45°F
Sponsored by

Beware of Unplanned College Costs

The most obvious college expenses are the ones that get the most attention from parents and students. But it's the costs beyond tuition and room and board, that can derail a carefully planned budget.
The most obvious college expenses are the ones that get the most attention from parents and students. But it's the costs beyond tuition and room and board, that can derail a carefully planned budget.

Tuition, textbooks and dorm setup are the obvious expenses at the start of a semester. But Scott Gamm of helpsavemydollars.com advises some longer-term planning for others.

For example, budget for extracurricular activities like sports, and, especially, fraternities and sororities.
"These organizations come with costs. We're talking 2,000 dollars sometimes at the start, and then 1,000 dollars per year for the rest of the time that you're in the organization," Gamm notes.

Many colleges offer health insurance plans, but it may cost less to stick with mom and dad.
"Under the Affordable Care Act, you can stay under your parents' health insurance plan until age 26, so if your parents do have one, then it's important to simply stick with that parents one. It's going to be a lot cheaper," recommends Gamm.

Upperclassmen may consider renter's insurance too.
"If you are getting your first apartment, especially with roommates, you know that might be an optimal way to cover that downside if something is stolen or if there's damage to the apartment. Renter's insurance will come in handy there," says Gamm.

Think about what it will cost to get on and off campus - like maintaining a car or paying for mass transit -- or to travel home.
"You want to book tickets for planes and trains in advance. You're not only going to save money, but at least you'll be able to have an idea of what this stuff is going to cost, and then you can allocate some of your expenses," Gamm says.

And however a budget adds up, Gamm recommends setting aside an extra five percent for the truly unexpected.


(Karin Caifa for CNN's Consumer Watch)

Page: [[$index + 1]]
comments powered by Disqus