Tuition is the largest of the college expenses one will pay to attend college, but other expenses exist that can add up quickly. Freshmen are often required to live in dormitories, which means bedding, organizers, and other common dorm room furniture and accessories may need to be purchased. Aside from tuition, books for classes are perhaps the biggest of the out-of-pocket college expenses a student or parent will have to pay. Textbooks can be quite expensive, and students will need to purchase new or used ones every semester for different classes.
Outfitting a dorm room to be comfortable and functional does not necessarily have to be one of the more significant college expenses, but the purchase of everyday items that make life more comfortable can certainly add up. Towels, bed sheets, blankets, closet organizers, and even personal hygiene products may need to be purchased to make the dorm a comfortable space. In this case, setting a budget for dorm accessories may be in order to keep purchases reasonable and within budget.
A big chunk of money dedicated to college expenses will go to textbooks. Most colleges and universities sell new textbooks at the bookstore, but used copies can also be purchased for less money either at the bookstore or around town. Setting a budget for books may not always be feasible, since they are necessary for coursework regardless of price, but it is wise to shop around for used textbooks to keep the costs low each semester. Some colleges and universities also offer book scholarships, so students should consider seeking out such scholarships to supplement their book budgets.
Some college expenses will fall under the category of entertainment. Going out to eat, seeing movies, or just wandering through a college town can mean big expenses. A college student needs to draw out an entertainment budget to avoid overspending, especially if entertainment costs will cut into more important costs such as groceries, books, or other school supplies. Students should remember that a mismanaged budget can lead to debt, which can lead to the accrual of interest from high credit card interest rates. Students should generally avoid credit cards if at all possible, as college students are very susceptible to running up high balances that can haunt them for months or even years.