10 ways students waste money in college

Posted : May 31, 2012
Last Updated : August 29, 2018

10 ways students waste money in college

In college, you don't have much disposable income, so it's imperative that you find ways to reduce your outgoing expenses. The average student will waste thousands of dollars during college. Are you making these money-wasting mistakes?

1. Buying new textbooks.

Brand new textbooks cost a fortune. Don't make this rookie mistake. Instead, save money by buying used, renting, sharing with a friend, or going digital. You'll save hundreds of dollars over the semesters.

2. Eating out too often.

Fifteen bucks for a pizza. Eight bucks for Chinese takeout. Two dollars at the vending machine. It all adds up pretty quickly and before you know it, you've spent $200 in one month just on fast food. Stop wasting your money on eating out too often. If you have a meal plan, eat most of your meals on campus. If you don't have a meal plan, start cooking your meals at home. Stop the visits to the vending machines and buy your snacks at the grocery store.

3. Not using resources on campus.

Most colleges have mandatory fees beyond the basic cost of tuition. These fees, such as campus center fees, health service fees, technology fees, etc., provide a complete range of student services that support the academic environment. Since you are already paying for these services, make sure that you utilize them. Use the campus fitness center instead of paying for a membership at an off-site gym. When you are sick, be sure to visit the health services center on campus instead of paying a co-pay for a visit to a private physician's office. Having computer issues? Visit the technology service center on campus for assistance with hardware and software instead of taking your computer to an off-site computer repair shop. Research any other mandatory fees at your college and be sure to use the services as not to waste further money.

4. Skipping classes.

How many times have you skipped college classes (or plan on skipping once you enroll)? You do realize that is your money (or your parents' money) going down the drain, right? Why even bother going to college at all if you aren't going to put forth the effort to attend classes and soak up as much information as possible? Stop being lazy and go to class! You are paying for it after all.

5. Withdrawing from classes after the drop date.

The drop deadline for full-time courses is typically two weeks following the course start date (although this will vary among schools). This should give you ample time to know if you want to stay enrolled in the class. If you stop attending the class and fail to drop within the refund deadline, you will forfeit a portion of the money you spent on tuition. Don't waste this money by making sure you drop any unwanted classes by the refund deadline.

6. Failing classes.

If you skip classes and choose not to study for them, chances are pretty high that you will fail some courses during your college career. This is a complete waste of money because not only will you not have a chance for a refund (as you do if you withdraw before drop date mentioned above) but if the course is required for your major, then you will have to take the class again. And pay for it again. If you find that you are having trouble in a course, consider getting a tutor.

7. Overspending on dorm décor.

Of course you want to make your home away from home cozy, comfortable, and stylish, but that doesn't mean that you need to spend big bucks on your décor. Stay away from expensive stores and opt for furnishings from Walmart, Amazon, or Dormco.

8. Using credit cards.

On average, college students rack up $3,000 to $5,000 in credit card bills by the time they graduate. Add interest payments to those figures, and you're looking at a whole lot of money wasted. Stop using your credit card(s) for items you don't need; use it for emergency circumstances only. Get in the habit of shopping with cash only. Check out more tips for avoiding credit card woes.

9. Visiting expensive spring break destinations.

Who said spring break destinations had to be at some faraway, tropical location? Go against the norm and stop wasting money (that you probably don't have) on a trip to Cancun. Once you graduate and obtain a full-time job with a decent salary, you will have plenty of time to enjoy a tropical vacation. For now, opt for cheaper spring break destinations, like going on a camping trip with friends, going home to visit your family, or staying in your city to do volunteer work for your community.

10. Missing out on student deals.

Stop wasting money paying full price and break out your student ID. From deals on computers to deals on travel, college students have it made when it comes to discounts. When you need to make a purchase, do a little research to see if you can get a discount with your student ID; you could save quite a bit of money over your four years of college. As a college student, you are also eligible for the Student Advantage Discount Card and Amazon Student, both of which could save you money throughout college.

Remember that a penny saved is a penny earned. Stop making these money-wasting mistakes. Your bank account will thank you.

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10 ways students waste money in college

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