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Balancing the books and your bank account

Students+board+a+Regional+Transit+bus+at+the+front+of+Cosumnes+River+College+on+March+11.++Riding+public+transportation+helps+students+save+money+on+rising+gas+prices.
Students board a Regional Transit bus at the front of Cosumnes River College on March 11.  Riding public transportation helps students save money on rising gas prices.

Students board a Regional Transit bus at the front of Cosumnes River College on March 11. Riding public transportation helps students save money on rising gas prices.

Kayla Gangl

Kayla Gangl

Students board a Regional Transit bus at the front of Cosumnes River College on March 11. Riding public transportation helps students save money on rising gas prices.

Kayla Gangl, Staff Writer

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College can be an expensive endeavor, which is something that a lot of Cosumnes River College students are familiar with.  It is difficult enough balancing a class schedule, but balancing a checkbook can strike fear into the hearts of even the most studious mathematicians.

According to a survey done in 2011 by the University of Arizona and the National Endowment for Financial Education, student’s financial behavior is seven percent worse that it was in 2009 and fewer students were tracking their monthly expenses and living within budgets.

Everything costs money. So, how can the struggling college student ease the panic of going broke?

One way students can save money is buying or renting textbooks.  Look for used textbook stores in the area that offer used textbooks at heavily discounted prices.  If a used bookstore isn’t an option, there are online resources available to students as well.

Some websites like Amazon and eBay often have used textbooks for sale at prices cheaper than those of a new book from the campus bookstore.  Other websites such as Textbookrental.com, Chegg.com and Bookrenter.com offer textbooks to rent at reasonable prices and won’t leave you burdened with an old texbook at the end of the semester.

Students had their own ways in which they save money for textbooks.

“Make as many friends as you can in class so you can share books,” said Tehreem Aslam, 19, a biology major.

Students can also save money with their means of travel.  With gas prices steadily rising, it may not be the wisest choice to drive to and from classes each day.

Gas prices aren’t the only expense students face if they choose to drive.  Parking on campus not only means you need to purchase a parking pass, but you also might risk getting parking tickets if you park in undesignated areas.

In his article “10 Tips for Saving Money in College,” John Fuller advises students to save money by looking into bus systems and carpooling.  CRC students can use their student identification cards as transit passes after paying a transit pass fee of $5 to $15 depending on how many units they are enrolled in.

Fuller also said that if students live close enough, they should ride a bike or walk instead of driving because not only will it save money, but it will also provide beneficial exercise on a daily basis.

With the extra money that is saved from not buying gas, it may be tempting to go splurge on something fun.  However, splurging on entertainment can be just as costly.

If students feel the need to go out to eat or even go to the movies, look for a restaurant and theatre that offer student discounts.  No discounts? No problem.

Early showings are typically priced less than the regular showings. At restaurants that don’t offer discounts, order off the appetizer or kids menus, which often have similar food from the main menu, but at lower prices.

Taylore Curtis, a 20-year-old biology major, saves money to spend on entertainment by not eating out.

“I don’t go to fast foods or dine at my favorite restaurants,” Curtis said. “I limit my outgoing money for fun time.”

If students are looking to make extra spending money, but may not want to juggle a job with the already tedious task of keeping up with classes, there are some options that can help.

Online surveys are a great way for students to earn a little extra spending money in their free time.  While they aren’t a get-rich-quick option, it could be fairly easy to bring in $10 to $20 a week.  It is all done via email and they can be done on a student’s own time.

While going to college can be a financial struggle, there are ways to enjoy it on a budget.  Exploring different alternatives and managing spending habits are the best ways students can keep cash in their wallet and not be left empty handed.

Bobby Bishop and Heather Kemp contributed to this article.

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Balancing the books and your bank account