Ways to Save for College Students | Jackson Free Press | Jackson, MS

Ways to Save for College Students

Textbooks can be expensive, but options such as e-books can lower the cost. File Photo

Textbooks can be expensive, but options such as e-books can lower the cost. File Photo

Welcome to the college life here in Jackson. The city is home to several colleges and universities in and surrounding the capital city. When it comes to your college life anywhere, the most important thing is being able to start it off right. Ryan Lytle of U.S. News Education says that one of the 10 most important tips for entering college students is learning how to maintain a college budget. Keeping a record of your finances and knowing the best places to save money when buying supplies for schools in Jackson will help you to start your college life on the right foot towards becoming a responsible adult.

Most college students here would agree that stocking up on the standard school supplies such as notebooks and pencils or those late-night snacks for your new dorm is a necessity. While it's easy to go to a big-box retailer, it's better for the economy (and sometimes cheaper) to shop local. Luckily, Jackson has a few local places where you can get school and dorm supplies and snacks, including McDade's Markets and Rainbow Co-Op for food (don't forget to check out Fair Trade Green for fun, eco-friendly knick-knacks), N.U.T.S. in Midtown, which has pretty much everything used you can imagine, and Ajax/Academic Solutions for supplies.

As an entering college student, textbooks are a must. Most professors require students to purchase their textbooks within the first week of class, and not having your textbook is no longer an excuse in college like it was in high school. NBC News says the College Board recommends that college students budget about $1,200 a year for textbooks. That's a hefty amount when students consider other expenses for college such as room and board, fees and personal items. When purchasing textbooks, most students opt for the cheapest routes to save money. One of the rising trends among college students is purchasing textbooks online. Find affordable textbooks online by searching the web and going to websites such as Amazon, Craigslist and eBay. Textbooks are also available for purchase at campus bookstores and libraries, making it more convenient for students who are in need of last-minute books.

Keep in mind that e-books are usually cheaper than buying the regular print books, and they are more on-the-go and convenient. It is also often cheaper to purchase used versions of your textbooks than buying the newest editions. Students are always looking to sell and buy back used textbooks.

Here are some budgeting tips from the U.S. Department of Education's Federal Student Aid office:

Record everything you spend.

Organize and track your financial information;

Review your spending for little items;

Make any financial aid refunds last the entire semester.

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