Thursday, April 26, 2012

Back to school on a budget.

What I wore: Top, F21. Shorts, Express. Shoes, Walmart. Headband, F21. 
I'm thrilled to be starting graduate school in June. 
I've always been one of those people who genuinely loves school. I love the atmosphere of a college campus, I love the sense of starting fresh each semester and I love the way class discussions challenge my way of thinking.
What I don't particularly love is the expense of college.
For my undergraduate degree, I was lucky; the scholarships and grants I received kept me from going into debt while I earned my Bachelor's in English.
This time around, the cost of my degree is going to be a lot steeper. 
But I'm always looking for a way to be as thrifty as possible.
Here are my best tips for saving your pennies while paying for a college education:

1. Don't buy your books.
Textbooks cost a billion dollars and I was always so frustrated that at the end of the semester either no one was willing to buy them back or I got only 10% of what the book originally cost
when I'd hardly used it at all.
Getting to rent your books instead? Best. Idea. Ever.
They're super inexpensive (less than half the price of buying books), shipping is free both ways and they even donate a portion of their proceeds to Operation Smile.

2. Use what you're already paying for.
Chances are, you're paying for a lot of extra "fees" along with your tuition.
 At Mizzou there was a fee for printing included in our additional expenses, and every student was allowed a printing quota on campus each semester.
I printed EVERYTHING on campus, until I ran my print quota dry.
So make sure you're aware of what you're already paying for and get your money's worth! 

3. Apply for outside scholarships.
You're not just limited to the financial aid your school offers. Branch out! Check online for private scholarships you might qualify for, especially ones that are specific to your interests. So you're a state champion yodeler? Google search scholarships for yodelers. I bet you wouldn't have much competition in that field. Private scholarships may take more time and effort to apply for, but every little bit helps

4. Take advantage of "college student" specials.
Tons of businesses in college towns offer discounts to college students. Take advantage of these! (And not just the drink specials at bars). I've used my student ID to get discounts on oil changes, movie theater tickets, food and much more. As long as you have to shell out money for college, you might as well be reaping all the benefits of being a college student. 

5. If you can, take general classes online.
Universities charge a lot per credit hour and for many students,
the first two years are spent taking oodles of general education classes
(English 1000, College Algebra, American History, etc.).
If you can, take some of these classes online and you'll probably save quite a bit. Ryan was able to save time and moolah by taking his required economics class online through a community college while he had a full semester of engineering classes on Mizzou's campus. Just be sure the credits will transfer BEFORE you enroll in the class...because that would be awful to find out afterwards. 


  1. I knew you were from Missouri. but had no idea you went to Mizzou. That's where I am this very minute.

  2. I love the boho look on you, Andrea! You look just like Mandy Moore in the second photo!

    The Tiny Heart

  3. Great topic and great tips!! Especially #1 and #5 (taking classes online).. It's something I discovered a lil too late. Wish I would have done more of these in the beginning!

  4. Thank you so much! Great blouse!

  5. I am not looking forward to grad school expenses. Luckily I have until September to scrounge up enough money for these pesky little expenses. Also, my library will order in textbooks and let me check them out. Some of my classes in my undergrad major read through books in a weeks time and if I had known I could just have my library order them I would have saved $$$$!!!

  6. Aaah yes, that is a sad story! :( It's sooo good.

  7. lovely outfit,
    why is the weather so good in other countries?! =(

  8. I love all of your suggestions! It makes me wish that I was back in college eating ramen noodle for dinner and staying out way too late! Using what you're already paying for is the best advice! There are so many things offered that no one uses: guidance counselors, writing workshops, the gym, and on and on. Good luck!

  9. Thank you so much for your lovely comment! You're so pretty and have a very unique style. We should follow each other! xxxx


  10. I'm going back to school this fall and this just makes me that much more excited for it - besides the insane cost.

    I forgot how much fun it is to shop for a book bag and new clothes :]

    Great post!

  11. Love those shorts. The color is great!!

    Great list...I can honestly say I'm glad I'm done with school! :-)

  12. Love those shorts. The color is great!!

    Great list...I can honestly say I'm glad I'm done with school! :-)

  13. Love that headband!
    Brooke @ what2wear,

  14. cute, perfect for a day full of classes..

  15. Congrats on going to Grad school. Love your blog and I'm so glad you stopped by mine. Hope you're following! Your new follower...

  16. you're working those locks, girl! so pretty. also, i just bought a chambray it.

  17. love it all!

  18. Love the outfit!

    & those are some things I didn't know...renting books would have definitely come in handy back then. Geez, they're expensive!

  19. Thank you SO much for your sweet comment. I do have great girlfriends, I couldn't ask for better... but they live states away. :(
    Its the only drawback! But I am overjoyed that they are still a part of my life.

    Anyway- you have a VERY pretty blog. I especially LOVE your heading... what a beautiful photo!

    I will be attending graduate school in the fall as well, I appreciate the tips! Have you ever heard of Its another great place to RENT your textbooks for 70% cheaper!

