As students of all ages head back to school, the National Retail Federation estimates that families will spend a whopping $72.5 billion on all back-to-school shopping — including college. In this post we’ll focus on tips to help older students save money, and also identifies some additional college-related scams to watch out for.
First, let’s talk savings….
Deals — Search for bargains for students at sites like StudentUniverse or StudentRate.
Wireless — Save money on calls home or to your friends by using Google Talk or Skype, or try a no-contract or pay-by-use plan with Virgin, Straight Talk, T-Mobile, or Ting. For free texts and calls, use Pinger.
Commuting — Save money on gas, insurance, parking, and auto maintenance by using public transit, bikes, commuting with friends, or ride-shares. Carpool with eRideShare.com, Zimride, or Toogethr.
Backpacks — For older students who won’t outgrow a backpack, it’s worth it to spend a little more for a well-built pack. Many companies take pride in the durability of their backpacks and will guarantee them for life. Check out TheKrazyCouponLady.com for these articles on Best Back-to-School Backpack Warranties and The Ins and Outs of Backpack Warranties.
Computers — Whatever you buy will be outdated in a matter of months, so save money by purchasing last year’s model, a refurbished model, or by using student/education pricing. Here are some student discount programs: Dell University, HP Academy, Toshiba Back to School, Lenovo Students, Apple Education Pricing, Apple 0 Gift Card with Mac Purchase, Apple Refurbished Products, Microsoft Chip In Program (allows friends and family to contribute to your computer fund).
Money-Saving Tip: Don’t buy from one of these company sites just to get a free laptop bag or flash drive. You may find better deals elsewhere.
Software — Investigate academic licenses to save hundreds of dollars over retail when buying computer software for students. Check sites like Microsoft Academic Savings, Microsoft Authorized Education Resellers, AcademicSuperstore.com, or JourneyEd.com.
Food — A campus meal plan can be a great deal…if you use it. Break down the cost of the plan to price per meal. Also consider a mini fridge in the dorm room. It may be a larger initial investment, but can greatly cut the cost of budget-busting fast food or restaurants.
Textbooks — According to reports cited by StudentPIRGs.org, students spend an average of $1, 200 annually on textbooks and supplies, and textbook costs have increased about three times faster than the rate of inflation over the past decade. Save money by borrowing from a friend who took the same course, checking local used bookstores, using the tips from StudentPIRGs.org, or searching the myriad of online resources:
Try Amazon for new, used, e-texts, and rentals.
Use Freebook Sifter to easily find over 2, 000 free e-books on Amazon.
Rent textbooks at Chegg or CampusBookRentals.
Discover open educational resources (OER) and textbooks at OCW Consortium, OERCommons, Khan Academy, Washington’s Open Course Library, MIT’s OpenCourseWare, edX, Merlot, Connexions, or Wikibooks.
Insurance — Consider purchasing an inexpensive renters insurance policy for students living off campus to protect valuable personal property (computer, television, stereo, bicycle, or furniture) in case it’s damaged, destroyed, or stolen.
Adobe Acrobat Pro DC Student and Teacher Edition Windows
- This product is the newest version of Adobe Acrobat XI Pro Student and Teacher Edition Windows.
- Turn scanned paper documents into instantly editable PDFs with automatic font matching so new edits blend right in.
- Create high-quality PDF files from Acrobat or popular Microsoft Office apps. Add restrictions to prevent others from copying, editing, or printing sensitive information
- Use a familiar point-and-click interface to edit PDF documents intuitively right within Acrobat
- Convert PDFs to Word, Excel, or PowerPoint formats while preserving fonts, formatting, and layouts.
MATLAB and Simulink Student Suite R2015a
- MATLAB - Solve numerical problems quickly, so you can focus on coursework and projects rather than programming
- Simulink - Model, simulate, and analyze dynamic systems
- Target hardware support - Run Simulink models on Arduino, LEGO MINDSTORMS, Raspberry Pi, and other hardware.
- 10 add-on products for math, statistics, and optimization; controls; signal and image processing; and test and measurement
- The package includes a software activation key with instructions to download and install MATLAB and Simulink Student Suite from .mathworks.com
Dragon Dictate for Mac 4.0, Student/Teacher Edition
Software (Nuance Communications)
- Accurately transcribe an audio file of any single speaker s voice from podcasts or pre-recorded audio files
- Multiple transcription sources allowed within a profile so one user can easily manage different recordings
- Compose and reply to emails in Gmail using full text controls, doing dictation and editing natively without having to transfer any text
- Higher performance with drastically reduced latency and faster editing with pure 64-bit application and improved memory management capabilities
- Improved accuracy over version 3.x, with optimization for latest speech recognition technology.