm so you don’t have to open your wallet at the Harvest House every time you get the munchies.
4. Carpooling is your friend
This is especially important on Sundays, when you’re heading to Macon, Hallsville, or Columbia for church. Unless you really enjoy solitary driving, you can save a few bucks each week by carpooling with other people. Aside from the obvious expense of gas, excessive driving also puts excessive wear and tear on your car, which eventually adds up excessive costs.
5. Buy (And Make) Your Own Coffee
This relates to #3, but I think it’s worth mentioning. A basic coffee maker can be found for $10-20, and hot cocoa mix is a cheap way to make your own mocha. For what it’s worth, I could buy a large $10 container of coffee and have it last most of the semester. Compare that to shelling out $3-5 per latte at the Harvest House, and you’re going to save LOTS of money. With that extra money, you could even “live large” by picking up a $10 coffee grinder, a $15 french press, and buying whole-bean coffee.
6. Save Your Student Loan Refund
The general rule of thumb is that you should only take loans if you need them. If you’re like me, however, you probably like to take the full allowed loan amount each semester so you can have a little extra in the bank for the “just in case.” This can actually be a smart thing to do, and has saved me during times of financial crisis before. But, it’s really easy to spend your loan refund too fast. If you want to save your refund as a “just in case”, put it in a separate account that is not linked to a debit card so you aren’t tempted to spend it freely.
7. Move Off Campus
This last one is definitely limited in use. CCCB’s policies state that you must be either married, 24, or living with parents in order to live off-campus. But, exceptions are made in cases of financial hardship. If you simply cannot afford to keep living on campus, and you’d like to look at getting a job and moving into an apartment with roommates to save money, talk to Student Life and Financial Aid to see what could be worked out.
Is there something else that should be on this list? What do YOU do to save money during school?