Read a great article in the April Money magazine this weekend. It was called, “25 Secrets to Paying for College”. Let me tell you it was well worth the ten minutes it took me to read it. I learned quite a few useful techniques from actual college students and parents that went through the crazy financial aid system.One of the best parts of the article was the middle pull-out flap section that gave you tips on how to cut the hidden extra costs. A lot of these were little extras that really add up & most people just pay for until they know better! I suggest reading the whole article but let me tell you about a few things I learned:

1.)    Setting up the room-have each roommate provide one of the bigger ticket necessities so you don’t have to buy all of them. (i.e., TV., mini-frig, microwave, etc.) Also, a lot of upper-classman that graduate are getting rid of stuff they no longer need, check the Goodwill in that town, Face book boards, & that college’s message boards.

2.)    Most colleges automatically enroll your child in their health plan. Keep your kid on your own health plan & pocket several hundred dollars.

3.)    Most parents’ worry that their child will not eat well in college so, they get the all inclusive meal plan. If your kid is not a linebacker this may not be necessary. Take into consideration if they are a late sleeper and prefer fast food before you shell out the bucks.

Textbook Stack

Textbook Stack (Photo credit: greenasian)

4.)    Used is not a bad word. Used textbooks from the school store & textbooks downloaded from Amazon will save a lot of dough.

Obviously I did not cover all of the 25 tips & tricks so; you need to look-up the article yourself. However these four tips alone could have saved my parents & I money in both undergrad & graduate school.

This article is also full of great financial aid knowledge. I learned that basically if you hold out for more money & negotiated you may get something. Never take the first offer and wait until the latest possible second before accepting anything.

Anyone else have a college tip they used?