College without student loans

What Are the Major Expenses for College Students

College is one of the most exciting times of your life.  It is usually the first time kids live away from their parents.  They really start to learn some personal responsibility having to get up and go to class almost every day while balancing that with hanging out with their roommates and friends.

What college students don’t typically account for are the college expenses that have to think about! Everything from tuition, to student loans, to grocery shopping, to paying for parking can become a burden if they don’t think about it early.

I am here to help explain some of the biggest college expenses that you will have to think about, how to find a job on your college campus, and how to deal with the expensive student loans.


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What does college expense mean?

Many students don’t even know what a college expense is.  To put it simply; college expenses included anything that you will have to pay for while in college.  I will go into detail about the different college expenses that you need to think about in a little bit.

To prepare for the college expenses, I do suggest saving as much money as possible while you are in highschool.  This will help to relieve some of the burden of these expenses.  Next, I suggest looking for a job whether it is on campus, or off of campus.  Every little bit of money helps.  Lastly, I suggest seeing if your parents are in any financial shape to help you with these expenses.   If they aren’t, it is not a huge deal.

What are some college expenses I need to think about?

If you are asking what some of the awful college expenses include then read on!

  • Tuition
  • Room and Board
  • Extra School Fees
  • Student Loans
  • Parking/transportation
  • Textbooks
  • Laptop
  • Food
  • AND MORE

Tuition in America continues to rise year after year.  According to the Top Univities, the average tuition and fees at a public college costs $10,230 per year, while the average tuition and fees at a private school costs $35,830.  These numbers are on the rise though!

Room and Board is not included in the tuition costs that I listed above. The same website say that Room and Board at college totals $11,150 at public schools and $12,680 at private schools!  That is insane.

I really hope you don’t take out student loans but if you did happen to, remember student loan interest rates can range anywhere from 3% to 15% or more.  That means you will be paying that much more on top of all of your other expenses.  Try to avoid student loans at all costs.

Parking at the college I attended was $50 per semester which is usually doable.  I found websites such as slugbooks that will compare the prices of textbooks for you to help save you money.  I usually paid about $100-$150 per semester for books

Laptops are not cheap.  I suggest opting for a ChromeBook instead of a regular laptop to help save you money.  With a Chromebook, you will be able to access documents and the internet which is a bulk of what you need.  As far as food goes, I suggest shopping at a place like Aldi or Lidl to help bring your average food costs down to around $20 per week.

OK, now I know my college expenses but how do I make money to pay for them?

If you have a car, then making money will be a breeze.  Apply to all of the retail stores and restaurants near your college campus and see which one will pay you the most.  You could also buy a rake and every fall knock on some doors and offer to rake people’s yards for money.  This is an easy way to make quick money.

If you do not have a car, you can still make money while on your college campus.  Most colleges hire students to work in the cafeteria, to work in different departments, or to do other things around the campus.  Try out one of those positions!  If you are eager to make even more money, check out Fiverr.  You can be a freelance anything on there.  Check out the app to see all the positions you can get.

What is the average monthly income for college students?

Student’s income has a very wide range.  According to the classroom, you can make anywhere between $7,500 per year to up to $42,000 per year.  I am sure some students make less or make more but that is a pretty good range.  The more you are willing to work, the more you will make!  I suggest trying to earn as much as you are spending each year.

How long does it take to pay off student loans?

Again, let’s pretend that you did decide to take out student loans but you are now wondering how long it usually takes to pay them off.  This greatly depends on how much you are willing to work while in college and when you get out!  The average person takes about 21 years to pay off their student loans.

Personally, I was able to pay off my loans in about a year and a half but I was a really good saver.  I have been working since I was 14 years old and saved a majority of that money.  The reason I suggest not taking out student loans is that I see how much money I could have now if I didn’t have loans.  I just did not see it while in college.

Which payment type can help you stick to a budget?

If you are trying to pay off student loans…well even if you aren’t, I suggest sticking to a budget.  It is extra important if you do have loans to pay off though so that you never miss a payment.

If you are asking which payment type can help you stick to a budget, I would say your debit card is your best friend. At times, it is too difficult to pay with physical cash, and with a credit card you can’t see the money come out of your bank account and that is why I suggest a debit card.  Check out pros and cons to each payment method here.

Should I get a credit card while in college?

A lot of students ask me if they should get a credit card in college.  Going off my last year, my answer is almost always “no”.  Credit cards are extremely tempting, especially to students who are brand new to budgeting, and managing their personal finances while in college.

Students tend to rack up even more debt then they can manage to pay off by going out to eat every night or buying bathtubs full of alcohol.  They usually regret this decision pretty soon after the graduate.  Stick with your debit card and cash to pay for things when you are at college.  If you are desperate to get a credit card, do it after college.

Any final tips for managing my finances while in college?

By now, you have learned about your college expenses, the average time it takes off your student loans, and how I suggest you pay for things while you are in school.

My only other tip would be to think about your future.

Are you going to be mad about how much money you spent in college when you are 30 and still paying off loans?  Dream about your future. Consider where you want to be when you are 30 or 40.  Make decisions that will put you on track to achieve those dreams now so you don’t regret your decisions later.