    Wishing you the best. I'm definitely following your super cute blog!

    xoxo Madelyn

  20. Such a great post for all of us broke college students!! I LOVE that headband! & your blog is adorable :)

    thanks for passing by!
    following u!

  21. I am blessed to be getting my master's sponsored by my work (don't hate me, world!). But the books -- gah! They kill me. I love that I am learning now that I can get them for free. Woot-woot!

  22. Aw exciting that you're going to grad school! Which school are you attending?! (i'm assuming you're getting your MFA)?! :) Yeah, I went to MU all four years, and I sort of wish that I hadn't because the classes like Eng. 1000, etc were a waste of time & money… lol but oh well. good ideas here :) thanks for sharing!

    p.s. I'm going to grad school this fall! for my MA in Education.
    xo, elle from Living in Color.

  23. oh, also, of course i love your outfit ;) i'm obsessed with all things denim. It's totally a CA-style look you've got going on here!

  24. Absolutely IN LOVE with your yellow shorts!
    Congrats on going back to grad school! You are like me- I absolutely LOVE being in school as well. Love the environment of researching & writing. Crazy to most, but just perfect for me. I actually just finished my 2nd Masters so now I have a lot of free time which is why I started blogging! :)
    ANDDDD thank you so much for your sweet comment on my blog! It's so nice to meet other LA bloggers! I hope you are loving LA so far!


  25. Okay, we need a better way to communicate! haha, blog comments aren't satisfying enough! Do you use twitter frequently?! I don't really have a "big" facebook- I deleted and restarted one only for close friends, however we just need to talk about our lives more lol and I don't get to read blogs super frequently right now with graduation, a move, and wedding coming up ;) okay so I love your "i'm a creeper" comment, and I have some treats for you :)

  26. 1. I'm sort of obsessed with the title of your blog.

    2. I love this boho chic look. AND the color of those shorts.

    3. I'm an engineering major, and am taking an online gen ed class in the summer, BUT you just made me realize I could probably take it at the community college for cheaper. So I'm pretty sure you just saved me a couple hundred dollars. So thank ya :)

    A Southern Drawl

  27. Great Suggestions!
    Love the outfit :)
    Simple and Very cute!
    Good luck in grad school

  28. Came across your blog... I love it! Cute outfit! I see you've already discovered Golden Spoon :)

    xo, Megan

  29. Love this outfit! You look gorgeous and it looks like such a comfortable look.

    Follow me :)


  30. As a college student (and fellow English major!) I have to say these tips are so right on. Sadly I will be paying back some student loans once I'm done but I definitely followed these tips every semester to save what I can! xo

  31. First, thank you for your nice comment on my blog :)
    second, your blog is so cute and interesting! love your yellow shorts!
    I'm your newest follower, my dear ;)

  32. Love this headband and the denim together. Such pretty photos!

    Love your blog!! Just followed :)

    Ruth xxxx

  33. hey love. as a thank you to everyone for helping me win Lauren Conrad's blogger contest, I'm having a fabulous giveaway I'd love for you to enter. Swing by for all the details. xo

  34. School can be so overwhelming and to add the pressure of adding how much it costs...really good tips here.

    xo erica

  35. i have that top and LOOOVE it! so comfortable and classy! thanks for the comment! following now :)

  36. This outfit is absolutely adorable. I'm loving the chambray/yellow/pink together! I was actually just working on an outfit board with yellow and pink as my accents! Love it.


  37. well aren't you just the cutest lil student! lovin your cali look and swagggg! xx,
    The Golden Girls

  38. Such a cute outfit! Love that it's casual but still cute, colorful and fun... that headband is adorable on you :)

    Congrats on grad school! I think it's definitely a great idea to rent your books, my fiance is in grad school right now and that's definitely saved us a lot of money. Also, amazon has some textbooks for dirt cheap - he bought one for under $1!

  39. Love this color combo - those pink shoes are too cute, and so is your head scarf :)

    The Other Side of Gray

  40. You look adorable, love the pink shoes! Has anyone ever told you you look a little bit like Mandy Moore? Shes also gorgeous!


  41. You look adorable in this colourful outfit !
    Following you now - i would be thrilled if you could follow me back ! xx

  42. hey i like your tips. this is an informitive blog and i love the outfit too xx

  43. You look so sweet! :) Nice outfit.
    Thank you for the lovely comment :) Do stop by anytime again, I love making new blog friends!

    Have a happy weekend!

    x Satu
    Indie by heart

  44. Such a cute outfit! Great tips. I love tip #2. When I was in college I used every available thing my school offered. It took some research and talking to but in the end I was surprised about a lot of the free and resourceful things provided for students.

  45. Im obsessed with the bright colors!

  46. Okay you are absolutely GORGEOUS! And I love your laid back California Style! So adorable, thanks for commenting on our blog! We love yours and are definitely following it now!

    Let's stay in touch!

    Mac and Molls


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