Money Bag and Blocks

Do you have a son or daughter heading to college in the near future? Getting a college degree is a great investment, but it does come at a significant cost. In addition to tuition, there are a few other common expenses related to college life. Be sure to plan ahead, so you and your student will be in a better position to handle the expenses below. 


Room and board: Colleges offer a variety of dorm room options and meal plans for students who live on campus. If your child plans to live off campus, he or she will need to budget for rent as well as food.


Books and supplies: These expenses juts keep going up. Books and supplies can cost between $1,200 - $1,500 per year at a four-year public college. To reduce expenses, encourage your child to buy used copies or see if they’re available to rent on Amazon® ( or Chegg® (  


Appliances and equipment: Your student will need to get a laptop, but probably not a printer. Ask the college if they have printers available to students. If your child will be living in a dorm room, needed supplies will likely include lamps, sheets, towels, a vacuum, a microwave and a small refrigerator. For an apartment, your child may also need a bed, plates, cooking utensils, etc.


Transportation: Owning a car is generally the most expensive option. Gas, maintenance, insurance and possibly parking are all expenses that will need to be covered. If your student can bike or walk to most places and use public transportation, they’ll be able to save cash.


Personal expenses: This includes everything else your child will need, like a cell phone plan, money for the laundromat, haircuts, entertainment, etc.


Creating a budget and sticking to it isn’t easy for any college student, but it will make life in college easier. Plus, it will keep your student on track financially – and when finances are under control, it’s one less stressor to deal with. So be sure to talk candidly with your child about the expenses of going to college. Discuss which expenses (if any) you plan to help with, and which will be the responsibility of your student. With some insights and guidance from Mom and Dad, your young adult can come out of college with a degree as well as financial skills that will last a lifetime.