The price of a college education has become a major burden on both traditional and nontraditional students alike. Of course, so has the cost of gas. For many students, the expense of getting to and from school is adding big bucks to the total expense of college—especially for students who have to commute daily.
So if there’s a way to drive less as a part of your everyday life as a student, do it! With the price of gas, you might save a significant amount of money.
First of all, ask yourself if you really need a car. For many students, the answer is yes, and there’s not much you can do about this. But if you can do without, you’ll save a fortune on gas and on parking, maintenance, car payments, and insurance (which, for traditionally aged students, can be outrageous). If you live on or near campus, consider getting around by foot, bicycle, or bus. Most campuses are pedestrian friendly and at least somewhat bike friendly, and many others are situated in an area with a good transit system.
If you’re a commuter, see if there’s a relatively convenient way to get to campus by using public transit. This isn’t always the case, but if it is, the option could save you quite a bit of money. And the time you spend sitting on a bus or train can be spent doing homework. If public transit isn’t always convenient, keep in mind that this doesn’t have to be an either-or situation. You can take public transit on days when it makes sense to do so, and drive on other days.
If you do need a car, look into the possibility of carpooling. Chances are you’re not the only one in your neighborhood who commutes to your school and has a schedule that’s similar to yours. To find carpooling buddies, check at your school’s office for commuter students, or look on the Internet. After all, if you could cut your driving time in half, imagine how much money you could save.
Another thing you can do to save money is to be in class less. No—I don’t mean that you should cut class, but you can try to arrange your schedule to be on campus less often. And, of course, online classes are a fantastic way to avoid time in your car.
Many people are used to driving absolutely everywhere, so the thought of finding other ways to get to school may be rather foreign. However, with gas becoming such a major expense, people are starting to rethink their transit patterns. If you can find a way to pay for college without paying to fill up a tank of gas all the time, do it.