While students can not control the rising costs of tuition and fees, they can reduce the money they spend on everyday expenses such as food, school supplies, entertainment and transportation by making smart choices.
School supplies may seem fairly inexpensive, but they can add up quickly.
Georgia’s tax-free weekend on Aug. 9 and 10 is a strategic time to cut costs on clothing, computers and school supplies after not paying extra for taxes.
Another major cost for students is textbooks. Purchasing all the required reading material for classes can easily add up to hundreds of dollars in a short couple of days.
“Don’t buy textbooks until after the first week to make sure you actually need them,” Kristen Black, a third year wildlife major from Fayetteville, said.
Another student agreed that checking with the professor is a good idea.
“They might have extra copies you can borrow, know where the full book is online, say you can buy an older edition or they don’t plan to test from the book, so you don’t need it anyway,” Victoria Arnold, a third year mass media arts major from Atlanta, said.
After talking to the professor, consider all of the options before heading straight to the campus bookstore and forking out the money. Many students have had success on sites such as Amazon or Chegg when looking for cheaper textbook prices.
Moving into dorms, apartments or houses can also create some costs.
“Wait until the end of the summer to get most of your dorm decorations and school supplies because that’s usually when the good deals come out,” Valerie Langat, a first year accounting major from Kennesaw, said.
Students can find secondhand furniture and household items on Craigslist or in groups on Facebook such as the group Free & For Sale, which has more than 3,000 members.
When it comes to food, there are plenty of ways students can cut costs.
“Eating out is crazy expensive,” Sally Randall, a third year linguistics major from Watkinsville, said.
Matt Peterman, a third year biology major from Perry, discussed how cooking instead of eating out can save students money.
“For roughly $40 a week, anyone can eat very healthy and delicious, provided they cook for themselves,” Peterman said.
Arnold, who also encourages cooking over eating out, talked about how to keep the grocery bill low.
“Buy more fruits and vegetables than meat,” Arnold said. “It saves at least $10 for every grocery trip.”
Using membership cards such as a Kroger Plus Card is also a smart way to save money on groceries.
While cooking more and eating out less is often easier said than done, Randall shared a tip on how she makes it happen.
“I cook one big meal on Sunday and eat off of it all week, making small snacks to fill in the hunger and vary up the food I eat,” Randall said.
Another area where students can save money is transportation.
“Use the buses,” Arnold suggested. “Look up routes and arrival times beforehand and plan your trip. Athens Transit is very useful for getting around all of Athens.”
Other ways to cut down on money spent on gas include carpooling and biking.
For entertainment, Athens offers plenty of inexpensive or free activities.
“Keep an eye on Flagpole and UGA’s master calendar for free events,” Kevin Pfeiffer, a third year landscape architecture major from Lawrenceville, said.
A final way to cut costs when heading back to school is to use coupon apps like Campus Special, which offers many discounts and savings to local restaurants and businesses. Students can even order food from select restaurants right from their phones through this mobile app.