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November 11, 2021

The high price of college tuition makes earning a degree a large investment in both time and money that many would-be college graduates find impossible. Yet if you take some time to consider what you’ll probably end up spending the money on that you could’ve put toward your college degree, you might find that not devoting your money to your college degree is a costly mistake.

Doing the math

How much does it cost to go to college? Of course, we’re all familiar with the lump sum that college tuition comes out to for your average state or private university. If you consider that the average annual tuition at a public school comes out to $8,893 and the average annual tuition at a private school comes out to $30,094, paying for college seems like an overwhelming proposition.

However, few of us take the time to sit down and calculate how many frivolous purchases we mechanically make for on a daily or weekly basis without thinking twice. Many of us have habits of profligate spending without even being aware of it.

What do you buy on a daily basis? Most everyone has a few bad habits that sometimes burn holes in their wallets. For some of us, it’s eating out and seeing movies at the theater. For others, it’s cigarettes or expensive energy drinks. Whatever costly habits you tend to indulge in, you’re probably wasting more money every day than you would need to pay for college tuition.

Savings of just $15 a day will work out to more than $5,000 in a year. Most of us spend well over $15 a day, even if we’re trying to save money. And if you consider the little purchases here and there that we tend to overlook, you realize that this $15 a day is often spent on habits that are unhealthy wastes of time. Simply eating out, smoking, and drinking coffee on a daily basis could easily cost a person as much as $30 a day, or almost $11,000 a year. This is well over the average annual tuition costs for a public school.

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Financial planning

Looking at the large tuition numbers can seem daunting, but there are many other things students should take into consideration. 85% of college students receive at least one form of financial aid.  Students may qualify for scholarships and grants; forms of assistance that never have to be paid back.  Student loans are another option if paying for college is out of your reach.
A little financial planning can go a long when when it comes to affording the expense of college. Most of us live in blissful ignorance of what kinds of silly purchases are gobbling up our limited funds and preventing us from making intelligent investments in our futures.Consider that the average cost for a two-year public school- or community college- comes out to only $3,264. That’s just under $9 a day. You could get yourself halfway through an undergraduate program for only $9 a day. When you break the numbers down and look at it that way, college tuition doesn’t seem like such an overwhelming expense after all.


The truth is that many young college students are not well disciplined with their money. Many university students think of the college years as a time in life when one can live extravagantly, accumulate debt, and deal with the consequences later. This is why the completion of an undergraduate degree is associated with racking up enormous student loan debt.

However, it’s important to understand that you can easily get through school debt free or with minimal debt by making cost-conscious decisions not only when it comes to what university you study at, but also your everyday spending habits.