Insurance and Finance

Back-to-School Savings: College Edition

By Haley Shapley 8.21.17

Your pride and joy is leaving the nest, but that doesn’t mean your wallet has to move into the dorms, too. When it comes to college, not only is tuition expensive — according to the College Board, the average cost of in-state tuition and fees is $9,650 — but there’s room and board, as well. And all the ancillary costs add up: think books, dorm room décor, and school supplies. It’s enough to make any parent perspire, but, fortunately, there are ways to save.

Book smarts

Textbooks can be expensive, especially when they’re only used for a semester and you have to buy new ones twice a year. Renting books can be much more cost-effective, especially if your student won’t need them again. Some campus bookstores offer rental options, but if not, you can go online. Chegg and Amazon are both good places to rent. If you already bought textbooks and your kid doesn’t want to keep them after exams, you can recoup some of the costs by selling them to another student, or back to the bookstore. 

Teamwork makes the dream work

Team up with roommates on the big-ticket items like a futon or a mini-fridge. Coordinating who will buy what beforehand also eliminates the problem of having two of everything when you really just need one.

It pays to be frugal

Remember, dorm rooms are usually very small, so less is more when it comes to stuff. For the essentials — like extra-long twin sheets — keep your eye out for sales and comparison-shop online before making big purchases. (And remember to take advantage of your tax-free weekend!) 

Get hip to scholarships

Grants and scholarships don’t only apply to college tuition. They’re even available for expenses like Greek life dues, which are owed at the beginning of the year. Make sure your son or daughter is periodically reviewing all the scholarships out there and applying for ones that are a good fit. Keeping important documents organized will help keep them on track.

The lowdown on laptops

The best time to buy a laptop is typically from the last week of July through the first few weeks of August, so now is a great time to get a computer if your child needs one to take to college — especially if you’re a Texas Farm Bureau member. Fortunately, this applies to both PCs and Macs. 

After college is over, the costs don’t end! When students get to celebrate graduating, they also get the responsibilities of adulthood. Help them prepare with this guide to insurance needs for grads, which explains the types of insurance they’ll need to have on their radar once they’re holding their diplomas.

Coverage and discounts are subject to qualifications and policy terms and may vary by situation. © 2017 Texas Farm Bureau Insurance