September 1, 2011

Vehicle Dwelling at College

I am amazed at the number of college students who are considering vehicle dwelling during their time in academia. I'm doing it, so obviously I think it's an awesome idea! Here's why:

Rent in a college town (even for just a room) is about $500 which is about $6,000 per year. In four years of college you're looking at $24,000 for just rent. Say that out loud so it sinks in. Twenty. Four. Thousand. Dollars. That's more than two years of in state tuition and you walk away with nothing! Here are some alternatives:
  1. Save that money and pay off your college loans faster
  2. Make payments on an RV instead of an apartment. At the end of the four years you'll own the RV
Parents: I'm talking to you! It makes good money sense. Whatever you choose you'll be walking away either richer or less in debt.

Students: We don't have much room in our vehicles so start looking at cutting down on books and other school related stuff. Here are some helpful links to save space and money.

Course Smart Textbooks
Take advantage of the electronic age! At this site you can rent your text books online for a fraction of the price of buying a physical book. Major pros:
  • All my books cost about $50
  • I can access them either on or offline
  • I can print pages
  • I can highlight and take notes in the book
  • Searchable!
  • You don't have to store books, just access them on your computer or Kindle
Seriously, totally worth it and a huge space and money saver

At a little over $100 it's the size of a paperback book.
  • Instead of buying my thirteen English books for class (Jeckle and Hyde, Dracula, Shakespeare, Etc) I get them all free. This easily saved me $100 in just one class.
  • I can read PDF files on it, so when a professor assigns readings they're easy to carry with me.
  • Let's me highlight and make notes within books so I can pull them up in class later
Zoho Online Notebook
Clunky binders filled with zipped pouches and lined paper are out. There are so many options for laptop based notebooks there's no reason to waste the space. I got Windows Notebook from a friend (normally very expensive), I love it but it really slowed down my laptop. Zoho Notebook is a free online notebook with all the bells and whistles of those expensive apps.
  • You can make it accessible to classmates
  • Highlight, make notes, draw pictures and diagrams
  • Attach files and URLs
  • Make to do lists

So, get an in town PO Box, find a good space to park, and go paperless. You can't have dorm room parties (parents: that should be a plus, right?), but you can visit. Most of your time will be spent on campus whether you want to be there or not. Invest in a decent laptop (which you should be doing regardless) and a van or RV. You can walk out of college with a degree and maybe not be in debt until you're fifty.
Say it again:
Twenty. Four. Thousand. Dollars.

1 comment:

  1. Or your parents are in debt until you are 50! You make some great points here Ash. Things have come a long way since I was in college in the 70's. Even back then the cost of books and the like was staggering. Keep up the good work!


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